Accepted paper:

Vulnerable citizens, mental health and the city: from Chennai to Bradford


Ullie Immler

Paper short abstract:

Subjective realities of vulnerable citizens: Chennai versus Bradford. This paper builds on experiences of settlers interviewed in Chennai, India, in regards to their lack of adequate sanitation, and compares it to the account of vulnerable people in Bradford, UK, who lack adequate housing.

Paper long abstract:

How do the vulnerable fare in a city in terms of their freedom to be safe from harm?

This paper builds on experiences of some vulnerable and marginalised settlers interviewed in the city of Chennai, India, and compares it to the account of vulnerable people in Bradford, UK. While the parameter for analysis is different - in Chennai it is access to safe sanitation, in Bradford it is access to safe ways to live and sleep: homelessness and sleeping rough - there is a universal mental health dimension that can be analysed from the data.

The doctoral research on sanitation realities in marginalized peri-urban communities in Chennai saw the application of a lens of 'subjective realities' of individuals in dangerous situations. Discussed is both the wellbeing as well as the agency aspect of capabilities of urbanites. The additional research in Bradford focuses on both aspects as well when assessing circumstances and stories of present and past rough sleepers and their capabilities for development. Data gathered through speaking to organisations DISC (Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community) and "Hope Housing" will be discussed.

The paper investigates questions including that of mental and physical health consequences due to compromised agency and wellbeing capabilities and freedoms.

panel K04
From inclusive cities via vibrant public spaces to sustainable development: A leap of faith or a leap too far? (Hybrid combining: paper + policy and practice panel)