It has been almost more than fifty years since President Johnson B. Lyndon declared a massive poverty war. However, the population of Americans with their living spaces in the slums is drastically on the rise. The United Nations gives a description of slums as areas lacking sanitation, clean water, adequate space of living and house security. More individuals living in areas with high poverty amounting to approximately 40% of families fall under the poverty threshold levels defined by the government. This number doubled from 13.8 million people to 7.2 million between 2000 and 2013 (Semuels, 2015). The highest number of individuals living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods ever recorded. You do not believe me? Take a look at the ambitious but neglected city of Detroit.
The image on the left is of a blighted and abandoned house on the east side of Detroit. According to Uberti (2014), a resident of Detroit had just come home to find her windows smashed. It was not the first time that her house was broken into. After she called the police, the survey was conducted in an area surrounded by overgrown vegetation and abandoned structures. The resident had to drive everywhere she went especially because she had a 12-year-old because the town had unkempt roads and lacked public transit.
With the economic boom experienced between the years of 1990 to 2000, there was more pay to take home for most poor families as well as the falling of unemployment rates. Cities such as Detroit and Chicago succeeded in doing away with most of the country’s concentrated poverty. This forced individuals, especially whites, to move to such McMansions such as the one above. Detroit has seen the continued and biggest white flight with wealthier individuals moving to Oakland, further from the core of the city. The city is only left with a struggling economy, limited recourses to facilitate services and a diminutive tax base (Semuels, 2015).
Slums are a real description of poverty and inequality. Below is an image of a coexisting developed and underdeveloped area to explain these extremities.
The image above is of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Almost more than 5000 communities reside in the slum areas which make up 40% of the population and are situated right next to luxurious hotels, high-rise office spaces, and penthouses (Kim, 2016). These are the communities most neglected in terms of development, planning and urban policy. Despite the fact that this population is what makes the biggest workforce share driving the economy of the city and have a significant contribution to leather and garment industries, waste management, construction, and additional informal sectors, they are stuck here (Kim, 2016).
Living in such areas puts economic, financial and social burdens on families and are highly likely to result in intergenerational poverty. The Baltimore Sun (2019), highlights the fights with law enforcers to tackle crime, improve educational and health facilities and suggests that success will only be witnessed when the root of the problem- poverty- is addressed. According to research pulling oneself from the snares of poverty is not as easy as it is made to sound. Individuals will turn to crime- shoplifting, and burglary- to get past life if jobs and opportunities do not exist economically.
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