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Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital

  • Divya Gopal

    ()

    (Department of Ecology, Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, 12165 Berlin, Germany
    Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstr. 15, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Harini Nagendra

    ()

    (School of Development, Azim Premji University, PES Institute of Technology Campus, Pixel Park, B Block, Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore 560100, India
    Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Bangalore 560064, India
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

Registered author(s):

    Urban greenery provides ecosystem services that play an important role in the challenging context of urban deprivation and poverty. This study assesses the social importance of vegetation through empirical assessment of 44 urban slums in the rapidly developing southern city of Bangalore, India. Vegetation played a major role in supporting nutrition by its role in food consumption, and in promoting health through the planting of species with medicinal use. Trees in slums also formed nodes for social activities including conversing and playing, domestic activities such as cooking and washing dishes, and livelihood activities such as the manufacture of broomsticks and tyre repair. Innovative methods of gardening were widely adopted, with kitchen gardens found planted in plastic bags, paint cans, old kitchen utensils and buckets, indicating the importance given to planting in environments with limited finances. Short and narrow trunked trees with medium-sized canopies and high economic value, such as Pongamia , were preferred. A greater focus on greening in slums is needed, and can provide an invaluable, inexpensive and sustainable approach to improve lives in these congested, deprived environments.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 5 (April)
    Pages: 2459-2473

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:5:p:2459-2473:d:35551
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    1. Yusuf, Shahid & Nabeshima, Kaoru & Wei Ha, 2007. "What makes cities healthy ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4107, The World Bank.
    2. Martin, Katie S & Rogers, Beatrice L & Cook, John T & Joseph, Hugh M, 2004. "Social capital is associated with decreased risk of hunger," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2645-2654, June.
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