Report: Latin American gov'ts fail to tackle sprawling urban slums
BOGOTAAug 18, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Aug 18, 2015 12:00 am
Latin America's booming urban slums look set to continue their rapid expansion as government housing policies fail to tackle an explosion in informal housing, legal experts said on Monday. Some 113 million people across the continent - or nearly one in five people - live in sprawling slums which are fuelling inequality and social exclusion, they said in a report. "State policies on housing - even those enshrined in the region's constitutions - have not been able to respond to the rise of urban populations...," the study said.
Mass migration from rural to urban areas from the 1950s onwards means 80 percent of Latin America's population of around 600 million now live in cities - a higher number than in any other region in the world. The report examines housing legislation and policy in 11 countries, including Latin America's largest economies - Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.It found most countries had laws and constitutions that recognised the right to adequate housing, but huge gaps remained in ensuring poor families got access to homes, housing credit and secure land tenure rights. Across Latin America, poor neighbourhoods crammed with shacks built using bricks, scrap metal and wood, and often perched precariously on hillsides, are a common feature of the urban landscape. "The housing market hasn't been able to cover the needs of marginalised populations in informal settlements, which has produced social exclusion and a segregation of the rich and poor," said Luis Bonilla of TECHO, a non-governmental organisation tackling poverty in slums, which commissioned the report. About 50 million new homes are needed to address the region's housing shortage, according to the United Nations.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University