36 thoughts on “Urban Blog Assignment #2

  1. After identifying the flag as Peruvian, I finally found the image of the cross-topped hill and bright, precariously perched homes (that appeared at first to me has post-slide of some kind) by typing “Peru slum under mud” and searching images through Google. I found nothing to suggest that one of Peru’s landslides had hit this hill, but I did learn about the San Cristobel slum in Lima and the future of the Rimac River. Unsurprisingly the conquering Spanish put up the first cross on that hill – among many – as they defeated indigenous populations and worked to spread Catholicism in the 16th century. Cerro San Cristobal remains a pilgrimage site to this day; one must walk or take a bus through the slum to get there. Supposedly the view from the 400 meter peak is the best of Lima, a city of nearly 10 million. I read that as of 1990, 30% of Peruvians lived in Lima and 70% of Lima’s residents lived in slums. (http://limaperu2013.weebly.com/index.html)

    The infographic of maps and charts defined the growth in slum populations from 1990-2001 by continent/subcontinent and other than in North America, where the population appears stagnant, globally there is significant growth of urban informal housing, particularly in Africa. Out of curiosity I visited the link on the Weebly site for the upper and middle class – where I saw that the Costa Verde Park and the coastline near San Isidro, as well as the impressive Westin Hotel, offer a very different image of Lima. The dichotomy of wealth is striking. The lack of running water and sewer systems, and all the dirty consequences, are emblematic of crowded slums around the world. In Lima, Peru, residents of the San Cristobal slums can buy barrels of water and bring them up the steep cliff at a great price and effort. The city attempted to bring jugs at some point, according to Emma Lodes for Occidental Weekly in February 2013. It cost twenty-times what it cost to provide water to downtown residents….residents who use much more water than the average Latin American city-dweller. The glacially-sourced Rimac River serves many Peruvians as it flows down to the ocean… just before that it provides 4/5ths of Lima’s water. Such low altitude glaciers are the most susceptible to climate change and 70% of the world’s are in Peru. According to Lodes, Peru is third to Honduras and Bangladesh as the states most vulnerable to climate change hazards. (http://occidentalweekly.com/opinions/2013/02/26/peru-slums-run-dry-as-climate-change-takes-hold/)

    The obvious urban dichotomy of wealth is clear in the middle image on the right side. This coastal (I think) city has high rises, leafy green trees and shanty-towns. It could be almost anywhere, if it weren’t for the coast and particularly the trees. The map at the bottom speaks to this. My first image search, “urbanization in the global south” was fruitless, but “slums in the global south” took me to the Wikipedia image and page on slums. The colors declare the percentage of the state’s population living in urban slums as of 2001. Greens are under 30%, yellows are under 60% and black is 90-100%. Coupled with the cartogram of refugee camps (2004 data), which doesn’t include any internally displaced people, the lack of what we consider basic necessities looms as an overwhelming reality for hundreds and hundreds of millions of people. It’s harder still to believe that overall poverty declines in the wake of even the most deplorable urbanization. (Quirk in “Bright Lights, Big City” 2007) I wonder if that will remain true.

  2. The development of slums is one of the world’s most widespread problems. The issue is the dramatic increase of total world population. Kingsley Davis declares that “today’s underdeveloped countries are urbanizing more rapidly … than the industrial nations did in the heyday of their urban growth,” leaving cities such as Rio de Janiero and Hong Kong with little political or economic control over the majority of their city. In lieu of legal regulation in the form of police or government officials, slum areas are monitored by militarization efforts or organized crime. These forces are able to maintain control because they provide citizens with the services that the government won’t, so long as they don’t revolt.

    One result of lack of control is a heavily informal society structure: in both housing and the economy. Because rapid urbanization is typically occurring without rapid industrialization in these regions, there are not enough jobs for citizens of developing cities. Instead, people sell traditional goods in a limited, local market for a small, un-taxed income. While the goods and services provided are not inherently illegal, their unregistered application is. This lack of taxation leads to a limit in the government to provide services and infrastructure, which in turn generates informal housing. Because these regions are primarily located in tropical areas, slums develop along hillsides, which dangerously perch along unstable land that could slide at any moment. In flatter regions, slums are typically found along rail lines and low-lying areas, according to the Crowley urbanization model. Communities built entirely of shipping containers are common in China, while other Asian cities have established cage housing, providing residents with roughly thirty-six cubic feet to call their own. These informal housing districts have become so large that, despite their illegality, the government does not attempt to infiltrate and reform them, causing the aforementioned military and organized crime groups to take over.

    In the 1960’s, Latin American city governments began providing slum dwellers with materials to rebuild formal housing in place of their temporary housing. The economic effects were mutually beneficial to both citizens and the government, as families elevated from low to middle class standing through the stabilization of home life. Children were now able to get an education and obtain better jobs, which in turn paid taxes to the government. After seeing the success of this initiative, I believe more countries need to launch programs similar to this one. Not only would this reintroduce formal government regulation in a positive light, triggering a satisfied, responsive reaction among citizens, but it would also prepare neighborhoods for future population growth. With access to an improved education and job market, families would be less dependent on child labor, causing general population growth to slow. Davis argues that population growth is “something to be itself planned” rather than something “to be planned for,” which is a concept that most urban planners seem to have backwards. If population growth were planned, city officials would not be scrambling (and failing) to provide adequate housing and services for an overwhelming amount of people. Instead, a plethora of resources, beyond housing materials, could be administered to citizens to promote and improve physical health, emotional well-being and political and economic stability.

  3. I have known the development of slums first hand. While living in Bogota, Colombia my parents took us on a mission to give toys to underprivileged kids in the slums. For many years most Colombian cities have been facing a dilemma with dialing with the influx of refugees from the countryside and the drastic natural increase of the urban population. These refugees and urban poor have a tendency to crowd into slums (as shown in some of the pictures) around the cities in which there is a general lack of basic human services such as education, sanitation, food, running water, transportation and basic health services. Most of these cities have been fighting an uphill battle for many years to remedy the conditions of these slums without success, the already limited resources of the city governments are not sufficient to accommodate the growing populations of these cities. The lack of basic human services and jobs for the poor classes has led to a domino effect that affects the all of people living in the urban setting leading to overcrowding, rampant crime and environmental destruction. Examples include: In Bogota, public transportation is disorganized and unsafe for many and there is no water treatment plant(s) for the city leading to sewage being released directly into the rivers.
    The disparity between the rich and the poor has always been a problem everywhere, but it is more predominant on the third world. But it is much more than that, with the percentage of the “haves” and “have not s” is staggering with the rich controlling upwards of 90 % of the country’s wealth at any given time. This difference in money and power has led to open military conflict in many countries as shown, with many refugees flooding into the cities to run away from the violence in the countryside and looking for a better life. In many instances, the violence that these people tried to run away from follows them. Within the urban setting a subculture develops based around dealings in the black market to which these people find themselves being a part of because it is either the only way they know how to make a living or it is the only possible route due to lack of good jobs so they can provide for their families.
    As mentioned before, with overcrowding in these cities not only the poor suffer but there is a rippling effect thought the urban society with the city governments either being inept, corrupt or the problem being too complicated for their limited resources and generally stagnant tax base. These problems will eventually be solved as educational and social programs become more predominant but those are long term solutions. The requirement for the affluent of a city to help their cities is key, with the money and influence of the wealthy in a city put into social, infrastructure, and health programs along with the key check and balances to avoid corruption in order to relieve and eventually solve these problems.

  4. Seeing the pictures of the slums is never something anybody wants to see of believe is out there in the world. I have seen a couple of village like slums when I was is Japan. They where not like the images shown here when they have tin roofs and look like they could blow away with a strong guest of wind. The ones that I saw was a village of actually homes and that were falling apart to the point that the windows were gone, the doors were blocked by material that people found in the garbage around the area. The roads were almost impossible to follow they had been neglected for so long and it mad for a very poor living environment. There was very little running water and the running water that they did have was more of a way to get some of the waste to move. But not only was the living condition poor but also the basic human necessities were almost none existent. There was no place around the town to get food you had to travel far to get any, there were no government sobered jobs like hospitals or police anywhere to be found. It was a place that not many people around the area really wanted to go to.
    Also, there is a place in the Dominican Republic that is known to the locals as the “pit”. When part of my family went there to do work with the local church trying to rebuild the homes and churches in the area, it was clear that no body that lived there wanted to make it a better place or the people living around the area. The people living in the area didn’t try to make the area better because the people running it did not want it to be. If people wanted to make the area better than there would be no need for them to be there anymore and would lose control of the area. As for the area known as the pit, it was what it sounds like, a big hole in the ground with what the locals called homes build around it. Now there homes were like the ones in the pictures that are shown here and that were shown in class. The were made a small pieces of wood and the roofs were made of tin or any other item they could find. As for the human needs that were available like running water and a source of healthy food. That was no were even close for the people to get to and the hole/pit was a low area so all of the trash, used water, and waste were through into the pit as a way to clean the streets. If thats not bad enough because there was nothing for the kids to do beach there was no school, they went swimming in the hole. This becomes alto worse when there is no hospital in the area for them to go to when they get sick and it just hurts the stammered of living that they have.
    Another thing that I saw was the lack of authority in the area, of course in a place like this, there was zero police presents and the law was determined by the people living there. They people working in the area had to be carful when giving out items to the kids like shoes and clothing and food, because the bigger kids, boys and sometimes adults would gang up on the smaller ones and take away everything that they had just had giving to them. Again this goes back to the fact that there is no infrastructure to get any type of order into the area. This is not only a problem in the areas that I am talking about but any of the pictures above of the hill side slum, the over grown city and even just looking at the maps tells you another story. Its not just in what we think of as the third world that this is happening, but an example that was giving in class that relates to the maps at the bottom was the images of the people living in the shipping containers. This was in an area that at least I thought was a country, a while country that was right up there with the United aStates in its city infrastructure and living conditions of its people.

    Bryan Webb

  5. I cannot help but feel that the fact that the population numbers of people living in slums having risen from 1990 to 2001, as demonstrated in the provided prompt, is a rather troubling sign of the overarching and pervasive failure of government policy across Asia, Africa, and Latin America to rectify the issue of slums. Given that people are hopefully migrating from rural environments to the urban settings with the intention of not living in a slum with a very low quality of life for the rest of their existence, I feel that the question must be asked as to what is keeping these people in the slums and preventing their ascendancy to a higher level of living, so to speak.
    In looking around the internet trying to find a cogent argument as to why slum populations are increasing, I came across a few important things-firstly, that, for obvious reasons, hard data in large quantities is, in many ways, difficult to obtain in regard to slum environments. Secondly, many different groups and individuals have performed extensive surveying of populations within slums regarding their living conditions and day to day activities. And third, despite a bevy of opinions regarding why slums are growing and people are not escaping the environments to which they are migrating, I could not find one particular opinion that was particularly accepted or overpoweringly popular. That being said, several rather interesting explanations were presented to me.
    The first and most simple argument that I found interesting was the idea that economists, etc. are not taking in the whole picture when they analyze why individuals living in slums are not rising up to through the socioeconomic strata to occupy a higher class of living. Some authors, like Glaeser and Chowdhury, argue that rural populations are aware of the conditions in the slum when they move, and therefore simply by actually moving to the slum they are improving their conditions. This thought had not occurred to me, and I do not think it outlandish to propose that it may not have occurred to many economists either, as none of us have ever had to contemplate the notion that life in a favela in Brazil may in fact be a superior option to our present state of living. That they instead consider what happens in terms of slum populations’ upward mobility after they are already dwelling in the slum may be a simple oversight that, in all fairness, does not have an answer to provide as to why slum populations are lacking socioeconomic upward mobility.
    The explanation that I found more convincing, however, was a look at multiple variables concerning peoples’ inability to escape slum living. A combination of high rental charges, poor sanitation, under counted and ignored slum populations, and a disconnect between the goals of “slumlords” and the relatively voiceless slum dwellers are all listed as prime factors in the overall inescapabilty of slum living. In a recent MIT study, the appalling conditions we have heard about in class regarding slum life were confirmed, especially in regard to disease, with numerous mentions of infectious conditions and an appalling 82% of surveyed Bangladeshis reporting that a member of their household had been sick in the past month. Several other surveys showed high rents in the cities, sometimes occupying up to 1/3 of residents’ non-food income. Given these aforementioned problems, it is simple to see that living on the edge of such an economic pitfall with precious little to no savings for a safety net can be an all too easy route to prolonged, multigenerational, and unwanted continual residence in a slum.



    Glaeser, E. 2011. Triumph of the city: how our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier. New York, NY: Penguin Press.

    Chowdhury, S., Mobarak A.M., and Bryan G. 2009. Migrating away from a seasonal famine: a randomized intervention in Bangladesh. Human Development Research Paper 2009/41. ↩

  6. It’s truly hard to fully grasp the poverty shown in these images and maps, especially since I’ve never seen slums like these in person. Pictures and videos are the sole communicators to me and photographers have done a remarkable job encapsulating the emotions of poverty through their lenses. On the other hand, maps exhibit the scale of poverty and give even more credit to the pictures.
    The picture of the San Cristobel Slum on the mountain in Peru captured my attention instantly, so I had to dig deeper. The colorful shanty buildings are precariously perched on the sides of a mountain too steep to actually build upon and at the top of the mountain is the Peru flag seemingly painted on the earth with a cross standing tall at the top. The first to cross my mind was how colorful and bright the “buildings” are! How opposite I thought that was. I usually envision a slum or shantytown in dull, lifeless colors. So, for this picture to show them in bright colors, it shamed my skewed thinking. Why can’t people in poverty live in bright color and not in dull and dark? To me, the colors show hope and joy in life. Yes, the general culture of South America includes the iconic bright colored homes; however, it never crossed my mind that the slums included those same bright colored homes. Also in my mind, this picture evokes the constant uphill battle experienced by people living in the slums. It shows the type of land leftover by the city and yet inhabited by the shantytowns. These people overcome and embrace the difficult terrain because they have no choice. Overall, this picture displays the grit of those who live in poverty and is a symbolic picture of hope to address their conditions.
    On the opposite end of the pictures, the maps shown above display the cold, hard facts behind poverty worldwide. These maps make me feel small and accurately portray the extensive devastation of poverty across the world. I always hear about how we have the largest population of humans since the earth began and how much it will grow in the next few decades, but I forget to think country where there is a low percentage of the population in poverty, it’s hard to imagine entire countries where poverty is the majority. These maps bring that reality closer to home by showing me the numbers and percentages.
    Poverty is that social issue that people are typically uncomfortable talking about, but poverty needs to be discussed, addressed, and brought up more often. The people moreover deserve it. Solutions for reducing poverty or improving the living conditions are easier said than done, sadly. Numerous political and social issues get in the way of helping people and it’s sad that it is so. Yet photos and maps such as these need to continually be produced and distributed to try to communicate to the masses, in the U.S. especially, the reality that is poverty all over the world.

    Brittany Brown

  7. During our normal daily lives, we do not think about areas of the world that are suffering. As we drive to work, school, and back to our 3 plus bedroom homes, we fail to realize that not everyone is just like us. A large majority of the world lives in homes that barely have fours walls, let alone a roof that keeps the rain off them. For most, it’s hard to believe people live in these areas called slums. However, I was fortunate enough to visit some of these slum areas on mission trips. With these visits I learned to always be thankful.

    The summer before my junior year of high school I went on a mission trip to Puerto Rico. While there we visited an area of San Juan called La Perla. This small area is separated by a wall from the historic district of San Juan and is a heavily drug invested area of the island. While colorful and having a great view of the ocean, the homes are stacked on top of each other and only a few homes are lucky enough to have running water. Unfortunately, people do not know this place is here. Mostly because this area is so crime ridden that Puerto Rico omits the roads from maps so that tourists do not go down into that area.

    Similar to La Perla, slum areas around the world are a safe haven for crime. Drug cartels, black markets, etc., thrive here because of the desperation of the residents. With people only making very little or no money, selling drugs and illegal items is a way to help make their lives better. Crime can thrive here because it’s an area that people try to forget even exists. During the World Cup of soccer in Brazil, television producers made sure to never show the mountain of slums littering the city of Rio de Janeiro because it was not something people wanted to see and it also would make the city look bad on a world stage.

    With the world population dramatically increasing, these slums are growing just as fast. Third World countries are seeing the largest growth in population due to the unbelievably high birth rates. We can all say that they need to stop reproducing so much but we don’t understand how they live. With an income of maybe a few dollars a day, a large family is needed to help bring in as much money as possible. Also with death rates almost as high as birth rates due to disease, women try to have as many children as possible incase some of them die. While these slums are areas that a majority of people in the world try to pretend do not exist, they are in need of full awareness. These areas are growing in size and are beginning to pop up in more and more parts of the world. These areas should not be walled up and forgotten about. They need to be given full attention so that we can begin to address the situation.

    Andrew Dingler

  8. These images show the harsh reality of rapid urbanization and the problems it creates. The population growth of these cities has exceeded the industrial growth, which means jobs are scarce. Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 863 million people were living in slums. These settlements develop in areas deemed unacceptable or unsafe, such as flood plains or steep hill slopes such as the one shown in the first image. They develop on the outskirts of the cities and sometimes can be found in the center of the city, as it has grown and expanded around them. The inability to keep up with the demands for better infrastructure, rural-to-urban migration, and planning issues are a few examples of what causes the creation of slums. Images two and three show the poor living conditions present in these communities. Image five shows the close living quarters and unstable construction that create an unsafe environment, and the potential for widespread disaster such as the spread of disease or building failure due to natural hazards. Another problem associated with these informal settlements is the reliance on organized crime. Without the protection and economic support from the city, these communities are left with no access to basic services unless they are provided through a third party, such as organized crime groups. In exchange for services, the community provides a shield for these organizations. This only causes the estrangement from the city to grow, but what other choice do the residents have? As unsafe as it is to allow these criminals to thrive, how can you expect these communities to turn down access to services they could not access before? Cities have attempted to improve the safety of these slums by providing adequate building materials for construction. These materials are provided with the hopes of creating a more stable and permanent environment. This idea seems to be the most ideal, but takes a substantial amount of time for results to be displayed. The other way to “solve” the problem is to relocate the population to high rise apartments. This solution also frees up space for more settlements to develop. Another solution is to simply bulldoze the remains to allow for high end development.

    I have not been exposed to these areas first hand, nor have I done much research about them before this semester. To see the projected figures for slum population is shocking and hard to process. I think it is interesting how these slums are presented in the media, always as a problem that needs to be solved. These are places where people live and work, and homes to almost 1/6th of the world’s population. Don’t get me wrong, I am not romanticizing life in the slums, but I think it is important to understand the complexity of these communities before finding these solutions. I will be studying in Istanbul this summer, and look forward to spend time exploring and attempting to understand these places.



  9. In the United States we have a common held belief that any ambitious person has the ability to improve their own situation through work and financial planning. Assuming this is true, it is by certain standards like a minimum wage and social welfare programs that makes upward mobility possible. While it might not always seems like it, there are certain safety nets in place that that are meant to ensure a basic quality of life that serve as the departure point for self betterment. I have even heard citizens of other countries call the “poor” in the United States “spoiled.”
    While calling the poor “spoiled” might seem absurd to us, it begs the comparison between the poor in the United States and the poor of the rest of the world. As illustrated in the graphics above, the worst of conditions are not found in the US.
    I would speculate that the dichotomy exists in parallel to the fundamental differences in attitude toward the poor. In countries like our own, class standing is much more dynamic where as in places where slums are more common, class standing is much more rigid. In a comparative politics class I once took we were discussing the slum conditions found in large Indian cities and attempts made to better those conditions by western philanthropists. A wealthy westerner invested in the building of modest corbusian concrete towers to improve the housing conditions of an incredibly poor population of the city that would literally sleep in the street. Once the towers were complete, they remained empty and fell into disrepair and contributed further to the urban decay of the city. Furious, the westerner sought out the poor he had meant to house and asked them why they had not moved into the towers. They responded by saying, it “was not [their] place to live indoors.”
    While this story is certainly not telling of the global slum population, it does help to explain a difference in attitude toward the poor in different parts of the world. In parts of the world, poverty is seen as an acceptable aspect of society, or a different population altogether that does not affect the more affluent population. In my mind, this is a dangerous and short sighted attitude. As we discussed in class, a small investment in a slum population often benefits the city as a whole. Basic improvements in shelter and services to a slum population can make it a normalized, and taxable, district in the city. The mutual benefits of such programs are undeniable. Furthermore, the investment on the part of the city seems small and very low risk.
    It would seem that money is not the issue in improving slum conditions, it is the attitude of those in positions of power.
    In addition to the physical aspects of the slum conditions, cities should also make an effort of address the issue at an even more basic, or perhaps more complex, level. instead of constantly planning for the growth of the urban population, some effort should be made to plan the urban population. While the long term implications of such planning are not fully understood, it at least seems worth while to study this system of planning and its implications in the social context.

    Zach Grewe

  10. Conditions like the ones pictures in the blog are a lot more common than I thought. I was aware about slums and their main locations throughout the world but I was unaware of the extent of these informal housing regions. The bottom picture was a shock to me when I realized that this was a map diagramming the urban population percentage living in slum conditions. It is hard to truly grasp the consequences that grow from these crowed settlements.
    Slums are usually “created” when there is a large rural to urban migration. There are too many people and not enough formal housing so people make due with what they can. Usually they live in places that no one wants to live or even go to like landfills, cemeteries, sewage areas, and railroads. They build shanty homes with whatever they can find. Because they don’t legally live there, they don’t get access to clean water, sewer, and government services which results in organized crime stepping in. According to UN-HABITAT, in 2012 33 percent of of urban population lived in slums. Poor housing planning is another cause of slums appearing in cities. Governments to spend enough time and money on creating affordable housing. In some cases the government of a certain country doesn’t have enough money to spare to fix the problem of slums so they do what they can and give them materials so that they can fortify their dwellings. In some cases the government has built high rises and packed a couple hundred of slum dwellers inside to prevent organized crime to continue and to create better protection for women and children. However, no matter how many dwellers the government saves from the slums, they get replaced by more people moving into the city.
    I have been to Shanghai, China in the past year and definitely noticed the difference between upper class, middle class, and the poor. I walked through the old part of the city and noticed that a large number of the population still live in conditions without running water or electricity. It shocked me to see all those people, young and old, who live and survive in the conditions they do yards outside of a shopping mall or nice high rise building. My parents told me that in a lot of cases even if a family has a decent apartment, they invite all their relatives to live with them. A family of 15 would live in a 2 room apartment and it would be completely normal. Because there is such a population problem in China, a lot of families are forced to live in worse conditions. Micro apartments, cage houses, and container houses are three solutions the Chinese have created for themselves.
    I think it is important for the American youth to realize how good they have it. Although you may be poor in America, you can still have a space with running water, electricity, and some sort of security. For those who are homeless, there are a lot of places where they can go to attempt to find help. In places such as Sub-Sharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North Africa, if you are poor there is not much you can do a not a lot of help for you. As a future designer, I hope to help change these conditions and create sustainable housing for slum residents and the like.

  11. Although the mechanisms and stages of evolution are not uniform and present specific features and peculiarities of the various national contexts, urbanization is a universal process and based essentially on the same overall logic. Economic globalization and scientific and technological development, structural changes in productive sectors with the outsourcing of the economy and the shrinking workforce in industry and particularly in agriculture and the consequent sharp and rural exodus, are structural factors associated with urbanization. But the process of urbanization is two-way. If cities and their growth are the result of this process of structural change, its role in development and economic growth emerges in all studies for their competitiveness, innovation and wealth creation.
    However, at the time more than half the world’s population lives in cities, which makes urbanization one of the essential components of modernity, and that cities emerge as social spaces, with greater capacity to meet the expectations of large sections of the population, in terms of living conditions, material and cultural, progressively has affirmed the reality of a city unable to overcome growing poverty and offer the services inherent in a modern society.
    Global, dynamic, rich, poor, multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-religious, center of tensions and innovation center of power and insecurity, the city is one of the defining elements of modernity. Similarly, the process of urbanization is certainly one of the most striking features of the constituent process of globalization.
    Today’s cities have been formatted by the industrial revolution in a standardization process of urban systems, with its boulevards, tall buildings, socially different neighborhoods and ethnic segregation zones. The appearance of public transport networks ensured the integration of different areas of activity, distributing the internal flows according to a space / time bearable. The car contributed to urban sprawl by enabling the emergence of individual neighborhoods.
    Technical progress thus appears associated with the creation of conditions for the emergence and formation of large urban areas, or cities, featuring landscape of modernity. It, however, retain a metropolitan area is not only defined by its size but by a new form of organization of space: What distinguishes this new form of the preceding is not only its size (which is a result of its internal structure), but also the dissemination in space activities, functions and groups, and their interdependence according to a social dynamic largely independent of geographical connection.
    The growth of urban population is not in itself something positive or negative. Historically, cities have played a key role in the modernization and development of societies, showing a greater ability to attract investment and generate employment opportunities, contributing to improving the living conditions of the population. This progress is based on the ability to secure a rate of economic growth needed to meet the increased needs for a rapidly growing population.
    However, the evidence also shows that, despite their intrinsic potential to generate prosperity, wealth created in the cities is not sufficient to eliminate poverty. On the contrary, many cities, particularly in the southern hemisphere that have the most intense rates of population growth, have been enhancers spaces of poverty and social inequality that is associated almost always increased risk of emergence of social instability. The vulnerability of the southern hemisphere megacities are entered in this table.
    The city is a reality in permanent change, influenced by technological innovation and the social and economic dynamics. Heterogeneous in its social composition, the city lives a precarious and fragile balance as all social systems. It is therefore to avoid excessive generalizations in reading and analysis of the urbanization process, and indeed preferable to speak of processes. The challenges and threats that cities and urban areas face are obviously depend on the geographic contexts within which they are situated.

  12. Urban slums of the Global South are the most rapidly growing human environments in the world. There are nearly a billion people living in slums and the number is increasing daily.
    The people in these slums are living in conditions that most of us could not even dream of. The overcrowding alone is outrageous, entire families living is spaces that could be as small as one tiny bedroom. There is no electricity, no sewer, and no water facilities for the people living here. This means hygiene is completely out of reach. Without being able to take proper showers or places to use the bathroom, slums become a breeding ground for diseases. And because the population is so dense everyone is in direct contact with everyone else making the spread of diseases much easier.
    Because most of the people in slums are unskilled laborers their jobs do not pay much. They begin to pick up jobs that could be anything from selling sunglasses they found in the trash to selling fruits and vegetables. These are the more noble of the trades that can happen in slums though, there are always the much worse professions like prostitution and gambling. The sad fact is these people came from an even poorer rural place or are refugees of war in rural areas and they are just fighting to survive.
    Another problem with the overcrowding is that it creates the perfect setting for organized crime. When these gangs provide services to the people of the slums that they otherwise would not have, the people will help hide the gangs. There is also a mistrust of the government authorities like police in slums. This is partly due to the fact that they are trying to push these people out of their homes in the slums.
    Over time, the houses in the slums can go from non-permanent materials like cardboard to somewhat more substantial materials like sheet metal and concrete. The slums become a more permanent place in the city even if they were not meant to be. Some times this process is helped along by the government. They will give the people in the slums the materials to make more substantial housing but they must build it themselves. This is one way the government can make an effort to get rid of the slums that does not actually displace those living in them. Unfortunately the process is slow and there are always more people moving in.

  13. As the rich become richer, the poor become poorer. This is an unfortunate reality in most of the world today. City planners and economic developers strive to better the city’s image and well being, looking at situations with a cost-benefit analysis in mind. If a project or initiative benefits more people than it harms, it will most likely be implemented. Often, the harmed portion is the poor population who cannot afford to better their situations, or even to have an actual home.
    Squatter settlements and informal housing have become ever more a part of large cities where poor laborers and unemployed peoples become trapped in the center of a city. This creates a stark juxtaposition of rich and poor for all to see, just as the picture in the middle row on the right illustrates. This has become quite popular in 3rd world countries, as well as India and Venezuela. As more squatters and poor people populate these settlements, they quickly depreciate the value of the land, and properties around it. Many of these settlements are inhabited by people who cannot afford to pay taxes for regular government services, so the living conditions become quite unfavorable. The top-middle and top-right pictures give a glimpse of the conditions that arise when the city government ceases aide and the squatters are left to help themselves. This leads to increased violence. Increased violence in these areas has also led to militarization in the “no-go” areas. At this point, the city has completely shut out the people of these settlements. Some cities have tried to improve their situations by providing the settlements with materials and loans so people can build homes and shelters that are more sturdy and aesthetically pleasing than their previous housing.
    As less developed countries have gained higher populations, overcrowding has become a large issue. As a small wealthy population comes into these areas to develop and build businesses, the poorer become ever more poor, and are forced to live in these squatter areas, or slums. The middle-left map shows slum populations on Earth. In the last 10 years, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the three regions with the largest slum populations, each saw their slum population increase by approximately 50 million. This is a staggering and frightening statistic that will continue to be an issue until drastic financial changes arise within cities.
    Outside of the center of the city, settlements also develop where middle and upper class citizens do not want to live, and can afford to live elsewhere. These undesired locations are known as areas of disamenity. Areas of disamenity include sloped or hilly areas, low planes or swamps, and similar geographic problem areas. The top left picture illustrates a hilly area of disamenity. The problem with these areas has to do with erosion and the lack of foundation, such as mudslides or floods. Poorer citizens cannot afford to live in more suitable locations, so they take advantage of the cheap land that normal people would not choose to live on. Real estate is all about location. Unfortunately for those less wealthy, they do not have the luxury of choosing their location.

    – Nathaniel Chadwick

  14. Developmentation of slums is a fast approaching world issue which needs to be addressed with all seriousness. With a rapidly growing population in the world these towns with extremely poor living conditions are going to host a multitude of problems, the most serious possibly being a widespread epidemic of some new disease or virus that could devastate a nation.

    Cities such as Rio comprise of a rapidly growing society where the ever constant demand of housing cannot be fulfilled due to financial measures. You come across tin roofed shacks which house complete families. A shock to even think about for most Americans this day and age. A world that we as an urban developed society have no idea what it’s like to be in. In these cities there is an ever constant growing gap between the wealthy and poor. With a depleting middle class, there are bound to be numerous social and economic issues running rampant within the country. Sooner or later there will be a breaking point or revolution, as the governments fail to provide adequate welfare for their people. These people are at true disadvantage in life as they don’t receive the possibility to better themselves as we are so commonly used to here in the States. For us Americans a city that is considered in poor condition would be a place such as Detroit, but for the worlds standards it could be a modern heaven. There’s at least running water, electricity and adequate housing for the masses. As well as many public programs to help those in need of basic life necessities. For parts of the world, poverty is an accepted social norm and perhaps accounts for the reason that there is no determining push to rise out of their current situations. It doesn’t even necessarily require a ton of money nor change, as some of the most simple acts can go a long way in places of poor development. Basic improvements for life necessities travel extremely far in slums. Simply providing a decent place to stay and live, with access to water makes a world of a difference in those communities. Another thought to mention is the absence of urban planning in these areas. As the population generally situated in these slums do not legally have the right nor permission to live where they do, there is a general absence of city provided commodities. It creates this whole atmosphere of people in the same situation building houses right on top of one anothers. Crime runs wild, and organized crimes soon begins to dominate the slum population, as they provide support and services to those in need in exchange for benefits to their work.

    I find it important that we as American’s don’t take what we have been born with for granted and open our eyes to the cruel reality and nature of this world. Seeing what most people live with is horrifying to some, and should be stressed more perhaps in public education. It’s easy to get caught up in the bubble of your everyday life and not think about the people out there struggling to live another day. Having to actually go find water for you and your family is a reality most of us will never have to experience, and hopefully with a basic knowledge of these harsh realities we as humans can attempt to make a better world for all.

    • Good discussion, but it’s worth remembering that a huge portion of Detroit’s population doesn’t have running water or sewer, it was cut off when they couldn’t pay the bills.

  15. This series of photos is an example of rapid urban development and the problems associated with them such as informal housing. Rapid urban development becomes a problem when industrialization does not develop as rapidly. As the population increases, service needs increase that cannot be meant which allows the growth of the informal economy and housing. Informal housing is unregulated, insecure, temporary, and has no services such as connection to electricity, sewer lines, water lines, formal roads, schools, police, fire service, garbage collection, etc. The top left photo of housing on a steep hillside demonstrates that informal housing and slums are built on land considered undesirable, either in flood plains, on steep hills, in garbage dumps or under highways. The houses are constructed of disposable and temporary items such as tarps, corrugated tin, cardboard, sheet plastic and concrete blocks. The people living in these communities are subject to difficulties from organized crime and disease to land slides and floods. The lack of access to services gives way to the rise of organized crime as a quasi – government. The community will pay a “protection fee” or offer community protection to criminals from the police. These areas often become “no – go zones” for policemen, because the risk is too great to enter. In exchange, the quasi – government offers a sort of police force, access to services such as electricity, water and garbage disposal, they also create schools for children and the need for informal jobs such as retailing services, food service, transportation options. They also often create an illegal side of business such as prostitution, sex trade, gambling, and selling booze without a license. Due to their provisions the population is more loyal to the people who help their communities, versus the actual police who show up many times to tear down the homes or drive them out. The middle photo on the right is a good example of the wealth disparity that occurs side by side in some cities. As developers hope to build larger and more expansive buildings they buy up the land in surrounding areas. Some land owners hold out to drive up prices creating a disparity in construction, others refuse to sell or vacate their homes. As the cities are increasing they require more amounts of land, such as the previously undesirable land the slums are built on. The land is cleared of the informal housing which means that they then relocated and started again, never solving the problem. The graphic on the middle left demonstrates slum populations throughout the world in cities that exceed 750,000 million people. The graph of people living in slums from 1990 to 2001 shows an increase of slum population in every area except North Africa, where it has remained the same. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia have seen the largest rise in slum population going from 110 million to 160 million and 190 million to 250 million respectively. Cities in Africa, Asia and Europe have refugee camps of over 100,000 people. That does not include refugees still living in their home countries in camps.

  16. We could say that all global south is composed also third world or mostly sub developed countries and the image reflects this reality. It is not a secret or something that has been hidden from anyone’s eyes. It would simply take us a click on the internet or a view in the news that illustrates that. This scenery has been more seen after the post industrial era, when people usually were looking for better opportunities. Slums or ‘favelas’ were created from theses and some other situations.
    Taking Brazil as an example, most of the southeastern favelas are inhabited by northeast and north people who are looking for better living conditions. The original purpose of migration from northeast to southeast was to escape from drought. This phenomenon generated a great flow of people toward big cities of southeast. Therefore, these big cities were not prepared to humanely hold this amount of people over the years. Since those poor people had not economic condition to afford better housings, they agglomerate in favelas.
    Poor health and lack of basic needs became an increasing problem since these favelas start growing. First because people acquire illegally the land to build their houses and second it usually occur invading private lands. So that the infra structure as water and electricity are not yet implemented and again they are obtained illegally. Once the government is not present to support them and often when it does, it takes a long time. Then the inhabitants face the reality where they will have to figure out a way to better live in those places. Diseases are the first symptoms of these conditions that are brought by rats, bugs and insects. It is usually precarious situations.
    Another problem with the appearing of the favelas is social one. First, it creates a new stereotype which usually is pejorative. In other words, prejudice. Second, it segregates in a lower social class. Third as cited before, absence of the local government to manage these crises. Very often, once these favelas have no infra structure, schools and health care access or even public service are nonexistent. It flow these people to the neighborhood and it causes overcrowding in those places or services. As a result, it causes distress for both the local users and the new neighbors. Although it is against the law and a variety of actions have been taken on this matter, discrimination is still a common behavior.
    Finally, the organized crime has in favelas its operation bases. We could say that it appearing is due to unemployment, human evilness, lack of opportunity or anything else that would try to justify it. The truth is that this is a serious problem that controls the favelas very often abandoned by public administration. Even though it has caused fear, it causes acceptance by the population. Government affording these people has been questionable.

  17. As cities became unbearable to live in all with the money and means to live it did. This left only the poorest of the poor to live in the city. Those who couldn’t be helped with low income or government housing either became homeless squatters or developed slums. Even a number of these low income developments became quite like slums during the 70s. These developments, or projects, always carried a negative stigma in the United States, no matter how kept of nice they were (though the majority of them were left to shambles). As the actually developments built for the lower class citizens crumbled the only means of housing were now the abandoned neighborhoods of the middle class citizens: town homes, apartment building, traveler hotels.
    But as the redevelopment of the city began in the late 80s even this did not last long. Seeing the strong bones and structures of the abandoned upper class cites, several sections of the cites were being taken over by developers. As these now squatter homes and developments were being taken over the people who lived in them were once left to the streets. Money was now being put into making more money from the redeveloped cities, and keeping the homeless out. With no money being put into housing all of the newly homeless mass displacement was occurring throughout the United States. This once again led to the development of slums.
    One of the only efforts put towards the control of slums was to relocate them to the most undesirable places in the city, and far from the new middle class city sections. These new slums, or still projects, are most often located under and around the highway. Sections that did not fit under the highways were placed in the rings of the off ramps, completely isolating it from the rest of the city. The populations of the city slums obviously could not afford the luxury of cars, so they were not only visually cut off from the rest of the city but also physically.
    The biggest slums are generally located in these outskirts of large cities, where there is the largest number of people. Though adjacent to the new thriving cities slums are generally overlooked because of physical barrier built around them. This allows most of the city to be completely unaware of the poor living conditions of a large chunk of the population there.

  18. Colonialism immensely benefitted many Western European nations, but lands that were themselves colonized continue to suffer from the effects of imperialism. Colonizing nations extracted raw materials and used native people for cheap labor. These raw materials were then shipped back to the industrial homeland to be processed for manufacturing. Because manufacturing was not done in the country where the materials were found, there was no need for industrialization. Colonial cities had no factories or other industrial trademarks, but instead consisted primarily of government buildings and stratified residential facilities.

    As colonies gained independence, they discovered that they were ill-equipped to participate in the global economy into which they had been thrust. Former colonies still had the natural resources, though many had been significantly depleted, but they did not have the technology to produce manufactured goods. These freshly independent countries were relegated to selling their raw materials to industrialized nations, which was only marginally better than colonization. New nations now had to finance their own governments, public services, and infrastructure, whereas before these things had been subsidized by the colonial entity. Consequently, post-colonial nations often could only afford the bare minimum, and thus continue to struggle economically.

    Slums are a growing epidemic in the post-colonial era. Populations continue to grow, but economies are stagnant or declining. Poor and developing countries can offer little in the way of welfare or other governmental aid, so their people suffer. Low-income jobs provide for low-income housing, which is often small, unsanitary, and crowded. Furthermore, slums are typically more prone to criminal activity and violence.

    Developing nations struggle to industrialize rapidly due to environmental constraints that developed nations have placed on them. This is a source of growing tension because when industrialized countries were going through that transition, they did not have those sorts of environmental concerns. It wasn’t until after, when the effects of industrialization were seen, that the environment became a factor in public policy. Nations wishing to industrialize now find themselves severely limited because they arrived to the competition after the rules had been made.

    Though technically a post-colonial chapter in history, the world is still just as economically polarized. Imperialism severely stunted the economic growth of these nations. Colonies were simply abandoned after independence with no assistance in nation building. They were deprived of the opportunity for natural development, and instead were strong-armed into a global system that disregarded preexisting culture and society.

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