LIFTcities works with five components for integrated urban community development and slum upgrading:
UCSI, public space, land tenure security, basic services supply and livelihood development.
1. Placing people at the centre, our primary focus is on UCSIs: the enhancement of Urban Communities of Shared Interests among slum dwellers. Reinforcing communities from below by supporting slum dwellers and newcomers finding their shared interests is essential. We believe in participating, self-reliant communities and assist communities to take leadership in addressing their needs.
2. Public space is the carrier of most urban activities. It offers the required space to most public services and infrastructure. Most parties involved in slum upgrading are dependent on the existence of public space, whether they focus on public transport, flood proof drainage systems, creating a soccer field or market square, delivering basic services. Even health is related to the amount and state of public space. It is of tremendous social and practical importance for slum dwellers. Functionally, it is the extension of the minimal private space, socially it is space for gathering, economically it connects the neighbourhood with the wider socio-economic environment.
3. A land tenure status is important to be able to feel secure. Security helps creating an atmosphere of investing into housing, services and economic opportunities. The absence of a land tenure status makes people vulnerable in the sense of social and economic relationships.
4. Basic services will remain of great significance in slum settlements as all people deserve basic facilities. This remains a challenge as urban settlements grow faster than services are being delivered. LIFTcities focuses primarily on communal services in the public space, like drinking water, sanitation, health care
5. Livelihood development and the improvement of the economic conditions of people living in slum settlements is the fifth component. Living is more than housing! All people deserve a secure household income, earned by fair trade. We support employment and economic growth within settlements. In case of cross-settlement employment, settlements should be spatially well connected to job opportunities and costs of commuter traffic must be reasonable to let employees benefit their time and income.
These five themes provide the core components of our project approach. Housing is not part of our core business, as we believe housing will result from the application of our five core components.