Slums of the World get new Housing – or do they?

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Slums of the World getting new housing is not what you think. In our opinion, it is not a good thing. Not these houses anyway.

Slums of the World need overhauling.

Mankind packed into very bad living conditions is no laughing matter.  If you’ve ever been to a slum you will know the smells and sounds are, well obnoxious. Diseases are rampant and violence is pervasive. Today, one of our partners came across an article that touts a “New” kind of house. Really?  Let’s let the pictures do the taking here for a moment.

So what do we have here (at right)?  A University (Stellenbosch in South Africa) project touting they have the solution to the housing condition in the slums of the world.  Which, if you have spent any time at all looking into the condition you will know affects 1.5 BILLION people very negatively.  The house they came up with on the right is stated as being “improved”. Is that so?

New Housing in South Africa

My untrained eyes look at the slum picture above and then scan the new house on the right and what do I see?  The same low-quality tin shack deemed to be acceptable to those living in the slums of the world. Truth be told some University Professor, who might be well intended isn’t really offering anything new.

The original article states, “Millions of people are unable to afford to move out of  slums  and shanty towns in sub-Saharan Africa but the development of the iShack is intended to lift their living standards…and the United Nations estimates that 62 percent of the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums.” The article went on to say that, “shacks are becoming the new norm.”

With such a large number of families living in the slums of the world, it is no wonder that we just keep turning out the same old unimaginative solutions.  Slums of the world are such a huge problem in the world today and yet so little is being done to really impact the problem in a significant way. The slums, especially those with such high population densities breed all sorts of negative impacts. It will take a major political desire to do something about the situation but the world needs to know NOW that the conditions are not good.

At Shelter The World we have chosen to highlight both positive examples and negative examples of work being done to impact the living conditions of billions of people who live in the slums of the world, especially Slums in Third World Countries. One of our pet peeves is the use of corrugated tin as housing. This example is not the first, nor will it be the last on tin shacks. We believe that these living conditions are one of the largest problems in the world today and as with any problem, when it gets large enough it will cause social and civil unrest. The numbers are already staggering (at 1.5 billion people) and the positive impact of improved housing is well documented.

However; we do not advocate just giving people new houses. This isn’t the solution.  We believe the real problem is with economics and politics and this is where we are championing the cause to reduce the burdens of living in the slums of the world.

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