“Crivens! whaur huv they skinnymalinkies come frae an what have they done tae oor weel tended permaculture?
Thon lan’s wershet noo.”
skinnymalink: thin person, bones and skin only.
“My goodness! Where have all these dreadfully wasted starving people come from and what have they done to our well tended sustainable and self-sufficient semi-natural agricultural ecosystem?
That land there’s been exhausted and wasted”
wilderness (the word for illustration Friday.). What constitutes wilderness is a point of view. Often grassland, jungle, wetlands and forest are not wild at all but are managed carefully by the locals and yield a great harvest despite appearances to the untutored eye. Ask Rae Mears.
Also: A concise overview of Permaculture here from the UK Permaculture Association. “Designing for resilience – the foundations of permaculture.”
It’s a bit of a stretch to apply the idea of permaculture to densely packed interactive societal density of an urban sprawl but I thought the underpinning was a fit after watching a programme on UK’s Channel 4 about the slums of Mumbai. Making the best of the environment you’re trapped in.
Not Unfettered Capitalism.
Slumming It with Kevin McCloud is the programme (two episodes). Watch it while you can at Channel 4 UK (Now on YouTube). It is an example of seemingly unfettered capitalism — the wet dream come true for many a corporate executive — no health and safety, no pensions to fund, no insurance, no regulation and no taxes.
These slums have a business turn-over measured in the tens of millions of dollars and more than 80% of the densely packed local population have a living and a share in the wealth. Despite all this, property developers intend to raze this hive of entrepreneurship to get rich themselves under the guise of getting rid of an eyesore. The indigenous population will be recompensed (only the ones who live at ground floor level) by being given habitation in high density, high rise, concrete flats.
It is back to who should define a wilderness (slum) and how that wealth should be extracted and by whom. Those on the outside claim that it is a criminal unhygienic eyesore to be feared. But to those in the inside it is a booming economy with a living to be made, safe though dirty streets, and a close knit multi generational supportive community. What they want most is an improved sanitation system and less rats.
Social Scientists should get in there now and watch the community turn from a perceived problem into a real problem of crime, unemployment, drugs, family strife, social isolation — all the ills of bad multi story living we see in the West. Don’t worry it will all be hidden in tall concrete boxes and not pointed to at at all as long as rents are paid.
I’ve spoken to a resident from Mumbai visiting Scotland who having seen the two episodes is now going to go and visit the slums despite previously being afraid to go near them.
Don’t take this information from me go and watch the programmes while they are available (on YouTube) and let me know what you think.