Sunday, July 1, 2012

shantytown



As I've posted before, I don't like the term slum. Shantytown isn't much better as a term, but somewhat. The other option is squatter settlement - but it sounds very high register and does not include those that have gotten legal title. In English I prefer poor neighborhood really.

The terms for shantytown in Spanish seem to be quite country specific:
 
villa miseria, often shortened to just villa, seems very Argentinian, though maybe other Southern cone countries use it. Argentinians also sometimes use ciudades miseria

in Peru they are sometimes called 'pueblo joven'

in Mexico they are 'colonias populares' 
[correction! thanks to Atenea who writes: "A "colonia popular" in Mexico is not a shantytown. Colonias populares are low-income government developed housing complexes. The term we use to refer to shantytowns is "ciudades perdidas" (perhaps a bit worn out lately) and, more recently, "colonias de paracaidistas"]

in El Salvador the term is 'comunidades marginales', one of my personal favorites that I think travels well, ie, others will understand it even if they don't normally use it, unlike villa.
[huge thanks to Silvia who suggests comunidades marginalizadas - fantastic! so much better]

the other option is asentamiento informal, but that's pretty high register.

otras? sugerencias porfa!

[thanks to Ronald who writes that in Nicaragua they are called 'barrios' - pero ojo que en otros paises barrio significa justo lo opuesto]

5 comments:

atenea said...

Hi, Sara:

A "colonia popular" in Mexico is not a shantytown. Colonias populares are low-income government developed housing complexes. The term we use to refer to shantytowns is "ciudades perdidas" (perhaps a bit worn out lately) and, more recently, "colonias de paracaidistas".

I'll be happy to help you double-check when you refer to terms used in Mexico.

Best

Anonymous said...

Chile: "poblaciĆ³n callampa" or just "poblaciĆ³n"

I just found your blog. It's GREAT!!!! Thank you!!!

Gretchen

carishina said...

In Ecuador specially in the urban context, we use "suburbios" which I think it's very very interesting comparing it to the meaning of "suburbs" in English, in spanish it refers more of the outskirts or beyond the border of certain neighborhood. It does have a little academic connotation but if people watch the news that's what is used so it's not uncommon. Love this blog!

carishina said...

In Ecuador we use "suburbios" which does have a little bit of a formal/ academic register, but it's used in the news. In general barrio popular would be good depending of the context. "suburbio" it's very interesting to me given the meaning of the word in English. Love this blog!

sir m. said...

In Peru they are formally called Asentamientos Humanos (A.A.H.H.). Pueblo joven is a very dated term, as the idea of young towns suggests that places that were squatted are somehow behind in their development. On the contrary, places in Lima like Los Olivos, or sections of Independencia (Plaza Norte), San Juan de Lurigancho (Zarate, Las Flores), and San Juan de Miraflores (Ciudad de Dios) are sites of intense capital accumulation and/or feature individuals that have found mobility through capitalism. These specific sites are very much products of uneven development, and look nothing like human settlements that are made of out "material no noble" and lack water and sanitation hook-ups, paved roads, etc.