Is Our Urban Realm is Turning into a Big Slum?

We’re not just talking about poor people living in classic shantytowns on the peripheries of Global South cities, but living on rooftops, in filled-in airwells in the centre of buildings; in cages of wire netting erected to protect their few belongings; on pavements; in former graveyards (>1 million people in Cairo); on swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, rubbish mountains, chemical dumps, railroad sidings, desert fringes……

    –The new urban precariat (as opposed to proletariat)

According to UN,there will be, nearly 5 billion urban dwellers in year 2030 .sixty percent people will live in cities .Biggest increase will be in Asia and Africa – poorest, least-urbanised, least able to cope .

By 2017: nearly 500 cities ofwill be of million plus population.

By 2025, 8 cities 20m+ – Tokyo, Mumbai, Manila, Dhaka, São Paulo, Mexico City, New York, and Kolkata.

In 2005 the number of slum dwellers worldwide exceeded 1 billion (one third of the world’s urban population).

In Ethiopia, Chad, Afghanistan and Nepal: 90%+ of urban dwellers live in slums.

78.2% of the urban population of the world’s least developed countries live in slums.

Mumbai is the global capital of slum dwelling (between 10 and 12 million people, with 1 million living on pavements)

The poorest urban populations are in Luanda, Maputo and Kinshasa, where child mortality (under 5) exceeds 320 per 1000.

One quarter of the world’s urban population live in absolute poverty (“a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.” WHO, 1995).

Unless massive action is taken, by 2030 there will be 2 billion slum dwellers worldwide, and half of all urban dwellers will live in poverty.

Today we are seeing dramatic urban growth without economic growth – no investment, no jobs, shrinking public sector, soaring cost of land/living. Why are people moving?

People move for the opportunity, if not the job. There is always somebody, 1 in 100, 1 in 1000, 1 in 10,000, who has made it. The alternative is subsistence agriculture – which runs the risk of starvation, or eviction by commercial agriculture/mechanization, or devastation by climate change.

Other factors: people are displaced by wars and become refugees; ‘natural’ disasters.

It is Almost impossible now to tell where city ends and the countryside begins – in many parts of the Global South, people no longer have to move to the city; the city is growing so fast it moves to them.

Echoes Henri Lefebvre (1968) in La Revolution Urbaine, argued that urbanization had supplanted industrialization as the major vehicle of capital accumulation throughout the world, to the point where we could one day see “the complete urbanization of the world.”

Natural Increase is Becoming an ever-increasing factor in slum expansion (now surpassing rural to urban migration).

Rate of growth of births over deaths in slums is increasing the population by tens of thousands of people every year.

P.S-> These points are collected in my research for urban realm. I am putting them here for you all to think and ponder.


About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
This entry was posted in opinions, Urban Studies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Is Our Urban Realm is Turning into a Big Slum?

  1. So what you are saying that it is the possibility of betterment and not the actual returns that motivate people to migrate to cities. That, combined with a disenchantment with agriculture (which is way too hard) perhaps,in the Indian context? Some interesting questions further on what kind of jobs can cities create that will give opportunities to rural youth…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on ramblinginthecity and commented:
    Despite poor habitats in cities, people are moving to urban areas for ‘opportunity’ without seeing real benefits. Such is the disillusionment with rural (read agricultural) lives! How will this play out?

    Liked by 1 person

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