Tentative Classification of Various Slum Types

  • Jérôme Chenal
  • Yves Pedrazzini
  • Jean-Claude Bolay
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 119)


This chapter proposes a typology of slums based on spatial indicators at two scales: the neighbourhood scale and the urban scale. By classifying, we are able to understand neighbourhoods based on their urban location (central, peripheral, etc.) and the built environment it generates. This typology breaks with conventional slum definitions, mainly in terms of access to urban public services and quality of life.

The chapter will describe the urban typologies of several common slum representations. We will examine these typologies according to four spatial criteria: (1) their location in the city centre or periphery; (2) the land quality in the slum settlement area (wetlands/risk areas vs. land suitable for urbanisation); (3) road networks (was the slum previously structured or not?), and; (4) the habitat “strengthening” process (as the degree of consolidation often reflects the level of insecurity of land tenure in the neighbourhood). These visual and spatial criteria are easily determined and, combined, produce 16 clearly identifiable types of slums.


Social Practice Informal Settlement Urban Form African City Slum Dweller 
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

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

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