Shanty towns

The fact that cities in LEDCs are growing rapidly means that conditions can be poor. There are often great inequalities within LEDC urban areas and they are even more pronounced in LEDCs.

Township in South Africa
A township in South Africa

Some of the worst conditions are found in the shanty towns on the edge of the city, near the CBD or along main transport routes. They tend to be unplanned and are often illegal. Houses are self-built using basic materials and shanty towns have few services.

Shanty town residents face many problems on a daily basis. Khayelitsha in South Africa is a shanty town located near the city of Cape Town. Shanty towns are also known as townships in South Africa. Khayelitsha has a population of over 1.8 million people and is one of the largest townships in South Africa.

Problems in shanty towns

  • Overcrowding - the settlement has a high population density.
  • Fires - fires can spread quickly.
  • Overpopulation - the area does not have enough resources to support the growing population.
  • Competition for jobs - jobs are in short supply.
  • Disease - poor sanitation and limited health care can lead to the spread of disease.
  • Lack of space - the newest and poorest arrivals may be forced to live on the worst quality land.
  • Infrastructure - services are poor, public transport is limited and connections to the electricity supply can be limited and sometimes dangerous.