Urbanisation Patterns in Urban Poor Communities: Comparison Cases of China and Venezuela

In Estudios, Política exterior by PSTBS12378sxedeOPCH

Urbanisation in many developing countries was followed by significant urban poverty. Over the last three decades, while both China’s and Venezuela’s urbanisation patterns contributed to economic growth and modernisation of the two countries, it was also accompanied by a growing number of unplanned ‘urban’ settlements. Eventually, this attribute became a very important part of the cities’ landscape in both countries. In general, such settlements can be regarded as ‘slums’ or ‘squatters’, often referring to informal and poor communities within the city. However, the definition of ‘slum’ cannot be totally applied to just one universal definition; especially for developing countries, where conditions and driving forces of urbanisation are significantly different (i.e. context to context – such as, between China and Venezuela). Therefore, it is applicable to investigate few factors: 1- What exactly are the main factors in formation of slums? and 2- What are the main similarities and differences in between slums of China and Venezuela? In light of these questions, this paper is first comprised of extensive analysis of slums in these two developing countries, and then focuses on case studies conducted in two cities of Caracas and Beijing. The results from the comparative analysis illustrate notable differences between the two contexts. In this respect, the study is evaluated based on key factors of: nature, actors, conditions, and political strategies. According to these findings, this article concludes that slum is not a transitional phenomenon, particularly for the cases of Caracas (where barrios are large, well settled and consolidated) and Beijing (where the current redevelopment policy seems to be ineffective in providing public housing for poor communities and alleviating the formation of slums).