Annotated Bibliography – part 1

Robert Newirth (2005). Shadow Cities: A billion squatters. A new urban world. New York: Routledge.

Robert Newirth’s recount of his travels through four squatter cities in Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Mumbai and Istanbul, brings a new definition of illegal settlements.  Each city has its own history and each squatter has different construction techniques and amenities. Out of the four, Rio de Janeiro seems to have the most developed squatters (Favelas). Most of their homes have water and electricity (illegal, of course) and some of the “legal” businesses have stores within the favelas. Istanbul also has been able to develop well, especially due to the law that allows for construction to happen overnight to be legal, or not turned down. They build their homes in story buildings with retail in the bottom floors. Both of these communities seem to be accepted by the legal city, but of course no one from the legal world would ever enter the illegal boundaries. Nairobi has the settlements with the least “technological” advances, their homes are mud huts with only one opening, a door, and most of their inhabitants are educated people who just simply can’t afford to live legally. Mumbai’s settlements have a similar story to Nairobi, but their homes are built with concrete. All four settlements are different, but they all have in common the fact that the people who live there consider them home.

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