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Friday, December 19, 2008

Social Networks and Squatter Cities: One In the Same

squatter city

What do Facebook and Mumbai, India have in common? They're both vivid illustrations of man' innate need to connect. At the TED Conference,Author Stewart Brand explained  the rapid expansion of squatter cities.

During Brand's presentation  he showed why people in the isolated villages of the world are emptying out and headed to heavily populated sectors in metro areas such as Karachi,Mumbai,Sao Paolo,Lagos,Dhaka,Jakarta and Calcutta.

Some people go to Shangahi but most go to the squatter cities, where aesthetics rule. They're not people oppressed by poverty,they're people getting out of poverty. They're the dominant builders and the dominant designers. One/sixth of the GDP of India is coming out of Mumbai.

Some facts to consider about Squatter cities:

  • One billion people live in squatter cities.
  • Two billion more are expected.

What's the allure of the squatter cities?

The chance to join an informal economy and enterprise-which is also offered by social networks,from the major sites such as Myspace and Facebook, to the niche networks such as getreeled, a community for fisherman to share pics of their latest catch. Think of Facebook and Myspace as the prominent,cookie-cutter style condos of the social networking world in Sao Paolo,Brazil,and smaller,niche networks as the thousands of smaller-scale houses.

Squatter cites and social networks are both free and upwardly mobile,and they provide:

  • Rent of undeeded property
  • Construction of undeeded buildings
  • Untaxed services

In summary, more people are searching for a fast and frugal way to advance their progression in life, whether it's social,professional or a mixture of the two.

UPDATE: I asked Wharton Professor Jerry Wind for his take on my analogy, and you can read my post which includes the video interview.

By Matt O'Hern at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)

(1) Thoughts on Social Networks and Squatter Cities: One In the Same

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Comments by Annalise : Friday, December 19, 2008 at 03:40 PM

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