I just discovered a fascinating website called The Places We Live. It is a documentation of the some of the world’s largest slums.
A friend of mine, Tony Traboulsee, visited Caracas in the 80s and told me about the fabulous skyscrapers that exude wealth and opulence, and the corrugated metal and plywood shacks that surround them. This site explores that world and others in great detail.
After the introduction, you can choose from 4 cities to visit: Caracas, Nairobi, Mumbai, and Jakarta. There is a brief overview of the shanty towns that abound in those areas, which is worth watching/reading, but then the really cool stuff starts. In each city, four households are profiled. You can click on them to hear them tell their story and see a 360º view their dwelling by moving your mouse around. They’re all small, and range from (surprisingly) comfortable looking to no walls or roof.
What’s amazing is that even in the worst living conditions (check out Subur in Jakarta), the people are surprisingly upbeat and positive. It should be a kick in the arse to anyone who lives in our luxurious society and is unhappy about their lot.