This socio-economic review provides an overview of the sanitation crisis in slum areas, and re-emphasizes the importance of sanitation. It highlights a lack of recognition of actual drivers for sanitation improvements, and the complexities in the provision of sanitation services in the context of urban slums with a mix of tenants and landlords. It elaborates how the drivers of demand for sanitation outlined in contemporary research are not universal but are rather context specific. The authors point out specific knowledge gaps for future research; for example, the need to establish a scientific basis for context-specific drivers of demand for sanitation improvements in slums, and a better understanding of associated complexities in order to set boundary conditions for achieving desired improvements.

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ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development
Public Health
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Isunju, J. B., Schwartz, K., Schouten, M., Johnson, W. P., & van Dijk, M. P. (2011). Socio-economic aspects of improved sanitation in slums: A review. Public Health, 125(6), 368–376. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2011.03.008