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Planet of Slums by Mike Davis:

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Jessica Littman

on 27 February 2014

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Transcript of Planet of Slums by Mike Davis:

Planet of Slums by Mike Davis:
Chapters 1, 5 & 7

Chapter 1: The Urban Climacteric
Megacities and Desakotas
megacity: population of 8 million or more
hypercity: population of 20 million or more
megalopolis: cities that grow to include surrounding areas that were previously suburban or rural
desakotas: the blending of urban and rural societies where megalopolises spill into rural spaces
most urban expansion is occurring in the Third World
people are not just moving to cities, they are being absorbed into them as they expand
Back to Dickens
Urbanization is occurring even where industrial businesses and infrastructures are failing
Chapter 5: Haussmann in the Tropics
Removing "Human Encumberments"
Local governments frequently force people out of slums
The City Beautiful
Urban beautification is often the excuse for governments to clear slums
Examples: Manila, Santo Domingo, Burma
Often occurs in preparation for international events like the Olympics
Criminalizing the Slum
Governments clear out slums because of perceived and actual political activism
Examples: Argentina, Egypt
Colonial laws still used to justify evictions from slums
Rich residents of Third World cities build gated communities to avoid interaction with the urban poor
Chapter 7: SAPing the Third World
Urban Poverty's Big Bang
Structural adjustment plans (SAPs) force Third World governments to spend on debt repayment instead of social services
The urban poor suffer the most from this
Adjustment from Below
The economic burdens caused by structural adjustment had to be carried mainly by women, whose labor was often ignored
The effects of structural adjustment were so harmful that poor urban communities resorted to food riots
The Utopian Decade?
Neoliberal theorists thought the negative effects of SAP during the 1980s would reverse by the 1990s...but this did not happen
Success Stories?
China and India are considered "success stories" of globalization
But urban wealth inequality has risen in both countries
Discussion Questions
How do GDP figures obscure the realities of urbanization in countries like China and India?
Davis focuses on the negatives of urbanization. Do you think there are any positive effects of urban growth?
Full transcript