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Impact of urbanization, poverty and poor infrastructure on Slum formation: Case study of Vijayawada City

Thesis Title: Impact of urbanization, poverty and poor infrastructure on Slum formation in Cities: Case study of Vijayawada City, Andhra Pradesh, India

Category/ Broad Area: Slum formation

Aim: The main of the study is to understand and evaluate the impact of urbanization, poverty and poor infrastructure on slum formation in cities


  1. To review and understand the government policies & regulatory framework related to poor people in the city.
  2. To analyze the urbanization trend and the main factors that cause urbanization growth in the study area.
  3. To study the existing infrastructure facilities in the city.
  4. To suggest/recommend appropriate planning strategies to reduce slum formation in the study area.


  • Understanding of economic and infrastructural status of the existing slums in the city
  • To assess the parameters that gives raise to formation of slums in the study area
  • Better understanding of urbanization trends in cities


  • The study is limited to identified areas in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation.
  • Among various parameters that causes slum formation, only few major parameters (poverty, urbanization, politics, poor infrastructure and social exclusion) were selected and analyzed.
  • Focused only on the policies related to poverty alleviation in the city.

Need for Study

Poverty is the inability of having choices and opportunities, the violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. With rapid shift from rural to urban life, poverty migrates to urban areas. Urban poverty encourages the formation and demand for slums. The urban poor arrives with hope, and very little of anything else, typically has no access to shelter, basic urban services and social amenities. Slums are often the only option for the urban poor. Urbanization represents a challenge for infrastructure management in the developed as well as in developing countries. And it leads to increase in the slum areas. According to 2011 census, the urban population in India grew to 377 million showing a growth rate of 2.76 percent per annum during 2001-2011. More than 50 percent of the world’s population is living in urban areas. Rapid urbanization drives economic growth and causes people to seek working and investment opportunities in urban areas. Poor people, they can’t afford for shelter, infrastructure ect. This causes poor people to live in slums.

Percent People Below Poverty & Urbanisation Trend

Many researchers suggest that urbanization creates slums because local governments are unable to manage urbanization, and the migrant workers without an affordable place to live in, dwell in slums. And financial deficiency in some governments may explain the lack of affordable public housing for the poor since any improvement of the tenant in slums and expansion of public housing programs involve a great increase in the government expenditure. And Social exclusion and poor infrastructure forces the poor to adapt to conditions beyond their control. Poor families that can’t afford transportation, or those who simply lack any form of affordable public transportation, generally end up in squatter settlements within walking distance or close enough to the place of their formal or informal employment.  A growing economy that creates jobs at rate faster than population growth, offers people opportunities and incentive to relocate from poor slum to more developed neighbourhoods.

Urban Housing Shortage in India

Considering the urban trends and the persisting infrastructure demand & supply gap within the cities,  inequity issues among various groups (EWS, LIG, MIG and HIG) in the developing countries will further increase. And because of this urbanization, there is an increase of slums around the core city. This leads to the problem of accessing basic services like water supply, transportation, housing ect. Finally the impact is that, the stress will be more on urban poor settlements.

The assessment of major parameters like urbanization, poverty, politics, poor infrastructure and social exclusion helps us to understand the ground realities of slum settlements in developing countries. It will give the idea about the government policies, infrastructure and the accessibility of those facilities to the residents residing over there. So to address such kind of issues and considering the available resource constraints the  resources needs to be managed properly and the needs to be identified on the priority basis so as to provide access to basic services to slum people.

Case Study:

Vijayawada is the third largest city in the State of Andhra Pradesh and the capital of newly formed state. It is a city in the southeast Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Vijayawada has multiple challenges in spatial development front for socially inclusive and physically integrated outcomes. It’s known for the ornate Kanaka Durga Temple, which sits atop a hill overlooking the city. The Undavalli Caves feature ancient rock-cut temples, carved out of a sandstone hillside and adorned with elaborate statues. The massive Prakasam Barrage stretches across the Krishna River. Nearby is Bhavani Island, with forests and waterfront gardens.

Though during the pre-independence era the city experienced only a modest growth; however, after independence the construction of road bridge over the river Krishna, establishment of South-Central Railway terminal, setting up of divisional headquarters, major government offices including district court, major institutions for higher education, major commercial and distributive trading activities, wholesale establishments, agricultural marketing centre and Jawahar Auto-Nagar industrial estate have brought a substantial effect on the city’s growth. Vijayawada has many locational advantages with dominant trade-transport function. It borders the Telengana region and is close to the Rayelseema region of Andhra Pradesh. The city emerged as an important transport hub that has boosted its export for agricultural produce hence forming a base for rich agricultural farmers of coastal Andhra especially Krishna Delta. (Vijayawada Urban Development Authority, 1971).

Land Use Map of Vijayawada City

Significance/usefulness of the project

  • The report shall be useful in understanding of various factors that gives raise to slum formation.
  • It shall enhance the knowledge of reader by providing in-depth view of poverty and slums.
  • The project shall provide a simple view of complex legislature thus making it easy to understand.
  • It provides compiled information, thus reader doesn‘t have to refer many documents.


Slums are the products of failed policies, bad governance, corruption, inappropriate regulation, dysfunctional land markets, unresponsive financial systems and a fundamental lack of political will. Each of these failures adds to the toll on people already deeply burdened by poverty and forces them to live in slums. According to UN-Habitat (2006b) slums are results from a combination of poverty or low incomes with inadequacies in the housing provision system, so that poor people are forced to seek affordable accommodation and land that become increasingly inadequate. Because of their poor economic status and social exclusion they are unable to access the basic infrastructure facilities like water, transportation, housing ect. The evidence discussed suggests that city authorities faced with rapid urban development lack the capacity to cope with the diverse demands for infrastructural provision to meet economic and social needs. The number of urban people in poverty is to a large extent, outside the control of city governments, and is swelled by a combination of economic stagnation, increasing inequality and population growth, especially growth through immigration. In the following discussion, the researcher has chosen Vijayawada city, Andhra Pradesh, India as the case study for further investigation. The researcher has analyzed the BPL (Below Poverty Line) population statistics, urbanization trend and infrastructural facilities and government response to execute policies in the city. The study witnessed that the rapid urbanization, social exclusion and lack of infrastructure gives raise to slum formation in the city.

Main Outcomes/ final analysis/ proposals


An individual is defined to be poor on basis of qualitative measures, standard of living, low income, poor health, deprivation towards basic infrastructure. Internationally a person living on less than US$ 1 (INR 65 to INR 70) per day is termed to be living below the poverty line (BPL).

Table 1: Population living BPL, Vijayawada City:

S.No.   Rural Urban
1 No. Of persons 2,56,798 7,91,202
2  BPL population 51,360 1,97,800
3 Poverty line (Rs/month) 860.00 1009.00

Source : Compiled by author, 2020

Table debits BPL population of Vijayawada city. Among total rural population, 20 percent falls under BPL considering Rs. 860 as poverty line measure. And 25 percent of urban population falls under BPL.


Vijayawada city is the third most densely populated in the urban population of built-up areas in the world with 31,200 persons per sq.km. Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) constitutes about 3.91 % of the total urban population of the state.

Table 2: Population, area and density of VMC:

Year Vijayawada (M.Corp.)
   Population Population decadal growth (%) Area


Density (Person/Km2)
1961 230397 42.93 24.14 9544
1971 317258 37.7 29.4 10791
1981 461772 45.55 29.4 15707
1991 701827 51.99 55.56 12632
2001 845217 20.43 61.88 13659
2011 1034232 24.02 61.88 7292.03

Source: Compiled by author, Census of India, 2011

Table shows the population statistics of Vijayawada city. VMC population as per 2001 census is 8,45,217 and as per 2011 census is 10,48,000. Its urban/metropolitan population is 7,91,202. The contributors to population growth are mainly the natural increase and the in migration from the surrounding villages.

Expansion of Vijayawada City

Historically, certain period showed pick rise in population. In 1880s, population grew due to labour migration for laying railway lines, whereas in 1940s large scale rich and poor peasants migrated due to emergence of city as an important commercial and political centre. Majority of the rich farmers that migrated in the city occupied the outlying rural areas like Patamata and Gundala, which later became urban areas with extension of city limit. Migration of rich peasants into the city was one of the strong factors of city growth in the past. Whereas the poor migrants settled mostly along the river, canals and hill slopes, forming the present slum areas.


Politics plays a major role in the city. The problem can lie on the failure in coordination among different departments in charge of economic development, urban planning, and land allocation.

Poor House Planning

The urban population growth in city is posed to different challenges in terms of high densities, transient populations. Lack of affordable low cost housing and poor planning encourages the supply side of slums in the Vijayawada city. Insufficient financial resources and lack of coordination in government bureaucracy are two main causes of poor house planning in the city.

Table 3: Housing condition of city:

S.No. Parameter Number
1 Population 10,50,000
2 Total HHs as per  population 2,33,000
3 Existing HHs 1,23,054
4 Slum HHs 60,246
5 Dilapidated HHs 36,523
6 Housing demand 1,09,946

Source: Compiled by author, 2020

From the above table, we can predict the demand for housing as per population. There is a need of 1,09,946 HHs for the existing population and in the existed houses around 40 percent of the houses are dilapidated because of poor house planning. And the condition of households is very bad in terms of space, access to infrastructure etc. the housing market where few houses are built to sell to them.

Poor Infrastructure and Social Exclusion

Migration and closure to the capital city are two major factors for population growth in the Vijayawada city. Because of this people are unable to access the basic infrastructure in the city.

Table 4: Existing infrastructure facilities in the city:

S.No. Parameters Rural Urban
1 Total HH 64,200 1,97,800
2 HH with water supply 41,777 67,541
3 HH with Roads 37,401 85,693
4 HH with Sewers 562 756

Source: Compiled by author, 2020

Above table, debits the infrastructure facilities in the city. Out of total HHs, only 40 percent has minimum infrastructure facilities. As the city is a corporation, in and out transportation has increased, house rents, land costs are also increased. There is not much scope to expand the roads, lay sewer line ect. in the city. It leads poor to stay away from the city.

Slums in Vijayawada City

City  has 111 slums, out of which 20 are hazardous and 91 are non-hazardous.

Table 5: Slums statistics, Vijayawada:

S.No. No. of slums Population Area (Sq.km) HHs
1 111 4,51,231 9.27 82,115

Source: Compiled by author, 2020

Table shows that, there are total 111 slums in the stud area. Total households in the city  are 82,115 within the area of 9.27 sq.km. in city.

Slums in Vijayawada City

Total area of the city is 61.88 sq.km and the slum area is estimated to be 9.27 sq.km. The slum population has grown from 1, 69,043 in 2001 to the present value of 4,51,231.


Slums are generally the only type of settlement affordable and accessible to the poor in cities, where competition for land and profits is intense. Poor people are the cause of slums, as they are economically weak. A poorly performing economy, in other words, increases poverty and rural-to-urban migration, thereby increasing slums. The study concludes that poverty, urbanization, government policies and social exclusion give raise to formation of slums in cities.

Keywords: Poverty, Urbanization, Housing, Infrastructure, Social exclusion and Slums

College/Agency : – DDF Consultants Pvt Ltd, New Delhi

Work Type  – Survey Paper

Author contact info: Padala Kanaka Maha Lakshmi received Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from IIIT, Nuzvid and Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from SPAV in 2015 and 2019 respectively. During 2015-2017, she has worked as a Licensed Surveyor. Now she is working with DDF Consultants Pvt. Ltd as an Urban Planner.

Declaration by Author:  I have authorized PlanningTank to publish this information and the thesis is a work done by (Padala Kanaka Maha Lakshmi) and PlanningTank is not responsible for any information presented.

Declaration by PlanningTank: The information presented is provided by the author with no inputs from PlanningTank. Author has conducted the above stated study and can be contacted for more information. PlanningTank is authorized to contact the author if more information is required about the research work for information author about job opportunities and other purposes.