*Dr. Priti Parikh, Dr. Sankalp Chaturvedi,Prof. Gerard George, Imperial College London
This paper demonstrates through 500 household interviews in slums in India the shift from hygiene to satisfier aspirations. There is a shift in aspirations over a ten year period with provision of basic services. The provision of basic services including energy is a high priority aligns with their aspirations. After the provision of services the slum dwellers re-align their aspirations toward higher order aspirations. The slum dwellers aspirations were grouped through factor analysis and a pattern of lower and higher order aspirations emerged. The regression model demonstrates that higher order aspirations for the provision of health, education and housing in slums are influenced positively by the provision of energy. This positive effect is negated if the health conditions are inferior and there is loss in income generating/work days for slum dwellers. With access to basic infrastructure namely water, sanitation and energy the slum dwellers shift from focussing on basic needs to improving the quality of their lives.
There has traditionally been focus by governments to provide housing for slum dwellers as a solution but the flaw with this proposition is that the housing solutions in isolation do not resonate with community aspirations and priorities. It is the lack of access to services which results in loss of work time and illness and detrimental factors which reduce productivity. The paper demonstrates that an increase of work days lost due to illness by one unit reduces the slum dwellers aspirations by 50%. Likewise the increase of disease rate and flood rates result in a reduction of aspiration by 24% and 47%. So providing access to basic services including access to affordable energy, water, sanitation and flood management can be used as a catalyst to shift aspirations and target community investments to improve their lives.