SLUMS/ TRICKY FACTS
If the apathy that has pervaded and impeded slum policy to date is to be overcome, many of the misconceptions and myths about slums and slum dwellers must also be shattered. For example, did you know that…?
- in the 19th century, industrialisation in Europe and America led to rapid urbanisation. The population of London went from about 800,000 in 1800 to over 6.5 million in 1900; during the same period, Paris grew from one-half to over 3 million; and by 1900 New York’s population had swelled to 4.2 million. This explosion meant that the poor lived in dark, airless and unsanitary tenements, often without windows, where they were regularly exploited by rapacious landlords and politicians;
- in India, more than 41% of Kolkata’s slum households have lived in slums for more than 30 years; more than 70% of the households have lived in slums for more than 15 years; 16% of the population has been living in slums for 6 to 15 years; new entrants into slums, with duration of stay of up to 5 years, constitute only 4% of the slum population;
- all slum households in Bangkok have a colour television; the average number of TVs per household is 1.6; almost all of the households have a refrigerator; 2/3 of the households have a washing machine and 1.5 cell phones;
- while most slum dwellers are dependent on the informal sector for their livelihoods, slum populations in many parts of the world (for example in Pune, India and Ibadan, Nigeria) quite often include university lecturers, university students, government civil servants and formal private sector employees;
- slums are also places in which the vibrant mixing of different cultures has frequently resulted in new forms of artistic expression, including some of the major musical and dance movements of the twentieth century, such as jazz, blues, rock and roll, reggae, funk, hiphop, soukuss, breakdance, fado and flamenco.