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RISE: Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments

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RISE Indonesia
RISE Indonesia site
RISE Indonesia
RISE Indonesia
RISE Indonesia

Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE)



Implement a water-sensitive approach to informal settlement upgrading and understand how this revitalization affects human health



Informal settlements are residential areas where inhabitants have no secure land tenure, lack or are cut off from basic services and city infrastructure, and are housed in buildings that may not comply with planning and building regulations.  Slums, which are the most deprived and excluded form of informal settlements, are characterized by poverty and dilapidated housing located in the most hazardous urban land.  The global population in informal settlements has grown due to the combined effects of urbanization and population growth.  The UN Sustainability Goals, a set of aspirational goals for attaining sustainable development by 2030, envisions urban communities developing to be more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Our multi-institutional team has developed a water-sensitive approach to informal settlement upgrading which integrates ecologically and economically sustainable water infrastructure into buildings and landscapes. Decentralized water infrastructure is implemented at dwelling, neighborhood, and precinct scales to harvest rainwater and storm water, recycle wastewater, and protect against flooding and environmental pollution. Wastewater is managed locally using natural passive treatment processes such as constructed wetlands and natural filters. Storm water runoff is conveyed to minimize flooding and environmental pollution, using grassed channels, surface wetlands and biofiltration gardens. Locally sourced water is used for a range of domestic purposes and economic activities including urban agriculture, while greenspaces increase local amenity.

Revitalizing Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE), a parallel-cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate a novel water-sensitive approach to the upgrading of informal settlements in Makssar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji. We hypothesize that the upgraded physical environment and improved water-servicing will lead to enhanced psychological, social, and economic outcomes, resulting in benefits to health and wellbeing both at the individual and community level.


Project Dates

2017 to Current


Stage of Work

The health assessment team has developed field protocols and sample handling protocols to collect health related data and samples across 24 informal settlements in Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji. Field teams have started to collect survey data and samples quarterly. Data and sample collection will continue as the water-sensitive intervention is built, monitoring the health of the individuals living in the settlements and measuring and identifying pathogens as well as antimicrobial resistance markers both in humans and the environment.


To Learn More About This Work

Stanford Program on Water, Health & Development



RISE Project:  People

Primary Contact:  Stephen Luby



RISE Project

RISE is part of the Wellcome Trust's Our Planet, Our Health funding program, with support from the Asian Development Bank’s Future Cities program.