Slums, an obstacle in the way of urban planning

The origin of the word Slums began to be used in the year 1822, as recorded, and means a dirty back alley inhabited by poor people. It came from the word slang, which means a “room” especially a “back room”.As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014, of the whole world population, 54% of them live in Urban Areas. 863 Million live in slums. They result from overcrowded cities where poor people settle in due to the lack of available and suitable accommodation.

On the urban planning basis, slums stand as an obstacle in the way of urban development and progress. They are characterized by having very poor conditions on the financial, educational and health levels. These conditions are mostly the cause of many diseases especially the respiratory among many other disease conditions that spread among their inhabitants.

These diseases are caused also through water pollution which is a major crisis for those residents that is constantly increasing.

Slums are characterized by the lack of housing parts and methods of living; they are aged houses constructed with short-lived materials.

Slums also affect the pavement of roads, affecting roads and transit infrastructure. Not only that but also affect many other hazards, from education to natural hazards.

Many children in slums are deprived of education, and face the hazards of diseases and even death. In some countries, slums get immersed by water during the rise of sea level, which is a cause of many hazards to the slum residents.

The question now is; how can we control slums?

They can be controlled in two ways:

  • The slums are the side effect of unsustainable development, so an urban designer should improve the quality of housing for the slum inhabitants, making the measurement of life in them sustainable with durable better settlements and sustainable materials, which also should be affordable for them.
  • On the governmental level, they should create better health plan and grant the inhabitants of slums a settlement salary to encourage them to move to safer settling places.

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