For anyone who takes an interest in the problem of slums, a few basic facts will soon become clear. Firstly, global poverty is moving from rural areas to the cities. For the first time in human history, more than half the world population now lives in urban areas. Secondly, most of the world’s urban population, most of its largest cities and most of its urban poverty is now located in Africa, Asia and Latin America – the so-called developing world. Thirdly, the growth in slums since the 1980s is both formidable and unprecedented (even though urban slums have existed in Europe since the Industrial Revolution), and the number of slum-dwellers worldwide is expected to increase in the decades ahead.
Beyond these facts, there seems to be little awareness about the reality of slums. Thanks to the tireless work of many activists and non-governmental organisations over many decades, the issue of global poverty is now high on the international policy radar – but the issue of slums, which form...
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