Planet of slums

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Planet of slums

  1. 1. Planet of Slums<br />Danielle Barrington<br />Professor Arguello<br />History 5<br />13 August 2010<br />
  2. 2. The growth of megacities<br />Large urban population growth is occurring mainly in developing countries – about 95%. It is estimated that the population of third world countries will double to four billion over the next generation of growth (p 2). <br />This type of rapid growth is unprecedented in world history; during Victorian Europe, London grew to be eight times its size from 1800 to 1910, yet multiple cities in developing countries have become forty times what they were in 1950 (p 2).<br />Cities around the world are growing in size and migrating to rural areas, involuntarily changing the way farmers live their lives even though they’re on the same land.<br />
  3. 3. slums<br />A slum was first defined in 1812 as “room in which low goings-on occur” and was synonymous with “racket” or “criminal trade.” By the 1840s, however, the poor were simply living in slums rather than practicing them (p 21).<br />They tend to be characterized by overcrowding, poor or informal housing, inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, and insecurity of tenure (p 23).<br />99.4% of the urban population in Ethiopia and Chad are slums, giving them the highest percentage of slums in the world.Bombay has the biggest population of squatters,reaching 12 million.<br />
  4. 4. Pulling up on bootstraps<br />An architect named John Turner theorized that slums could be used to the benefit of the World Bank by providing cheap living space to those who already know how to make the most of what little they have (p 71).<br />The World Bank saw slums as an opportunity to make those in poverty begin the process of a better life without digging themselves a deeper hole. It is reminiscent of the classic idea of “pulling oneself up from the bootstraps.”<br />Since the 1990s, the World Bank and the UN have gone out of their way to avoid governments and work with non-governmental organizations directly. This is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy that doesn’t necessarily prove that slums can be financially successful.<br />
  5. 5. Slum ecology<br />Slums are typically found in hazardous, health-threatening places around the world. For example, the bustee in Vijayawada requires that residents write numbers on their buildings and furniture because everything is washed away yearly due to flooding (p 121).<br />They willingly trade their safety and comfort for a small, imperfect place to call home without worry of eviction.<br />Slums tend to exist in such places because it is the only land that isn’t under threat of rising land values or city expansion (p 121).<br />Mother nature also adds risk to living in slums, with most created near tectonic fault lines and prone to tsunamis,earthquakes, and volcanoes. <br />
  6. 6. Global impact<br />I found this book to be interesting because of the insight it has on the global impact of such fast population growth. The world’s population is growing at a seemingly unstoppable rate, most of which is born into poverty and hazard.<br />While it is hard to imagine my life in a slum, it is interesting to consider how I could be effected if slums continue to grow at the rate they currently are. Slums may not be too common in the United States now, they could certainly become a norm if nothing changes to curve away such a fast population growth.<br />It fascinates me to consider how different theworld will be in 50, 100, and 200 years, especiallywith all the changes occurring technologically.<br />

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