Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities, looks at major cities inhabited by squatters. The have unique social structures and economies.
In thinking about what worldwide urban spaces will look like in the future, Neuwirth provides us with a surprising picture. He shows us the squatter communities of Nairobi, Mumbai, Istanbul, and Rio de Janeiro, and argues for rights that will support and sustain healthy squatter cities. These habitations, he claims, are the beginnings of the cities of the future.
Plastic tarps, degradation, and horrible sodden communities co-exist amongst a tremendous amount of commerce. Scavenged materials help create better living conditions, so as squatters gradually build more permanent living spaces, cityscapes begin to be established, and we attain a new suburban ideal. The community rises in a free-spirited way and we must yield to people organizing their own capacity to transform their own future.