It’s the opposite of Skynesting, millions of migrant workers going underground for cost effective housing.
Read about it on The Atlantic Cities.
The numbers are undeniably mind-boggling: An estimated two million people in Beijing are said to be living below the earth’s surface, in thousands of 100-square-foot spaces located just one or two stories below street level. These figures have been making headlines (and trending upwards) for a couple of years now. Assuming they’re accurate, that would mean 10 percent of the city’s 20 million people sleep in windowless, subterranean residences.
This is what it’s all about. When there is no real home for people, they will improvise and new urban worlds will be created. I’m only half way through this book (regrettably usually where I put them down and start something new, for no reason in particular, just because – perhaps I need an iPad 🙂
In Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World, Author Robert Neuwirth travels the world to explore the largest squatter communities out there, and find how how they came to be, and how they continue to survive and thrive. These modern cities are not filled with tents, they’re filled with community boards, restaurants, home-grown social services and a new way of life; often ignored by the cities governments that surround them.
‘Neuwirth gets the lowdown on the low life by becoming a resident of four of the most happening squatopolises: the thriving extralegal pockets of Istanbul, Mumbai, Nairobi, and Rio. His ghetto epiphanies include impeccable civility, self-organizing local governments, bustling economies, modest crime rates, and squatter millionaires.’ – Josh McHugh,Wired