For my Global Housing class, our instructor had us watch the documentary called "Slumming It". It followed Kevin McCloud as he spent two weeks in then India's largest slum, the Dharavi slum. This is the same slum as seen in the famous "Slumdog Millionaire" movie.
Right in the city of Mumbai was Dharavi, a slum just one square mile big and home to 1 million people. Many of them lived in shacks formed from the garbage, children played next to rivers of toxic waste, and people got sick due to the very minimal sanitation.
Even though the people of Dharavi lived radically different lives from his westernized self, Kevin McCloud still enjoyed his time. Even amongst the filth, McCloud felt at home. It was an intellectually conflicting experience for him. While we see the slums and say that it is the wrong way to live and that is all bad, inhabitants of the slum see their home quite differently. There is no doubt that the people of Dharavi deserved better sanitation and clean water. But there were many aspects of their community that ought to remain. I encourage you to watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im0tHRs9Bng. Even in all of the garbage, the people of Dharavi managed to form a vibrant, resourceful, and encouraging community. But please, watch it for yourself!
Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.