1845, from back slum “dirty back alley of a city, street of poor or low people” (1825), originally a slang or cant word meaning “room,” especially “back room” (1812), of unknown origin, pastime popularized by East End novels.
The terminology is actually quite rich with language-specific names, or even each city. We thus find the favelas in Brazil, Kijiji Kenya, the barrio in Venezuela, the campings in Chile, the townships of South Africa, the precarious in Costa Rica, the basti of Calcutta, the Madras cheries the jhuggis- jhompris Delhi …
The question is central to the slums of urban problems, because of its intensity, its diversity, but also new forms of organization that are deployed. Agglomerate of pollution, urban insecurity and infamies, the slum is also a reservoir of cultural creativity, imagination, social, economic and urban creativity. Functionally, the slum has a key role to welcome the rural exodus. This is a lock for the city, even if it is often only trap for refugee populations.
Source: Julien Damon, ‘Inequality and urban poverty. Global developments and transnational perspective ‘Living City – Global Observatory of Urban Lifestyles, PUF, 2008. http://www.veolia.com/fr
A slum, as defined by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, is the disadvantaged part of a city characterized by very poor housing, extreme poverty and no rights or land security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums increased from 47 to 37 per cent in developing countries between 1990 and 2005. However, due to the increase in the world population and especially the urban population, the number of slum dwellers is increasing. One billion people on the planet lived in slums in 2008 and the forecast is two billion by 2030. (Source = Wikipedia)