Slums and Warm Climates

By lara

My mother is from Colombia, South America so visiting my family every few years I was always familiar of the concept of tropical urban slums which often seemed like miles and miles of garbage, even Barranquilla’s “slum town” which stretched from the inner suburbs out to the airport seemed walled off from the rest of the world by walls of people’s refuse. The idea of the “slum” or the “sprawling shantytown” was something I had never encountered in the states, and is still a pattern of settlement that I sometimes feel seems exist in a unique way to countries with warmer climates, on that scale of horizontal sprawl. The geological implictions of this are interesting- building makeshift housing may be easier when there is not the issue of cold, as there is less need to be inside or to build material heavy structures for protection against the cold, but heavy rains, and spread of disease are more damaging in warmer and tropical climates which adds to the continuous rebuilding and restructuring of slum neighborhoods.

Not to over simplify the issue of urban sprawl and the settlement of urban slums which have been heavily studied and are an incredibly complicated mix of socio, economic, cultural, and geographic factors. It just always seemed to me interesting the way poverty and lack of resource spreads differently across climates.


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