Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Slums in Mumbai and the shanty towns

Wiki says:

Shanty towns (also called squatter settlements camps, favelas or Georgie Slums) are settlements (sometimes illegal or unauthorized) of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made from scrap plywood, corrugated metal, and sheets of plastic. Shanty towns are mostly found in developing nations, or partially developed nations with an unequal distribution of wealth (or, on occasion, developed countries in a severe recession). In extreme cases, shanty towns have populations approaching that of a city.

The first recorded use of the word shanty, as meaning a crude dwelling.

There is a near total absence of formal street grids, numbered streets, sanitation networks, electricity and telephones. Shanty towns also tend to lack basic services present in more formally organized settlements, including policing, medical services, and fire fighting. Fires are a particular danger for shanty towns because of the close proximity of buildings and flammability of materials used in construction.

Stereotypes present shanty towns as inevitably having high rates of crime, suicide, drug use, and disease. However the observer Georg Gerster has noted (with specific reference to the invasões of Brasilia), "squatter settlements [as opposed to slums], despite their unattractive building materials, may also be places of hope, scenes of a counter-culture, with an encouraging potential for change and a strong upward impetus."

The largest shanty town in the world is the Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio in Mexico. The largest shanty town in Asia is the Orangi Township in Karachi, Pakistan. while the largest in Africa is Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Another large shanty town is Dharavi in Mumbai, India which houses over 1 million people.


Monday, 14 June 2010

Urban Growth, 1800 - 2030

Throughout history, most human beings have lived in rural areas. But urbanization was rapid throughout the 20th Century.

This article is part of the Inspiring Cities open source campaign Help Us Write the 2008 UNFPA Culture Paragraph.


By 2007, city dwellers will outnumber those in rural areas for the first time in history.In 1800, only 3 per cent of people lived in cities. London, with about a million habitants, was the largest city in the world.

By 1950, the world was urbanizing rapidly, 8 cities had populations of 5 million or more. Two were in the developing world.

By 2000, 30 more cities had 5 million people or more. Most were in the developing world. 47 per cent of the world’s people lived in urban areas.
By 2015, another 17 cities will have grown to 5 million or more. 23 will be “mega-cities” with 10 million people or more. Most will be in the developing world.

By 2030, 20 cities are projected to have 20 million people or more. Based on current trends, 1.5 billion people will live in slums.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


It´s the narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion

Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past 20 years:

Metropolis by Rob Carter - Last 3 minutes from Rob Carter on Vimeo.

Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, primarily due to the continuing influx of the banking community, resulting in an unusually fast architectural and population expansion that shows no sign of faltering despite the current economic climate. However, this new downtown Metropolis is therefore subject to the whim of the market and the interest of the giant corporations that choose to do business there.

Made entirely from images printed on paper, the animation literally represents this sped up urban planners dream, but suggests the frailty of that dream, however concrete it may feel on the ground today. Ultimately the video continues the city development into an imagined hubristic future, of more and more skyscrapers and sports arenas and into a bleak environmental future. It is an extreme representation of the already serious water shortages that face many expanding American cities today; but this is less a warning, as much as a statement of our paper thin significance no matter how many monuments of steel, glass and concrete we build.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Benavente plan

Ver mapa más grande

Homework: On the plan locate:
  • The historical centre and the business district
  • The main residencial areas
  • the industrial areas
  • the main streets
What kind of City layout are there?, Only one?

You can use one of these plans

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Site Features

Site features

The site of a settlement is the land on which it is built. There are a number of different types of sites which have been used for settlements from earliest times.

DefensiveDifficult to attack e.g. hill-top or island
Hill-footSheltered, with flat land for building and farming
GapLower, more sheltered land between two hills
Wet pointClose to water in a dry area
Dry pointOn higher, dry area close to wet land e.g. marshes or flooding rivers
Route centreFocus of routes (e.g. roads) from surrounding area
Bridging pointWhere bridges can be built over a river

Identify the type of site by matching each settlement letter to the appropriate description of its site.



Route Centre

The importance of individual site features changes through time.

In Early Times (before 1800)

FeatureReason / example
Good defenceHard to attack e.g. hill top, island
Close to waterFor water and fish supplies
Close to woodlandFor fuel, building materials and food
On useful farmlandTo provide food
Flat landMakes building easier
Good communicationsBy road and river

In Later Times (after 1800), other features became important when considering the site of a settlement

FeatureReason / example
Close to resourcesAs raw materials for industry e.g. limestone or coal
Close to portsTo transport raw materials or goods
Faster communicationAs industry grew and developed e.g. canals, railways and more recently, motorways and airports.
Pleasant environmentFor a) larger number of retired people and b) hi-tech industries which wish to locate in attractive areas

by the BBC

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Settlement hierarchies

If we group and classify a number of settlements according to their size and shape the result is settlement hierarchy

Pyramid showing relationship between population and services

As you move up the hierarchy, the size of the settlement and the distance between similar sized settlements increases. As you can see from the diagram below, there are more cities than conurbations, more towns than cities and more villages than towns.

The number of services that a settlement provides increases with settlement size.

Small settlements will only provide low order services such as a post offices, doctors and newsagents. Large towns, cities and conurbations will provide low and high order services such as leisure centres, chain stores and hospitals.

Larger settlements and conurbations have a much larger sphere of influence than smaller ones. This means they attract people from a wider area because of the facilities they offer. Cities such as London have a global sphere of influence, whereas a small hamlet or village may only have a sphere of influence of a couple of kilometres.

Services such as department stores selling high order goods have a higher threshold than those selling low order goods such as newsagents. This means they need a higher number of people to support them and make them profitable, therefore they will only be found in larger settlements. It also means that there are fewer big department stores than small newsagents.

The range of a service or product is the maximum distance people are prepared to travel to purchase it. The range of a newspaper is much lower than an item of furniture for example. By the BBC - GCSE Bitesize