Slums: Cities of Tomorrow

The premise of Slums: Cities of Tomorrow is that slums are inevitable, even more present than before, and not really a bad thing. Footage is from “slums” in India, Morocco, France, Canada, the USA and other places. The contrast among the various worldly “slums” across the globe is obvious: In India it’s concrete homes without electricity or water; in New Jersey it’s a plot land with semi-permanent campers; in Canada it’s aboriginal in poor quality housing; in France, it’s people living in campers.

One key point that I took away from this documentary was that if you take people from their “slum” lifestyle and put them in, for example, an apartment building, there’s a good chance you’ve taken away their livelihood. Whether selling items from their home or raising livestock, their way of existence is taken away by the apartment-life.

Another interesting bit is the seemingly happy demeanor of people in these situations (at least most of those in the film). There’s a woman who used to earn over $100,000 in New York City now living a permanent camping lifestyle in New Jersey. They’re content with what they have, in many cases.

That said, the doc features a woman in India who can’t read but works hard to provide for her family. Her kids attend a good school and are top of their class. This gives hope for the future of the kids to hopefully break out of their economic situation.

Also, as indicated by the experts on the topic, despite being “slums” there is a sense of organization. i.e. a city, but one that is not planned in a more traditional sense.

The documentary is well shot but does contain a lot of filler. I was expecting a bit more from the experts and less random footage – i.e. being a bit more educational. It’s interesting, but not amazing: 3/5.


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