Urban environments are human settlements with high population densities and infrastructures. A lot of factors contribute to the development and growth of an urban area, but one of the more important factors to take into consideration for an urban area is housing and infrastructure.
In an MEDC (More Economically Developed Country) like the United Kingdom, the local authorities have a duty to house homeless people who are in need, such as families with children, pregnant women, people of old age, and disabled people. The ‘typical’ homeless person in MEDC is a 35-year-old male with little or no academic qualifications. This means that their employment prospects are low. Within MEDCs, homeless people often have either a mental or physical disability which has caused them to become homeless. In the United Kingdom, the current rate of homeless people is approximately 7 in every 1000 people.
LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Country) on the contrary have an altogether different problem related to housing: they suffer from squatter settlements also known as favelas, barrios, and shantytowns. The largest squatter settlement is found in Mexico and is called the Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio. Shanty towns can cause serious problems for cities because they are usually built on the outskirts and are a drain to resources. Shantytowns often have inadequate electricity, sanitation, and communications. They are usually very unorganised, lacking in street names and house numbers. Increasingly in shantytowns drug dealing is a significant issue in the community. With drug gangs maintaining control over areas, the cities police don’t dare enter some areas for fear of violence with the gangs. Favelas in Brazil are the largest around the big cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and this is mainly caused by a decrease in jobs in rural areas due to mechanisation and the allure of the bright lights of the city. Favelas and shanty towns are often made from materials scavenged from the area, so houses are usually made from corrugated iron, plastic, and wood, this can cause problems and high levels of damage in the event of storms, fires, or natural disasters.