If the readers of Business Insider ever want to see a slum, they will observe it through a powerful telescope.
What percentage of these types of articles rely solely on photos from Google Earth or Street View? My zip code was recently profiled on Business Insider as "America's Cheapest" (I'm pretty sure it isn't). The reporter offered this justifiction for her Street View drive-by.
We might start by studying longstanding patterns and practices of housing adaptation in Southern California — a part of the country with no shortage of upscale real estate but with a dearth of affordable options.  In Los Angeles it's not unusual to find recent immigrants, young people, the elderly, poor families and sometimes even professional-class single people doubling up with relatives, or occupying illegal units such as converted garages, or sometimes even living in suburban houses converted into single-room-occupancy dwellings. City officials have estimated that in the late 1990s there were 50,000 to 100,000 people housed in illegally converted garages throughout Los Angeles County, with even more in other forms of substandard housing.  Informal units also serve as businesses, e.g., chiropractors' offices, seamstresses' workshops, musicians' instrument shops and schools, etc.
One Billion Slum Dwellers
One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai. -- Paula Nelson (55 photos total)
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