Monday, May 27, 2013

A future with shanties

Original picture: Andrés Dapena Boixareu

In Brazil they are called favelas; in Argentina, villas miseria; in Chile, callampas; in Uruguay, cantegriles; in the Dominican Republic, barrios; in Venezuela, ranchos; in Guatemala, asentamientos; in Mexico, ciudades perdidas; in Ecuador and Colombia, invasiones; in Paraguay, chacaritas; in Peru, pueblos jóvenes; in Costa Rica, tugurios; in Morocco and other former French colonies, bidonville; in some former British colonies, slums; in Turkey, gecekondus; in Angola, musseques; in India, jhugi or bustee; in Pakistan, kachi abadi; in Sri Lanka, mudduku; in the South African Republic, imijondolo; in Lithuania, Lušnynai; in Serbia, Kartonsko naselje; in Portugal, bairro de lata; in Spain, chabola, which comes from the Basque language; and in Catalan we call it barraquisme.
That’s what urban planners call precarious settlement, informal settlement, marginal district or misery zone: a type of marginal settlement around most cities in the world, with poor health conditions, no basic services and populated by socially-excluded citizens. 
The latest report of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) provides some facts and figures about these settlements and about their forthcoming future. It’s worth reading!

Some bits and pieces from this report:
1.- Cities are gaining more and more inhabitants, not only in terms of absolute population but also if compared to rural areas. Out of the 229 surveyed countries, 88% increased their urban population in ten years. Moreover, most of the 28 countries which reduced their urban population, this reduction is less than 1% and none of them are large countries (except for the Russian Federation, which reduced its urban population in 0.2%). Most countries reducing their urban population are small islands in the Caribbean or Oceania, some small European countries like Liechtenstein, Latvia, Andorra and Macedonia, or some republics of Central Asia, like Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. And the most shocking figure: all 229 surveyed countries, including these 28, are expected to increase their urban population by 2020 and 2030.
2.- Among urban population, the number of citizens living in shanties is shooting up. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s area with major shanty town problem, 61.7% urban people live in shanties with very poor health conditions. In South-East Asia, 35%; in Latin America and the Caribbean, 23.5%. In some other countries, figures are even more devastating: in Central African Republic, 95.9% of urban population is living in shanties; in Chad, 89.3%; and in Mozambique, 80.5%.
3.- In 2001 there were 921 million people living in shanties. Four years later, there were more than one thousand million people: one of every three urban inhabitants of our planet. And figures are still growing: the population of shanties is estimated to grow 2.2% every year, in about 25 more million people. By the year 2030 or 2040 there will be two thousand million people living in shanties, which is about 50% of the world’s urban population.

Sources:
  1. Virtual exhibition Shanties, the Informal City about shanties in Barcelona: http://www.barraques.cat/en/
  2. Report State of the world’s cities 2012-2013: http://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=3387
  3. Data of section 3 are taken from Rafael POCH-de-FELIU’s book La actualidad de China, un mundo en crisis, una sociedad en gestación, published by Crítica (no English version available): http://ed-critica.claudator.com/libro/la-actualidad-de-china-978847423316


      
     
     
     

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