Rurality as a Vehicle for Urban Sanitation Transformation (RUST)

Duration: 05/18 - 05/20

Access to basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity is still limited for many millions of urban residents across India. This is particularly the case in informal settlements and recently urbanised areas, many of which are officially classified as rural and have developed with little or no infrastructure to support them.

Rurality as a Vehicle for Urban Sanitation Transformation (RUST) seeks to examine how the strong rural connections of these communities, sustained by circular migration and the continued importance of traditional livelihoods, can be used to strengthen sanitation systems. Drawing on local perspectives on resource use, waste management and other areas, it will identify ways that approaches such as recycling can be adapted to these urban contexts.

The fieldwork, covering a variety of different urban environments in central Hyderabad and surrounding areas, will explore the environmental, economic and social intersections around these issues through participatory research with community stakeholders. The findings will assist providers and local authorities with the design of innovative, cost effective and environmentally sound sanitation practices in underserved urban areas of India.

Project website

Paul Hutchings (Principal Investigator, Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
Prajna Paramita Mishra (Assistant Professor)
Dolores Rey Vicario (Lecturer in Water Policy and Economics)
Kenny Lynch (Reader in Geography)
Alison Parker (Lecturer in International Water and Sanitation)
Simon Willcock (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Geography)
Timothy Brewer (Senior Lecturer in Resource Survey)

• Participatory, qualitative and quantitative research to assess ecosystem services, sanitation and human waste reuse perceptions in a variety of urban contexts in and around Hyderabad.
• Integration of data into interactive maps using the ESRI Story Maps platform to guide co-analysis sessions with policy and planning stakeholders.
• Dissemination of findings through city stakeholder workshops, online platforms, policy briefings and academic papers.