Jota Samper: The informal settlements reshaping the world | TED | Summary and Q&A

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Jota Samper: The informal settlements reshaping the world | TED


This content explores the author's experiences growing up in an informal settlement and highlights the need to make these communities visible, appreciate their creativity, and apply what we learn from them in city development.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are informal settlements and why are they important to study?

Informal settlements are self-built neighborhoods that exist outside of city regulations and are characterized by extreme poverty. They are important to study because they represent one of humanity's biggest challenges and provide insight into how cities develop and innovate.

Q: How many people currently live in informal settlements worldwide?

Currently, more than a billion people live in informal settlements all around the world.

Q: What is the projected future population living in informal settlements?

By the year 2050, one in three people on the planet will live in an informal settlement, without access to potable water, adequate sanitation, and in conditions of extreme poverty.

Q: What are the challenges in studying and understanding informal settlements?

One major challenge is the lack of available data and a unified database containing information on all informal settlements worldwide. Additionally, some countries lack the resources to map these populations, while others face legal restrictions that hinder support for studying and improving informal settlements.

Q: How are informal settlements changing and expanding over time?

Through mapping and analysis, it has been discovered that informal settlements are expanding at a rate of 9.85 percent annually. This means that every year, an area of 2,300 square kilometers is added to the existing informal settlements, creating cities larger than some of the world's largest urban centers.

Q: What solutions and innovations have been found within informal settlements?

Communities living in informal settlements have demonstrated creative and innovative solutions to their problems. These solutions include community-based infrastructure improvements, unique financing mechanisms, and the development of pedestrian-friendly compact neighborhoods. These solutions can be both environmentally sustainable and applicable to cities seeking more sustainable development.

Q: Why is it important to make informal settlements more visible?

Making informal settlements more visible is crucial because these populations are part of our cities and deserve respect and consideration. By shedding light on their existence and conditions, we can better support and improve their living conditions.

Q: What can we learn from informal settlements?

Informal settlements have a wealth of creativity and innovation that we can learn from. They have been the birthplace of disruptive urban products like ride apps and the home-sharing economy. By paying attention to these communities, we can tap into their knowledge and potentially find solutions to global challenges.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia but switched to a public school in a poverty-stricken area. He learned about the challenges and resilience of people living in informal settlements.

  • Informal settlements are a common form of urbanization, with over a billion people living in them worldwide. They lack basic necessities and face legal restrictions and ignorance from society and governments.

  • The speaker created the Atlas of Informality to map and understand the growth and change of informal settlements. He emphasizes the need to support these communities, learn from their innovative solutions, and make their populations more visible.

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