Global slums from a local point of view: Rome, Sofia and Mexico city.
This is Kornelia Dimitrova's graduation thesis at the Polytechnic University of Milan, in collaboration with Fadi Seman Mejia (Mexico) and Irene Bariani (Italy). The thesis investigated a case study of a typical slum/ghetto from the capital cities of the home countries of the three authors. This work is done in an attempt to understand the origins and history of this phenomenon, and its persistence despite all international efforts directed at its remedy. The three case studies, from Italy, Bulgaria and Mexico, differ tremendously in scale, population and time-frame. Yet, when seen through the socio-economic dimensions, they operate under the same conditions and towards the same values and priorities.
Full title: A global reality of slums, from a local point of view: An overview and analysis of 'Salaam Palace' (Rome), 'Fakulteta' (Sofia) and 'Nezahualcoyotl-Valle de Chalco' (Mexico City).
The aim of this thesis is to propose an overview on the reality of slums at global level with an approach that works locally on specific cases studies. Concerning this, it explains the general situation in the three capital cities of the countries chosen for this research, namely - Rome, Sofia and Mexico City, and, among these realities, three different case studies have been selected to review the phenomenon in detail. Those are as follows:
Salaam palace, the case of a neglected ex-university building in Rome, occupied by 400-800 refugees from Sudan and the Horn of Africa, is chosen to represent the emergence of political refugees that are constantly arriving to Europe. Inhabitant population: ~400-800 (seasonal variation)
Fakulteta, an abusive “ghetto” on the periphery of the city of Sofia, is an example of the state of Roma camps and social integration in post-Communist countries and in Europe. Inhabitant population: ~40 000
Nezahualcoyotl-Valle de Chalco, a huge piece of land where informal settlements were 'born' due to rural migration to the urban area of Mexico City. These and the lack of planning and urban policies prompted the emergence of illegal dwellings. Inhabitant population: ~4 000 000
All these realities differ mainly for their dimensions, but what they share is the fact of being characterized by social and economic isolation, their abuse on land and crumbling hygienic and living conditions. The purpose of this work is to define the problems of the programs concerning the resolution and eradication of the mentioned conditions. And eventually to review and propose proposal alternative and perhaps more effective approaches as a backbone for future programs, i.e. participatory democracy.
* The images illustrating Salaam Palace and Nezahualcoyotl' are a copyright to the respective owners/photographers.