Shanty Towns Essay Research Paper Why do

Shanty Towns Essay, Research Paper

Why do shanty town develop in third world countries and can be done to cope with rapid shanty town growth and the poverty there in

Shanty towns have always been associated with today?s third world countries and have never been a major part of European history. Although poverty in towns and cities did exist and slums did develop there was never the kind of sprawling shanty towns now evident in most ELDC?s. This is because urbanisation has, and is taking place at a much greater pace in third world cities than has ever been seen before. Urbanisation is taking place so quickly that city authorities can not provide services for the masses of poor who now live in third world cities. The poor have no choice but to build there own housing where and with what they can. So it is rapid urbanisation that causes the development of shanty towns in ELDC?s. This poses the question, why are ELDC?s undergoing such rapid urbanisation when clearly there is by no means enough adequate housing for the population.

It would be wrong to assume that it is large-scale migration that causes such rapid urbanisation, in fact in 1995 rural-urban migration accounted for only 37% of urban growth in ELDC?s. It is in fact that in 1995 natural increase accounted for 63% of urban growth in ELDC?s. In these third world cities the 2nd phase of the demographic transition model is very apparent. With birth rate remaining high due to large numbers of young workers living in the cities but death rates fall because of better access to medical care. These conditions result in a large natural increase with an exploding population and a very young one. However having said that natural increase is the largest cause of urban growth this would not have been the case and the population have not been so large without considerable and ongoing rural-urban migration.

Rural-urban migration is the result of a certain number of push and pull factors which lead people towards the cities in search of a more prosperous life. Mexico City is perhaps the best example of how a primate city can attract large numbers of rural dwellers, 46% of Mexico Cities population live in spontaneous settlements and yet every year rural-urban migration continues at a greater rate than ever before. In Puebla two thirds of the population lack proper housing: 80% have no clean water and 33% have no access to medical care.

In The 60?s and 70?s improved medical services lead to a drop in death rates from 36 per 1000 to 12 per 1000. This combined with a birth rate of 24 per 1000 (one higher than that of Brazil or India) has lead to increased pressure on the land and the farming of ever more marginal land. This in turn increases soil erosion and if as well a ?bad? year for farming is incorporated there simply is by no means enough food in the rural areas to support an ever growing population. These factors combined create the ?push? and this alone provides enough reason to leave the rural areas.

The pull factors are obvious by contrast, 80% of people in Mexico city have better access to medical care, 60% have piped water and 75% have electricity. Also stories of those who have been to Mexico City and have ?made it? filter back to the rural areas and the television broadcast images of perceived opportunities which in reality are fewer and fewer.

?Western concepts of poverty have frequently distinguished the deserving from the undeserving poor. The deserving poor accept the dominant views of society and aspire to better themselves and it is thought these values hope lies for the poor? (Slums of Hope? Peter Lloyd 1979). It is this concept that has inspired various ?self help? schemes throughout the world which now seem to be the way forward. Hand outs are needed for immediate disasters but for long term help a different approach must be taken. This point was simply put in the 1997 Oxfam advert ?Give a man a fish and he will feed himself and his family for a day but give a man a net and teach him to fish and he will feed himself and his family for a lifetime?.

Stokes C applied this principal to spontaneous settlements, ?Slums of hope? and ?Slums of despair? not categorising individual settlements but the attitudes of the people within it. An individuals move to the city demonstrates their strive for self-improvement and success in finding a job and building a home are demonstrations of their achievements. In contrast shanty towns can be a picture of man?s failures, violence, drugs and broken homes can destroy the spirit of an individual leading to vicious circle of social deprivation where self help won?t work.

On the other hand it would be easy to blame the growth of shanty towns and the poverty there in on the people who live in them for not having the ?right attitude? when surely the problem is simply that there are not enough jobs, houses and money to go round.

In 1840?s Britain during the industrial revolution large scale urbanisation lead to poor quality housing and substandard sanitation this saw the death rate rise to 36 per 1000 and life expect antsy fall to only 30. It was the government who intervened with the first public health act in 1846 and the first dwellings act in 1875 which bought the situation under control and allowed the progression of the final stages of the demographic transition model.

Urbanisation in today?s third world is taking place at a much faster rate than ever seen before and the numbers involved are massive, every week 1000 people move to Manila in search of work and nearly all move to a shanty town or slum such as Smokey Mountain built on the cities rubbish dump. Governments in these poor third world countries are virtually powerless to stem the tide of migrants and equally inefficient at housing them. Governments should concentrate on providing safe land and suitable materials for the construction of houses. Communities should be given assistance in building adequate water and sewage systems along with working to provide electricity for the people. On these corner stones people can build their lives as well as their houses. Proper houses could be maintained and passed on down the generations instead of being washed away in the next flood.

Adequate housing will not solve the problems of the worlds poor, just look at Britain?s inner cities who some might say are worse to live in and we are a supposedly a first world country. The way forward is with generous co-operative governments along with the positive attitudes of those who are to be helped. Self help is surely the answer to many of the problems but the wheels must first be set in motion. Slums of hope at least have a chance where as slums of despair are surely doomed.


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