Gilbert, A (2009) Extreme thinking about slums and slum dwellers: a critique. The SAIS Review of International Affairs , XXIX (1) 35 - 48.
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This article confronts two sets of recent thinking about slums and slum dwellers. The first is broadly too optimistic and believes that the problem of inadequate shelter can somehow be resolved, at least in the not so distant future. The second is too pessimistic and warns of some kind of apocalypse in the near or not so distant future. Neither line of thought is entirely wrong. The growth of festering slums is not inevitable providing that appropriate policies are undertaken. But, in places, the failure to apply appropriate policies will produce awful shelter conditions and probably major threats to health, to welfare and, even, to political stability. The boring truth is that even in a globalising world much and perhaps most of what happens is determined locally. At heart, the paper is a warning against over-generalisation; something to which most journalists are prone, but increasingly academics too. The paper will implicitly contest current lines of fashionable thinking about the proliferation of slums, access to land by the poor, infrastructure policies, social and residential segregation, privatization, property rights and slumlords. The paper will also denounce the recent resuscitation of the pejorative word ‘slum’ with all of its negative connotations for the people who live in low-income areas.
|Title:||Extreme thinking about slums and slum dwellers: a critique|
|Keywords:||Slums Over-generalisation Fashionable thinking|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Geography|
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