006 - Informal


Factual Question

What is informal housing and why does it develop?

What issues are created from informal housing?

Debatable Question

Is there ever a sensible solution to informal dwellings?

Key Terminology

            • Informal housing

            • Shanty town/favela

            • Ghettoisation

Define the words above by using the 'Useful Links' below:

Useful Links

Activity One - Why?

As we have already found out, today more people live in urban than rural areas and by the year 2030 it is estimated that over 5 billion people will live in towns and cities. Shanty towns develop in all areas of the world where there is urban growth. A shanty town is technically an area where people have created informal dwellings. The housing is classified as informal as the people who have built the housing do not have permission by the government to do so.

While you may not see it MDCs, such as on the outskirts of New York there is still ghettoisation occurring - areas that are perhaps seen as either violent or are characterised by having poor standards of living. We are going to be focusing on shanty towns or favelas located in Latin America.

      1. For what reasons may people migrate from rural environments to urban ones?

      2. Why are people forced to live in ghettos or informal areas?

      3. What views do people have of those living in informal dwellings?

Activity Two - Describe

It is all very well and good to discuss housing as illegal or informal but what is it actually like to live in these environments? Watch the two youtube clips below and write notes on the padlet which describe what favelas look like. Try to consider the following aspects:

            • Building materials

            • Size of the housing

            • Infrastructure - electricity, communications, water, sewage

            • Street widths

            • Location

Made with Padlet

Activity Three - Balance

We are going to use the website www.videonot.es to collate notes on why shanty or squatter settlements can actually be a positive thing. We have so far focused on the negative aspects of shanty towns but things are never quite that clear cut.

              • Click on the website - www.videonot.es - or search for videonot.es

              • Sign in using your school account using the 'sign-in' button found in the top right hand corner of the screen.

              • Copy and paste the url for the youtube clip below into the URL bar on the left hand side of the page and then press load video.

              • Give your notes a sensible title e.g. 2017 - Year 11 - Future Cities - Shanty Towns

Image One - Using Videonot.es

URL - http://youtube.com/watch?v=B67LTsGENPQ

Activity Four - Solution?

We will be using the activity in the book 'More Thinking Through Geography' by Chris Kingston Publishing which focuses on the decisions that may be taken to improve squatter settlements.

Key questions to ask yourselves as you work your way through the activities:

    1. What are your priorities?

    2. Why did you decide on these priorities?


Read the article in the 'Useful Resource' box and suggest reasons for what has happened to the favela Sao Paulo.