Another Word for Slums

Living Conditions of Slum Dwellers

Because the World Urban Campaign has focused on improving the living conditions of slum dwellers through UN Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), it has published five distinct living conditions present in nearly all slums, along with much more specific representations of those conditions. I believe their observations are worthy of our perusal and that they may also unveil our eyes to the plight of the people who live in the areas called slums.

Lack of access to an improved drinking water source and sanitation facilities

  • Improved facilities include flush/pour-flush toilets or latrines connected to a sewer, septic tank, or pit; ventilated improved pit latrines; pit latrines with a slab or platform which covers the pit entirely; and composting toilets/latrines.
  • Unimproved facilities include public or shared facilities of an otherwise acceptable type; flush/pour-flush toilets or latrines which discharge directly into an open sewer or ditch; pit latrines without a slab; bucket latrines; hanging toilets or latrines which directly discharge into water bodies or into the open; and the practice of open defecation in the bush, field or bodies of water.

Durability of housing

A house is considered ‘durable’ if

  • it is built on a non-hazardous location and
  • has a structure permanent and adequate enough to protect its inhabitants from the extremes of climatic conditions, such as rain, heat, cold and humidity.

The building materials in the roof, walls and/or the floor measure the durability of the housing.

Insufficient living area

A house is considered to provide a sufficient living area for the household members of not more than three people share the same habitable room that is a minimum of four square meters in area.

Insecure tenure

Secure tenure is the right of all individuals and groups to effective protection by the State against arbitrary, unlawful evictions. People have secure tenure when there is evidence of documentation that can be used as proof of secure tenure status or when there is either de facto or perceived protection against forced evictions.”1

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