Italy

Baraccopolis

Yes, Italy’s got slums. And the inhabitants are Italians

“A densely populated urban area characterized by overcrowding, housing below acceptable standards, inadequate access to pure drinking water and sanitation, uncertainty of tenure, squalor”.

This is the common definition of a slum accepted by the United Nations.

On the planet, a human being out of six lives in a slum. In Italy there are some thousands, perhaps tens of thousands. A number that, in the words of Istat, the Central Institute for Statistics, registered “a dramatic increase” in the past seven years, due to the economic crisis. Slums are everywhere: in the underdeveloped Southern regions as well as in large industrial cities in the Center and the North. Some of these shantytowns have been there for decades, one – in Messina, Sicily – for over a century: a paradox, in a country that has the highest overbuilding rate in Europe. The inhabitants are Italian citizens, but not even Istat knows exactly how many.
The reason is simple: after a while, for the rest of the country those who live in a shack cease to exist. Yet, exist they do, and no matter how abandoned they feel by the State, most of them would say: “I’m still an Italian”.

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