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Open AccessArticle

Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital

by Divya Gopal 1,2,*,† and Harini Nagendra 3,4,†
1
Department of Ecology, Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, 12165 Berlin, Germany
2
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstr. 15, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany
3
School of Development, Azim Premji University, PES Institute of Technology Campus, Pixel Park, B Block, Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore 560100, India
4
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Bangalore 560064, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2459-2473; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6052459
Received: 24 January 2014 / Revised: 21 April 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 28 April 2014
Urban greenery provides ecosystem services that play an important role in the challenging context of urban deprivation and poverty. This study assesses the social importance of vegetation through empirical assessment of 44 urban slums in the rapidly developing southern city of Bangalore, India. Vegetation played a major role in supporting nutrition by its role in food consumption, and in promoting health through the planting of species with medicinal use. Trees in slums also formed nodes for social activities including conversing and playing, domestic activities such as cooking and washing dishes, and livelihood activities such as the manufacture of broomsticks and tyre repair. Innovative methods of gardening were widely adopted, with kitchen gardens found planted in plastic bags, paint cans, old kitchen utensils and buckets, indicating the importance given to planting in environments with limited finances. Short and narrow trunked trees with medium-sized canopies and high economic value, such as Pongamia, were preferred. A greater focus on greening in slums is needed, and can provide an invaluable, inexpensive and sustainable approach to improve lives in these congested, deprived environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: India; livelihood; slum dwellers; urban poverty; social ecological systems; urban ecology; urban vegetation India; livelihood; slum dwellers; urban poverty; social ecological systems; urban ecology; urban vegetation
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Gopal, D.; Nagendra, H. Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2459-2473.

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