former slum on tulsi pipe road, mumbai
The architect Lebbeus Woods has written an exceptional essay in three parts about slums and the possible roles that an architect can play in this seemingly unsolvable problem.
..."From a safe distance, it is tempting to demonize, or romanticize, slum dwellers. On the demon side, they are parasites, unclean, unwanted, unhealthy, attached to the body of organized society. On the romantic side, they are outsiders, struggling subversively within the system, surviving by their wits and stubbornness, masters of that indispensable human quality, ingenuity. Each view is an extreme of the reality, and each serves the purposes of different interest groups occupying higher social strata. Consequently, both views in effect accept the existence, and persistence, of slums."...
part 1: The Problem
part 2: What to Do?
part 3: One idea