Are there slums in Uruguay
Between slum and boomtown - How slums become "arrival cities"
The slum as an opportunity
There are many names for slums around the world: Slum, Favela, Bidonville, Ashwaiyyat or Shantytown. The author Doug Saunders calls them "Arrival Cities". He optimistically describes them as places of departure. A third of humanity is currently migrating from the countryside to the cities. Doug Saunders sees this positively, because for him urbanization means: progress.
City within the city
12 million people live in slums in Brazil. That is almost as many inhabitants as in the neighboring countries Bolivia and Uruguay combined. The so-called favelas are not naturally outside the metropolises, but - as here in Rio de Janeiro - often in the middle. On the mountain slopes next to trendy neighborhoods and rich residential areas.
Just get out of the village
The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are known for violence and drug trafficking. And yet many people would rather live here than in the village. Because in the city the birth rates are lower and the educational opportunities are better. Social advancement can only take place in metropolitan areas, says author and journalist Doug Saunders. He doesn't see slums as the end of the line, but as an opportunity for a better life.
The city of arrival
Those who are new to the city from the countryside usually move to a cheap residential area. Doug Saunders does not see the residents as failures. Rather, they could finally begin to actively shape their future here. In 2011 the British-Canadian author caused a stir internationally with his book "Arrival City". Never before has life in the slum been interpreted in such a radically positive way.
First steps towards a better life
Most migrants take part in economic life for the first time in the cities of arrival. Many find work in the city center, others open small shops - and thus begin to climb the social ladder. In fact, the economy is booming in many slums. There are internet and cell phone providers, a real estate market and often the opportunity to take out loans.
Just one station?
The migrants are ambitious and highly motivated, writes Saunders. Whoever manages social advancement, leave the city of arrival and move on to the city. That can create a paradox, says Saunders. The more residents make the jump, the poorer the slum appears at first glance. The successful move away, newcomers shape the picture.
Life is not nice
With all optimism: The living conditions in the slums are usually catastrophic, as here in the South African township of Diepsloot. Usually there is no electricity or running water, no sewage system and no waste disposal. The situation is initially only improving for the family members who have stayed in the village and are regularly sent money from the city.
Not good, but better
What do the residents of the arrival cities think despite the adverse living conditions in the slum? Doug Saunders writes: "If you ask them: Why don't you go back to the country? They answer: If things go bad for me in the slum, I have to send my children out to sell cigarettes. But when things go bad in the country runs, my children are starving. "
Research around the world
Doug Saunders has visited 25 slums on five continents. When he writes about the greatest migration of peoples, the migration of people to the cities, he renounces the usual doom scenarios. Rural life is the most common cause of death today, it means malnutrition, high child mortality and shortened life expectancy.
The arrival cities should be densely built up so that close social networks can develop quickly. It is important that the migrants are allowed to acquire property - and that they receive permanent right to stay or a (dual) citizenship. They must be given the opportunity to work. Otherwise there will be social hot spots. Doug Saunders says: Success can be planned.
Education! Education! Education!
By the end of the 21st century, three quarters of all people will live in cities. The slums need "schools to which everyone wants to send their children, where migrant children have to compete with middle-class children," writes Saunders. The move to the city is primarily intended to give the children a better future. Many parents accept the living conditions for this.
The slum is getting hip
But: Not only the poorest of the poor live in slums. Here, too, a middle class develops over time. Sometimes the neighborhoods even become a magnet for people from the overpopulated city. This is how trendy neighborhoods in New York and London came into being. When well managed, the cities of arrival also welcome migrants from the city center.
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