Because space matters: conceptual framework to help distinguish slum from non-slum urban areas

Health and Wellbeing

  • March 2020
  • Journal Articles

Despite an estimated one billion people around the world living in slums, most surveys of health and well-being
do not distinguish between slum and non-slum urban residents. Identifying people who live in slums is important
for research purposes and also to enable policymakers, programme managers, donors and non-governmental
organisations to better target investments and services to areas of greatest deprivation. However, there is no
consensus on what a slum is let alone how slums can be distinguished from non-slum urban precincts. Nor has
attention been given to a more fine-grained classification of urban spaces that might go beyond a simple slum/non-
slum dichotomy. The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework to help tackle the related issues of
slum definition and classification of the urban landscape.



Executive Director, APHRC

Catherine Kyobutungi

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi is the Executive Director of the African…

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