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Dharavi a model for UK: Charles

Prince Charles, who recently visited India for the Commonwealth Games, says in a new book that Dharavi in Mumbai — one of the world’s largest slums — is a model of sustainable living that British towns could follow.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2010 00:39 IST

Prince Charles, who recently visited India for the Commonwealth Games, says in a new book that Dharavi in Mumbai — one of the world’s largest slums — is a model of sustainable living that British towns could follow.

Dharavi, he writes in his latest book, Harmony, is better organised than many Western towns and cities, and the residents instinctively practice sustainable living. The book will be published next week.

The Daily Telegraph on Saturday said Prince Charles is likely to attract criticism for praising the slum.

The 61-year-old heir to the British throne contrasts the “fragmented, deconstructed housing estates” built in the West with the “order and harmony” of the slum, saying: “We have a great deal to learn about how complex systems can self-organise to create a harmonious whole.”

He adds: “The people of Dharavi manage to separate all their waste at home and it gets recycled without any official collection facilities at all. It is not done in safe conditions and few people would want to do this work — but that is not my point. The real lesson I took from Dharavi was about the vast asset we can call ‘community capital’. The slum has built up its own financial sector, with community banking enterprises using the savings of residents to extend loans to borrowers.”

Describing his book as “a call to revolution”, he alludes to the controversy he expects to follow its publication, saying: “It is probably inevitable that if you challenge the bastions of conventional thinking you will find yourself accused of naivety.”