Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Shanty Towns

Shanty town (aka. squatter settlement) is a slum settlement (sometimes illegal or unauthorised) of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made of scrap materials such as packing boxes, wooden planks, corrugated iron and plastic sheeting.

Why are they formed? Where are they found? 
When people from poor rural areas migrate to LIC cities they find that there are no houses for them, so they have to build homes on land available to them. The land is usually in areas of no economic value, on the edge of town, along main roads or on steep slopes. They often build on land they do not own, or on land that they do not have permission to build on.

Many areas on which shanty towns are built are unsafe:
  • prone to flooding
  • prone to landslides (steep slopes--this is why it is unoccupied, people cannot build tall buildings on steep slopes..)
  • heavily polluted location
Often, they lack basic services such as electricity, water and sewerage. (Sewerage: the provision of drainage by sewers) Sometimes raw sewage runs across the streets and contaminates the area, leading to a wide variety of diseases. It is an unhealthy place to live in. However, for many people living in a shanty town is better than the life they had in rural areas. They prefer to live there and work in the informal economy, as it offers greater opportunities.  

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