Slums and Precarity in Developing Countries

An Interdisciplinary Perspective Towards Innovative Forms of Urban Development
  • Jean-Claude Bolay
  • Jérôme Chenal
  • Yves Pedrazzini
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 119)


Today, urbanisation is a global process that characterises the rapid development of a majority of emerging and developing countries, giving rise to important social, spatial and economic changes. In such a context, urban issues systematically couple with rural migration phenomena and increasing numbers of poor people living in precarious conditions, engendering urban informality (housing conditions, employment, etc.) and environmental contamination (water, soil, air and waste). The result is growing insecurity and vulnerability among the disadvantaged.

The epitome of such trends is the slum, an extreme urban form of social and residential marginality that has become emblematic of urban growth processes, the clear antithesis of sustainable urban development. As such, slums should be the starting point for reflection on the urban future in emerging and developing countries. Based on different urban case studies, we will use them here to offer a rigorous analysis that incorporates the social, economic, environmental and urban dimensions of sustainable development.

Our aim here is to redefine this multi-faceted issue by focusing on the ways and means to quantify and qualify it. We will begin by identifying the appropriate instruments for assessing the various issues and then prioritizing them to better envisage solutions for addressing the most urgent. In the long-term, this approach aspires to ensure acceptable living conditions for poor urban populations in South cities and for all city-dwellers by extension.


Urban Agglomeration Sustainable Urban Development Urban Issue Sustainable Housing Urban Informality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Claude Bolay
    • 1
  • Jérôme Chenal
    • 1
  • Yves Pedrazzini
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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