The Potty Project

Researching sanitation in low-income urban India.

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Key Takeaway 17 is “the design and planning of the built environment of a toilet establishes the rules of use.” When users clearly distinguish the toilet as a space being one that is indoors, they use it more responsibly. When users walk into a facility, there is a clear demarcation between the street outside and the space indoors. Since a clear distinction is established, users are less likely to litter indoors or defecate outside the toilet doors as they do in toilets that open directly onto an open courtyard.

Toilets are seen merely as a space for defecation. Sanitation facilities serve to mark out a space that different members of the community use to defecate - either inside or outside. Peer supervision discourages irresponsible use. Enclosed, unsupervised spaces provide cover for activities that are socially disapproved of. For example, not having toilet doors ensures that people won’t waste time and that others waiting in line for the toilet automatically know who is flushing and who isn’t

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