slums of despair or slums of hope

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Slums of despair or slums of hope?
Slums of despair Slums of hope
High unemployment and underemployment Some formal employment and much informal
Weak family and friendship structures Strong family and friendship structures
Poorly built housing and little on-going Housing improvement through individual and
improvement group action
Poor water supply and sewerage Water supply being improved with help from
authorities; sewage usually stored in septic
tanks and removed by tanker
Easy spread of infections and disease Infections and disease under control
Illegal hook ups to the electricity mains, or no Illegal hook ups to the mains electricity, slowly
supply at all being replaced by legal connections
Widespread crime, prostitution, drug dealing Crime, prostitution and drug dealing not
and other social problems due to poverty and widespread because of strong social structures
lack of police control and cooperation between the community and
the police
Settlement appears untidy and poorly Settlement appears tidy and fairly well
organised; much litter, rubbish and piles of junk organised; piles of junk around houses are the
around houses raw materials of earning a living (recycling
activities); much evidence of informal economy
City authorities opposed to settlement; threats Cooperation between the settlement and the
to bulldoze houses make squatters insecure authorities, which do their best to provide an
and cause the settlement to deteriorate infrastructure of the roads, bus services,
education, healthcare , electricity and water
Squatter settlements are often seen as places of deprivation ­ slums of despair. It is true that in
many cases the physical, economic and social conditions are very poor. However, it is all a matter
of perception. Other people see them as `slums of hope' in reality, most settlements have some
features of both hope and despair


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