Emily Rains

Rains
When I complete my dissertation, I plan to disseminate the findings to policymakers. I hope the evidence will provide important insights for policy design in rapidly urbanizing areas in the Global South.

Degree

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Science

Project Team

During my first two years at Duke, I worked on the Bass Connections project, Studying the Real ‘Slums’ in Bangalore, Patna and Jaipur. Many ‘slums’ – neighborhoods that lack housing rights and basic services – are undocumented on official government lists. In order to locate and study Indian slums, our team combined satellite image analysis and fieldwork to build a database of several hundred slums across three cities.

My dissertation builds directly off of the work I started with our team. I am now working on developing and testing a framework to explain how slums vary in their degree of informality and what that implies for policy needs in different types of slums.

Slum in Bangalore.

The Bass Connections Student Research Award enabled me to return to Bangalore and conduct detailed case studies of five slums that vary substantially in their level of service access and housing security. With the grant, I conducted nearly 100 in-depth interviews with area leaders and residents of these five neighborhoods, allowing me to learn about the unique narratives and leadership histories across the settlements.

These case studies are foundational for my overall dissertation project. I am currently transcribing and analyzing the interviews to formulate my framework and develop testable hypotheses. My next step will be to test the framework with the survey data our Bass Connections team previously collected.

When I complete my dissertation, I plan to disseminate the findings to policymakers. I hope the evidence will provide important insights for policy design in rapidly urbanizing areas in the Global South.