Planet of Slums
Slums refer to informal settlements that develop within cities due to rapid urban expansion. These settlements are characterized by lack of basic infrastructure like roads and drainage systems, poor housing and large populations of people living there. With the rapid expansion of urban areas, many people are moving from the rural areas to the urban areas in search of jobs and the promise of a better future. However, most of the time this does not happen and these people end up in slums where they live in poverty due to unemployment or low income.
2014 Statistics show that 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and about 863 million live in slum areas. The projections are that by 2050 66 percent will live in urban areas and with this growth, it implies continued growth of slums. This reality is scary and it leads to the question of what needs to be done to change the situation on the ground. Governments need to come up with policies that can manage and maintain this exponential growth experienced.
With the potential for growth of urban areas, countries should undertake in proper urban planning that accommodates slum areas and also ensure decentralization of functions such that they are not only accessible in urban areas but also rural areas are developed thus discouraging people from moving to urban areas but also able to sustain their lives while still living in the rural areas.
However, can the situation in the current slum areas be changed? Slum upgrading projects can be undertaken to improve the living situation in the informal settlements through Improving the infrastructure like roads, drainage, providing water and sewer systems, affordable educations systems, hospitals and also economic empowerment whereby the slum dwellers can make an earning to meet their daily needs. Successful implementation of these projects are influenced by many factors stemming from the political will of the government to ensure success of the projects to the economic capabilities to enact the project to proper project plan and implementation strategies and good communication between the stakeholders.Therefore, important steps need to be taken to ensure that our planet does not become a planet of slums but with proper administration and planning, countries can prepare for and handle the large population and urban growth that is being experienced and also upgrade the available slum areas and incorporating them in the city plans.