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Girgaum, India

This paper considers the collective knowledge about housing design and construction that was developed over 30 years by the Indian Alliance of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation (NSDF) in its pursuit of secure shelter for the pavement dwellers in Mumbai, the most vulnerable people in the city. It traces the learning and innovations developed by these women pavement dwellers, mostly illiterate, in this one specific aspect of their much larger joint journey towards a safe, secure home in the city, something that seemed almost inconceivable when they began. The deeply political aspects of this larger journey are only briefly touched on here, allowing space to describe the hands-on learning about planning, design and building that was also essential in this process. The paper is one of an ongoing series tracing the work of this Indian partnership since 1986, examining the critical milestones that have emerged from discussion, reflections and collective exploration. © 2015, © 2015 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Source

This paper assesses progress in the government of India's Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) programme in 11 cities in India. It draws primarily on responses to a common set of questions asked of government officials, residents and a range of other actors, and on visits to two or more BSUP project sites in each city. In the majority of the 11 cities, much of the building subsidy money still remains unutilized. But the paper suggests that the limitations of the BSUP programme are more to do with the inadequacies of what was built and how this relates to not involving the "slum"(1) dwellers in the design and planning of what was to be done, or in decisions as to whether the slum should be upgraded (or the inhabitants relocated), or in implementation. In many instances, even when in situ improvements were planned, this usually involved clearing the site and constructing contractor-built small apartments rather than implementing what is considered good practice, namely support for households to make incremental improvements to existing housing. The paper suggests that the institutional structures needed to support slum upgrading at scale are not in place at municipal, state and national level. Many of the BSUP projects are simply public housing construction re-labelled - and often with very inadequate provision for the "basic services" whose improvement is meant to be at the centre of the BSUP. However, the paper notes the instances where new approaches were tried with more success. © 2013 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Source

Shenson D.,SPARC
The Journal of family practice | Year: 2011

A small number of preventive services are recommended for all adults ages 65 years and older. It is well established that the combined delivery or being " up to date" on these measures is low. However, the effect of routine checkups on being up to date is not known. We examined the association between routine checkups and the delivery of a group of recommended clinical preventive services for US adults ages 65 and older. In 2006 the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System conducted telephone surveys. Participants ages 65 years and older were randomly selected in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Sample sizes were 32,243 male respondents and 58,762 female respondents. A composite measure was used that includes screening for colorectal, cervical, and breast cancers, and vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease. The measure quantifies the percentage of adults who are up to date according to recommended schedules. Most adults ages 65 and older were fully insured, had a personal health care provider, reported no cost barrier to seeing a doctor in the past year, and had recently received a routine checkup. Associations between high health care access and checkups and the increased likelihood of being up to date on clinical preventive services were statistically significant. Although a large percentage of the population had high access to care and reported having a recent checkup, the percentage of all those who were up to date was low, and it was only slightly greater for those with high access or a recent checkup (42.6%, 45.1%, and 44.8%, respectively, for men; 35.2%, 37.0%, and 36.8%, respectively for women). For both sexes, the results varied by education, race/ethnicity, marriage, insurance, health, and state. Our study indicates that increasing the use of routine medical checkups will have a negligible impact on the delivery of preventive services. Source

Arputham J.,Slum Shack Dwellers International SDI | Patel S.,SPARC
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2010

This is the fourth in a series of papers chronicling the negotiations over plans to redevelop Dharavi, Mumbai's vast informal settlement. It also describes current plans to redevelop land beside Mumbai's international airport, where more than 85,000 households live on a 110-hectare (275 acres) site. In both these settlements, each with populations equivalent to a sizeable city, the government plans appear to be driven more by an intent to support commercial developments than to address the needs of their residents. © 2010 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Source

News Article
Site: http://cen.acs.org/news/ln.html

Generating energy from sunlight comes with problems—such as how to store and distribute that energy—that are challenging some very smart people. That’s the message chemist  Frederick M. MacDonnell of the University of Texas, Arlington, has been opening his talks with lately. Then he shows a photo of the comedy duo, Cheech & Chong, siphoning gasoline from a car to make a point: Any idiot can handle liquid fuels. That’s why MacDonnell and his team have developed a process that creates liquid hydrocarbons and oxygen using sunlight, steam, and carbon dioxide (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2016, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516945113). Their process—dubbed solar photothermochemical alkane reverse combustion or SPARC—generates fuel components, such as octane, that people worldwide already rely on, MacDonnell tells C&EN. “People can keep their cars, their jets, their lawnmowers.” Researchers have previously produced hydrocarbons using the same starting ingredients, but it was rare for them to generate anything with more than one carbon, such as methane or methanol, MacDonnell says. Working with UT Arlington engineer Brian H. Dennis, the researchers developed a reactor that can create products with up to 13 carbon atoms. Inside the reactor, sunlight strikes a bed of photocatalysts, made from cobalt-coated titanium dioxide beads, and liberates charge carriers. These carriers travel to a bead’s surface and oxidize water into oxygen and electrons. The cobalt gobbles up the electrons, which then react with protons and CO to generate hydrocarbons in a process similar to Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, MacDonnell explains. “This is an interesting and important demonstration,” says Nathan S. Lewis, who is researching fuel-from-sunlight techniques at the California Institute of Technology. But he adds, “further work will be required to improve the yields.” MacDonnell agrees, noting the system is nowhere near optimized with less than 1% quantum yield—a measure of how many hydrocarbons come out for every photon that goes in. But he stresses that, “the real discovery is the ability to directly produce heavy hydrocarbons in quantity from carbon dioxide and water in a single step.”

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