Written by Mike Davis
Release date: September 17, 2007
According to the united nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world. From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, and even from economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy. He argues that the rise of this informal urban proletariat is a wholly unforeseen development, and asks whether the great slums, as a terrified Victorian middle class once imagined, are volcanoes waiting to erupt.
From Publishers Weekly
Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet's increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: "The demonizing rhetorics of the various international 'wars' on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion." Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of "megaslums" (informally, "stinking mountains of shit" or, formally, "when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery") since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers' futures.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The astonishing facts hit like anvil blows ... A heartbreaking book.”—Financial Times
“Davis’s prose exudes a crusading fervour—if not exactly messianic, close enough.”—Village Voice
“If it’s apocalypse you want—and frankly who doesn’t, because how else to explain the mess we’re in—nobody does it better.”—Guardian
“The Raymond Chandler of urban geography ... a coruscating tragedy.”—Independent
“A profound enquiry into an urgent subject ... a brilliant book.”—Arundhati Roy
See all Editorial Reviews
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Verso (September 17, 2007)
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