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Planet of Slums

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Planet of Slums Cover

ISBN13: 9781844670222
ISBN10: 1844670228
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world.

From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, even economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy. He argues that the rise of this informal urban proletariat is a wholly original development unforeseen by either classical Marxism or neoliberal theory.

Are the great slums, as a terrified Victorian middle class once imagined, volcanoes waiting to erupt? Davis provides the first global overview of the diverse religious, ethnic, and political movements competing for the souls of the new urban poor. He surveys Hindu fundamentalism in Bombay, the Islamist resistance in Casablanca and Cairo, street gangs in Cape Town and San Salvador, Pentecostalism in Kinshasa and Rio de Janeiro, and revolutionary populism in Caracas and La Paz.Planet of Slums ends with a provocative meditation on the "war on terrorism" as an incipient world war between the American empire and the new slum poor.

Review:

"Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet's increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: 'The demonizing rhetorics of the various international 'wars' on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion.' Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of 'megaslums' (informally, 'stinking mountains of shit' or, formally, 'when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery') since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers' futures." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A celebrated urban theorist lifts the lid on the effects of a global explosion of disenfranchised slum-dwellers. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world.

Synopsis:

Celebrated urban theorist lifts the lid on the effects of a global explosion of disenfranchised slum-dwellers.

About the Author

Mike Davis is the author of several books including City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

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Dhanuusha, September 21, 2006 (view all comments by Dhanuusha)
Slum dwellers?marginalized labourers, superfluous civil servants and ex-peasants?are still incorporated into the global economy in numerous ways, many of them working as informal wage workers or self-employed entrepreneurs, with no adequate health or social security coverage. Slums have mushroomed because of the Third World?s inclusion into the global economy. Cheap food imports from the First World have destroyed local agriculture forcing millions to flee the countryside. Their existence is the true ?symptom? of slogans like ?Development,? ?Modernization,? ?Poverty? and ?World Market.? Slum dwellers are the counter-class to the other newly emerging class, the so-called ?symbolic class? (managers, journalists, academics, artists, etc.) that is also uprooted and that perceives itself as directly universal.The present Colombo city infrastructure in Sri Lanka, though used by a mammoth population, was created over 100 years ago for a city population of 35,000. Recent surveys reveal that 54% of the Colombo city population lives in huts, slums or unauthorised structures which is unargubaly the majority of the its population. According to statistics, some 1,000 acres of state land and other reserves are being occupied by these people ? and that means they are illegally occupied. Out of the estimated 1,000 acres, 71% have been taken over by those living in shanties and huts. Colombo has some 63 slum areas which reflect a massive housing problem. This is empirically evident in Colombo as 54% of its population live in slums and they only occupy 7% of the total area of Colombo District. Further more, 99% of the population in Colombo North live in tents, slums ghettoes. This proves the fact that this is not a marginal phenomenon, but rather the fast growth of a population outside state control, living in conditions half outside the law, in terrible need of the minimal forms of self-organization.

Slums came into existence with the expansion of export trade associated with the rubber boom after World War II, especially during the Korean War in 1953. The character of Colombo changed in keeping with the new economic demands for warehousing, workers? housing and road networks. Colombo became more congested and the city elite moved out into more spacious residential areas in the suburbs. The central part of Colombo became characterized by predominantly low-income residential areas, mainly slums, and the Northern and Eastern parts contained most of the shanties. Slums and shanties are the most common types, with slums on the high lands of the old city that consist of the oldest low-income housing ? mostly from the 1930s and with a definite legal occupancy status. Shanties along canal banks and road reserves have emerged since independence in 1948 onwards, and consist of unauthorized and improvised shelter without legal rights of occupancy of the land and structures.

Although there are no formal definitions as such, four categories are recognized:

Slums: these are old deteriorating tenements or subdivided derelict houses. The slum tenements, built mostly of permanent materials, are very often single roomed and compactly arranged in back-to-back rows. The occupants have a definite legal status of occupancy.


Shanties: these consist of improvised and unauthorized shelter, constructed by the urban squatters on state or privately owned land, without any legal rights of occupancy. The areas are badly serviced and very often unsanitary.

Un-serviced semi-urban neighbourhoods: these are badly serviced residential areas in the suburban areas of Colombo and secondary towns. One difference from the squatter areas is that residents of these settlements have definite legal titles, and the sizes of the plots are relatively larger than the shanties.

Labour lines: these are derelict housing areas that belong to the local authority or government agencies, and that are occupied by temporary or casual labourers. These settlements are in an unsanitary and derelict condition due to lack of maintenance over a long period of time.

Colombo North has slums made up of thousands of urban poor, rural people who came to the city looking for work. Many of them were displaced by the war. It also counts for a large number of drug addicts, alcoholics, and petty criminals. It is the type of neglected community where it is not uncommon to have one latrine for 240 families. In Colombo South, the beach squatter settlements are about 30 years old. There were settled by people looking for work or because they lacked housing. They also have their criminal elements and drug addicts solely due to the economic and social oppression.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781844670222
Author:
Davis, Mike
Publisher:
Verso
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
Sociology - Urban
Subject:
Public Policy - City Planning & Urban Dev.
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Politics-Political Science
Copyright:
Publication Date:
March 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
228
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.9 x 1 in 0.91 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » City Specific
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General

Planet of Slums Used Hardcover
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$12.95 In Stock
Product details 228 pages Verso - English 9781844670222 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet's increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: 'The demonizing rhetorics of the various international 'wars' on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion.' Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of 'megaslums' (informally, 'stinking mountains of shit' or, formally, 'when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery') since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers' futures." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A celebrated urban theorist lifts the lid on the effects of a global explosion of disenfranchised slum-dwellers. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world.
"Synopsis" by , Celebrated urban theorist lifts the lid on the effects of a global explosion of disenfranchised slum-dwellers.
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