In 2008, for the first time in human history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. One-third of these urban dwellers—more than one billion people—resided in slums. That number is expected to rise substantially: the United Nations forecasts that the number of slum dwellers will double to two billion people within the next 25 years. Poverty is urbanizing at breakneck speed, and there are few overarching plans to address how cities can accommodate this rapid influx of humans.
Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen has lived with families in four major global slums:
- Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya
- Dharavi in Mumbai, India
- The ‘barrios’ of Caracas, Venezuela
- The ‘kampongs’ of Jakarta, Indonesia
In late summer 2005 stay in Nairobi, Bendiksen was immediately struck by the residents’ awesome capacity to create normalcy and dignity out of extremely challenging living conditions.
His stay in Nairobi sparked a three-year project documenting households and families in Caracas, Mumbai, and Jakarta. Bendiksen attempted to challenge some of his own assumptions about urban poverty. He discovered that it was impossible to generalize the lives and experiences of one-sixth of the world’s population. He discovered that—beyond the common perceptions of poverty, misery, destitution, insecurity, and danger—that there were more stories that needed to be expressed.
Bendiksen’s works will be shown from September 15, 2009 - November 15, 2009 at the National Building Museum in Washington.
Text via National Building Museum website.
Visit The Places We Live website. It’s a multi-media project, one of the finest productions I’ve seen online. If you’re unmoved … what can I say…Anne