A pent-up housing demand that numbers in the billions

August 19, 2015 admin

Currently, there are 1 billion squatters on the planet, an astounding one in six people. These are people living in quarters as crude as huts made of sticks and dried mud.

Projections indicate there will be 2 billion squatters (one in four members of the global population) by 2030, and come 2050 the number of squatters will rise to 3 billion, more than one in three earthlings.

You will find these squatters in their biggest concentrations in places such as Kibera, Nairobi; Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India; Hosinia near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Sultanbelyi in Istanbul, Turkey.

Yet journalist Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities, has researched these squatter cities and find them to be “thriving centers of ingenuity and innovation.” Indeed, they are the cities of the future, according to Neuwirth, who takes on a tour of these areas in this Ted Talk.

Neuwirth should know. He spent two years living in some of the aforementioned squatter villages and found these massive slums to be surprisingly orderly and lawful and teeming with commerce. These small bits of commerce add up to around $10 trillion annually.

Indeed, some of the great cities of today were once squatter slums that enriched themselves over time and transformed themselves into First World cities. Paris was once a squatter’s slum. Today, it is one of the world’s most heralded and visited cities.

Over time even slums develop, especially with the introduction of infrastructure, which is followed by real estate development. While projections, based on current trend lines, suggest a tripling of the number of squatters over the next 35 years, that figure presumably does not account for the economic locomotive that is thundering through the developing world and elevating record numbers of people out of poverty.

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MikeCfinalwebMike Consol is editor of Real Assets Adviser.

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