Lack of long-term planning for neighbourhood development

Just as with housing, there is a lack of planning for roads, paths, sewerage, water, educational and other infrastructure for slum and squatter neighbourhoods. In many ways neighbourhoods like Klong Toey are built the wrong way around. For regular neighbourhoods considerable time is spent in the planning stages before infrastructure is put in. Then housing is built. Finally, the homes are sold, the houses are furnished and people move in. It is the opposite for most slum and squatter settlements. First, people move onto vacant land with whatever belongings they have. Only then do they build and improve their shelter as they can. Finally electricity, water, paths, roads and sewerage might be put in, if it becomes clear that the neighbourhood could be there to stay.
The lack of initial planning means that the space used and infrastructure installed are rarely at their most effective. Because of a lack of planning, slum and squatter neighbourhoods lack access to adequate electricity infrastructure. This, paired with the fact that homes are built with flammable building materials, makes fires a constant threat to these neighbourhoods. Further compounding the problem, the lack of planning for adequate roads makes slum and squatter neighbourhoods almost impossible to access by fire-fighters, and residents cannot quickly evacuate their homes if a fire occurs. In Klong Toey fires are a relatively common occurrence. Some are big enough to make the national news, like the chemical fires of 1989 which poisoned hundreds of residents, and another in 2001 which left over 5,500 residents homeless. But many do not make the news. The costs of fires in terms of lives, livelihoods and properties are significant.

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