This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Urban Informality--People Making Do in Cities

Although the cities of developing countries are absorbing almost all of the population growth these days, and likely for the foreseeable future, this is not an easy process. Few countries have the resources to keep up with urban population growth and the result is what Ananya Roy and Nezar Alsayyad have called urban informality. This theme was also central to Mike Davis's book Planet of Slums. Today's New York Times takes a look at what is happening along these lines in New Delhi.
New Ashok Nagar is a typical crosscut of Indian urban chaos: Dust rises off battered, narrow lanes, tangles of telephone and electricity lines hang between poorly constructed, mismatched brick buildings. Sewage overflows from uncovered channels. And people are in the streets, in the doorways, everywhere.
What is also fairly typical about New Ashok Nagar is that it is not supposed to exist. The district, on the eastern edge of New Delhi, is an “unauthorized colony,” with an estimated 200,000 residents despite its lack of government approvals or full city services. Across New Delhi, as many as 5 million of the city’s 17 million residents live in unauthorized colonies, whether in slums, middle-class areas or even a few illegally constructed enclaves of the rich.
Accompanying the story is a photo slide show that helps illustrate the situation. Although the photos are from New Delhi, you could insert similar photos from almost any large city in the Global South.

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