Illegal slums develop in Mumbai and in the largest cities of Brazil because of the constant migration of the poor population to urban territories. Slum Cities (2006) is documentary film discussing the problems of the slum dwellers who suffer from the regular lack of sanitation and any other resources important for living. The documentary film provides the discussion of how the officials in these cities try and plan to cope with the high levels of migration and expansion of slums.
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The first important feature to note while discussing differences in Mumbai’s slums and the Brazilian slums is the location of these slums. The largest slums in Mumbai are located in the central part of the city. In contrast, the main principle in establishing favelas in Brazil is the distance from the central parts of Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. The first favelas were legally established slums for the poor Brazilian population, and the main focus was on isolation of these dwellers. As a result, there are also differences in the surroundings. Modern slums in Mumbai develop actively in the central parts of the city; that is why, the most expensive houses are built nearby the poorest housing constructions.
The problem is in the density of the population in Mumbai. From this point, the poorest and richest dwellers often live in their houses side-by-side. The population of Mumbai adapted to the intensive migration of poor citizens with allowing the building of slums within the central urban territories. If the slums in Mumbai developed between the central railways and occupied not only suburban territories, favelas in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are located far from the luxurious neighborhoods of the central parts of the cities. In addition, such large favelas as Rocinha avoided the spatial gap while developing the infrastructure and businesses typical for small towns.
The presence of slums in Mumbai and Brazilian cities supports the idea that there is a significant economic divide between the rich and poor population of these territories. Thus, the dwellers of the slums in Mumbai are the poorest working population in the city, and they suffer from the lack of water and sanitation. In contrast, there are billionaires in Mumbai who build impressive constructions and support the projects of developing the urban territories of slums. In Brazil, the contrast is also significant because of differences in the living conditions and occupations of the poor and the rich. The gap between these categories of the population continues to grow.
These differences can be discussed with the focus on the slum dwellers’ jobs. In Mumbai, slum dwellers work to survive, and they actively develop the recycling industry. These people represent the poor working class in Mumbai, and every day, they come to railway stations to travel to work. In Brazil, the dwellers in favelas focus on developing their own businesses in large slums. These poor people work in stores and bars, they also work as construction workers and occupy the entry-level jobs while moving to the central part of the city. There is no need and possibility to have cars or other transportation modes in favelas because of the absence of resources and good roads.
The role of the police should be discussed with references to slums in both Mumbai and Brazilian cities. In Mumbai, slums try to develop specific rules to follow to protect the order and stability. Still, the percentage of policemen in the slums is extremely high, and they work to control the order all days long. The percentage of policemen in favelas is also high because of the problem of drugs and the necessity to sustain the order in these poorly controlled territories. The effectiveness of the police in slums is questionable, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that the absence of the control can lead to more problems and degradation. Police operations in Brazilian favelas are rather effective to cope with drug dealers.
In addition to the focus on the police services, Mumbai and Brazilian cities use different approaches to deal with the problem of slums in cities. The authorities of Mumbai focus on the necessity to transform the slums, and they attempt to improve conditions of living while developing housing projects for slum dwellers. The focus is on making Mumbai ‘slum-free’. In Brazilian cities, the authorities develop projects to reduce isolation of favelas and adapt the slum dwellers to the better life out of favelas. The authorities in India and Brazil try to make a fortune referring to slums and favelas because of the necessity to change the approach to cities’ economies and urban policies.
In spite of the great attempts to transform slums with the help of developed housing and work projects, Mumbai and Brazilian cities demonstrate weaknesses in implementing these projects effectively because the slum dwellers choose to ignore the governments’ offers. Thus, in Mumbai and Brazilian cities, the slum dwellers avoid developing themselves and changing their lives. The specific small-scale economies of the slums are in progress because slum dwellers adapted to the life in isolation. The future for the slums in Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro can be discussed as positive only when authorities change their urban planning policies significantly and when slum dwellers see the advantages of moving out from slums and favelas.