slum is a highly populated urban residential area consisting mostly of closely packed, decrepit housing units in a situation of deteriorated or incomplete infrastructure, inhabited primarily by impoverished persons. While slums differ in size and other characteristics, most lack reliable sanitation services, supply of clean water, reliable electricity, law enforcement and other basic services. Slum residences vary from shanty houses to professionally built dwellings which, because of poor-quality construction or provision of basic maintenance, have deteriorated.

The following are characteristics of slums.

  • Slums are associated with poor sanitation due to lack of proper garbage and sewage disposal
  • Many of houses in slums are semi – permanent .
  • Houses in slums are very cheap since they are of poor quality and also due to low income of people living in slums
  • Slums are associated with high crime rate
  • Houses in slums are very close to each other and are unplanned
  • Slums do not have enough supply of water and power due to their location on the edge of cities
  • Many people living in slums are unemployed
  • There is problem of overcrowding in slums

Causes of growth of slums in various cities in the world:

  • Lack of funds for housing schemes
  • Little  or no subsidized housing
  • High rate of rural urban migration which lead to increase of number of people in urban areas beyond their carrying capacity
  • Slums reflect poor control of speed of urbanization by government
  • High rate of unemployment which make people unable to afford good housing
  • Cheap and unplanned land found in the edges of many towns

Negative Effect:

  • . Women and Girls: Women and girls are not afforded time for education, as they are burdened with carrying water long distances and caring for sick family members. And, in slums with poor (or nonexistent) sanitation facilities, going to the toilet at night increases their risk of sexual assault.
  • Health and Child Mortality: Illness and disease spread like wildfire in slums; in the Kibera slum in Kenya, HIV infection is twice the national average, and diarrhea is the leading killer of children under five.
  • Education: Social and cultural barriers deny children from slums the opportunity to receive an education. Many children never receive any formal education and few complete a primary education.
  • Finance: Banks often refuse residents of slums because they are considered ‘unbankable.’  Without the support of a financial institution, slum dwellers must incur interest charges from loan sharks, which serve to further impoverish them.
  • Political and Social Exclusion: Governments often ignore slum dwellers; they are excluded from voting, city development plans, and full protection under the law. Without the rights and voice that other citizens have, people living in slums constantly face political and social exclusion.
  • Disasters: Many slum dwellers in developing countries live in danger of a rise in sea level. Storms, earthquakes, and other disasters affect city slums more seriously than other areas, as substandard houses crumble or poor drainage systems promote prolonged flooding.









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