By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department
Slum is a kind of life that differs from urban and rural lifestyles and creates a unique physical texture with its own specific social and economic characteristics. In expert definitions, slum residents are people who live within the economic boundaries of cities but are not attracted to the economic system and urban social system. In terms of structural, physical and social aspects, slums are parts of the city in which destruction, improper health service, high population density, insecurity, crime, and, in general, a lack of needed comfort are observed. In such an environment, collective dissatisfaction, feeling dis-belonging and alienation, nonparticipation in social activities, feelings of discrimination and lack of citizenship morale are very much observed. The slum resident often does not consider the city as its home, and is always in conflict between objectivity and subjectivity. In terms of quantity, 50% of the population of slum communities are located at the socio-economic base apart from the majority of the city’s population. In a simple international definition, the World Bank considers the parts of the city neglected, with quality and living conditions at a very low level, as slum spaces.
According to statistics published by international organizations, over one billion people in the world, averaging more than 30 percent of the urban population, live on the periphery of the city. It accounts for only 6% of the urban population in developed and European countries. With the growth of this phenomenon, forecasts suggest that by the year 2030, the number of slum residents in the world will reach 2 billion. The slum in general is the product of development and rapid pace of urbanization and rural migration crises, which, in the face of unprincipled urban management, causes imbalances in demographic structures and exacerbates informal settlements in large cities.
It has an ancient margin and dates back to the Sassanid era. At that time, prisoners of war resided on the outskirts of cities. In the late 12th century, in the European countries, the church council forced Jews to marginalize around Christian cities for religious reasons. But marginalization, with its current definition, is not long lasting because in the past, people with different levels of income and income lived in homes that were not too distant, and residential situations were not a sign of the social image of individuals.
Slums have an ancient history which dates back to the Sassanid era. At that time, prisoners of war resided in the city limits. In the late 12th century, in the European countries, the church council forced Jews to marginalize around Christian cities for religious reasons. But marginalization, with its current definition, does not have a long life, because in the past, people with different levels of income lived in homes that were not too distant, and residential situations were not a sign of the social image of individuals.
Slums in developed countries and developing countries are fundamentally different, because in developed societies, the government facilitates the relationship between the periphery and the center by a series of policies and legal requirements, while in developing countries, a regulated relation does not exist in this field. According to studies, there is a direct relationship between marginalization and items such as relative deprivation, social deviations, and the number of working children, as well as an inverse relation in issues such as social participation, education and media consumption.
There are many strategies to prevent the formation and, in the next step, to reduce the abnormal marginalization effects. Although in some Asian countries, in a specific period, removal methods such as the destruction of houses and the living space of the slum and poor residents, but in countries such as Thailand, the governments began with systematic plans such as paying subsidies and loans to slum people improving the status their homes and living conditions, trying to change the lifestyle of people. Given the positive outcomes of such strategies, physical organization and improvement along with social, economic and cultural empowerment are the basis for the necessary measures in this regard. The formation of NGOs in these areas, construction and development of educational and health centers, launch of vocational training and employment programs, facilitation of private institutions for the provision of standard and affordable housing, establishment of appropriate urban infrastructure, and so on, are among actions that management systems should use to mitigate the effects of marginalization. However, preventive strategies such as the creation of appropriate economic infrastructure and creation of comprehensive development opportunities throughout the country are far less costly than any other solutions.