One of the great stories--and academic problems--of recent years has been the explosion of shanty, or squatters', settlements on the urban periphery in the developing world. Shantytowns are thought of as problems in much the same way--and for many of the same reasons--slums were in the late Victorian period.
|Wealth-building in South Africa. View of improved section of Soweto. Cf. picture at bottom of post.|
|A "campamento" in Chile, presumably in the suburbs of Santiago.|
|Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Villa 31, Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|A true slum: shack dwellings in Soweto, South Africa.|
* In Planet of Slums, Mike Davis points out how occupation-and-squatting tactics employed in the initial development of many of these areas has been since superseded by a variety of other informal tactics.
** As opposed to the true slum, where the lack of generation of wealth (equity, often, in U.S. parlance) over the long term is a key economic attribute.
*** Pronounced gay-gee-con-do. "C" has a J sound in Turkish (which goes a long way towards explaining why Azerbaijan has a "c" instead of "j" in Azeri--a language closely related to Turkish). The word is a compound word meaning "built by night" or "built overnight"; the plural is gecekondular, with the addition of a syllable that is spectacularly impossible for East Asians to pronounce (r and l are assonant phonemes in most East Asian tongues, and assonant in a way that is precisely opposite the pronunciation of -lar).
^ The history of South African townships is actually an interesting topic (albeit one for another day). Suffice it to say right now that Soweto actually happens to be one of the wealthier historically-black townships in South Africa; a better example of true slum informal settlement on a large scale is Cape Town's Khayelitsha.