Searching for Home
In Bangkok, slums like 'The Bananna Plantation' sprawl along the city's canals, with no running water or electricity. For most of their lives, Ponsah and her neighborhs have called The Bananna Plantation home, until one day they were forced off the land.
Like in much of the developing world, millions of Bangkok's poorest urban residents live in informal communities on the edge of the city, plagued by unhealthy and dangerous living conditions. With no secure entitlement to the land or homes they occupy, these communities often face eviction with nowhere to turn.
After years of unsuccessfully scouting for land, Ponsah's community found hope through a government program that seeks to solve Bangkok's extensive informal housing problems. Through receiving a grant, they were able to work as a cooperative to buy a parcel of land, build new homes, and relocate as an entire community.
Community Organizations Development Institute's Ban Mankong Collective Housing Program was launched as an effort to address the housing issues faced by Thailand's poorest communities. The program allows communities to work together as a cooperative to plan and build their own neighborhoods in safe environments, channeling government funds directly to those in need of housing through infrastructure subsidies, land loans and tenure security.
The Rockerfeller Foundation and Next City are exploring issues unique to large developing cities, like informal housing, through their Informal City Dialogues. The series hopes to illuminate the intersection between formal and informal city life to discover solutions that will hopefully result in better cities.