Upon surfing the news circuit, I stumbled upon a really interesting article on CNN. It’s about the positive sides of city slums, favelas, shantytowns, or whatever they’re called in different parts of the world. It’s really, really interesting, and, honestly, I didn’t have a clue about this. Do read it all the way to the end, if you can find the time. Here’s a little appetizer:
Historically, Brand said, squatter cities have always been areas of economic expansion; within them there is virtually no unemployment, and their inhabitants are constantly striving to lift themselves out of destitution, he said.
“[Slums] are generating wealth the way cities have always done,” Brand said.
In India, almost 20 percent of the GDP comes from Mumbai, where half the city’s 12 million residents live in slums, Brand said. And even though many slum dwellers work in the informal economy, the official economy benefts as workers accumulate income and can afford to buy more goods and services outside their shadow neighborhoods.
In the article an organization is mentioned, which I’ve never heard of either. The Long Now Foundation. It’s based in California (where else?) and its focus is on long term planning instead of the usual way politicians and administrators do it, till the end of their term… The website looks incredibly interesting and I’ve added the blog to my rounds. Which means you might here more about it at a later stage ;-)
Furthermore, the article mentions a journalist, Robert Neuwirth, who has lived in different shantytowns for two years and wrote a book about it. Here’s a link to a talk he gave to the TED conference, here’s to his blog and here’s to buy the book…
Photo googled and found here.