GEOG Lecture 4 January 29, 2014
Housing: diversity in cities in the global south
Urban Inequality: the growing practice of “slum tourism”
ethical concerns : exploitation ▯ financial ▯the people who show the tours of the
communities etc may not be the people actually living there, were encouraging
people to be poor, social distancing. Representation ▯tourists want to see
authentic poverty and they expect to see certain things.
Benefits ▯tourism of this is because poverty has become a central issue,
Can tourists actually make a distance? Not jus the money but the increased
awareness by inviting them into these communities because they experience the
poverty and it makes them want to take action.
Example: you can go on a fake slum experience
almost 1 billion people live in slum areas in the global south
informal settlements, squatter settlements, favelas, villas, miserias, gecekondu,
bustees, bidonvilles ▯not holistic terms
Millennium Development Goal addressing slums ▯by 2020 achieve improvement
in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers ▯tricky to define and to measure
The proportion of slum dwellers have gone down and there have been
improvements BUT because of the population growth and migration, the actual
number of people living in these places has gone up
Households that lack either improved water, improved sanitation, sufficient living areas
(more than 3 people per room) and durable housing
What about social dimensions? Schools, hospitals, banks? If it doesn’t have these things
it should still be considered low quality.
“slums of hope” ▯ quality is improving, integration and sense of development improving
makes it seem like less of a problem vs “slums of despair” d ▯ eclining neighborhoods,
degeneration, things are bad and theyre getting worse, not absolute definitions, but it’s the
context of the community, is it headed downward? Hard to measure.
Regional overviews, most extreme slums
Data limitations ▯1980s 5% poverty rate in Bangkok but 25% were considered slum
Why do people live in slums? Theyre trying to optimize housing cost, tenure and security,
quality of shelter, journey to work, and sometimespersonal safety. Trade offs, they have
to take all of these things into consideration.
De facto tenure; de facto authority figures
Slum typologies: context specific. Locations within urban environments
urban periphery (edge of the town) ▯mega cities, new land uses have to happen
on the edge because the entire middle is already taken up. About 2/3 of slums are
of this type
innercity slum ▯ pieces of land not developed yet, or abandoned factories etc is
about 1/3 of slums
unoccupied periurban tracts of land
publically owned land *** somewhat a political statement
unoccupied marginal land in the city core ▯train tracks, highways, river banks
Low income mircoapartments in apartment basements and air raid tunnels ▯little access
to sanitation, small rooms, no windows, no decorations.
Living in well designed building basemengts etc, engineered to be of good quality and
able to withstand disasters etc.
Gulyani and Bassett 2010:
Diversity within slums how do we make comparisons?
idea of a living conditions diamond c ▯ onsists of 4 criteria: infrastructure, the unit
itself, neighborhood and the tenure.
On each metric they see how the space meets the criteria and the larger the shaded
area within the better the housing is.
physical conditions ▯deteriorated, patchwork urban forma unplanned, unaesthetic
where theyre built in poor places, hazardous locations, poor infrastructure,
environmental issues ▯can be due to placement, or lack of infrastructure.
Social problems: overcrowding (space per person), diseases connected to density
and environment, crime and vice (prostitution, gambling etc ▯only sometimes),
political dissent (people have a bone to pick with the government ▯hard to track
people, violence, good hiding places)
Almost 10 million people were evicted from slums in a 5 year period.
Difficult to invest in the community, typically very stressful
Slums are the first stopping point for immigrants ▯slums of hope, social mobility,
stepping stone for people to move their way up through society
Slums keep the wheels of the city turning ▯often workers living in these areas,
many times doing jobs people don’t want but need to be done
Slums are melting pots ▯ vibrant mixing of cultures because poverty is an
Potential for levels of solidarity ▯when you don’t have a lot of financial
resources, people rely on one another and build community
Low income housing crises:
what factors impede construction in cities in the global south?
People themselves may not be investing because theyre afraid theyre going to get
kicked out. Policy limitations, lack of government capacity or will to supply social housing,
virtually no public housing provision
Financing by the public and private, private can do some development but again
theyre always profit driven and these are low income people. We are increasingly
seeing people financing their housing themselves. Squatting isn’t free and can be
relatively high cost for things like infrastructure ▯if you don’t have piped water
you may be paying more by having to buy bottled
Planning and zoning ▯no one does it, or the ways cities have been designed to be
built have not included these things and potentially not allowing people to do
certain things because of these “laws” ▯ can be helpful if they did it because theyre
preparing for growth, they would set out guidelines and provide some services to
enable future community development
Urban growth in the global s