Slum. Shanty Town. Favela. Ghetto. Barrio Marginal. Bidonville. The list goes on. We have the foresight to understand and predict that demand for shelter in urban environments will continue to expand, perhaps indefinitely, but certainly until the highly-cited prediction that by 2050, more than two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. With this reality, is it time to reassess the way in which we talk about different forms of urbanization? The negative connotations of the word "slum" are apparent. But beyond the assumed, unhelpful undertone, the term is inadequate. By using catch-all terms for the real issues that create and propagate precarious human settlement, we miss the opportunity to pinpoint problems specific to each city, population and even the particularities of legislation that cause or prevent changes.
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