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Housing the bottom billion

Photo by Dominique Rattner

Carter Work Project 2012: Thursday’s theme

More than a billion people — one-sixth of the world’s population — live in slums in abysmal housing without adequate access to clean water and sanitation. The United Nations estimates that that number could double in the coming decades.

The poverty and human degradation caused by slums prevent the developing world from reaching its full potential.

On the other hand, well-planned and well-managed urban investments in housing and infrastructure can generate jobs and economic growth and improve living standards.

The United States was once an international leader in promoting policies and investments that improved the lives of millions of slum dwellers. However, in recent years, U.S. development assistance for shelter has diminished significantly.

International development agencies and governments worldwide should play a much greater role in tackling these issues.