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The term favela, or favella, designates spontaneous settlements, all types of informal, illegal occupations, invasions, slums, and squatter settlements in Brazil. The Portuguese word favela characterizes different urban settlements inhabited by the poor population. They are also called barriadas in Peru, villas miserias in Argentina, tugúrius in San Salvador, colonias in México, vilas de lata in Portugal, callampas in Chile, geçekondu in Turkey, ranchos in Venezuela, bidonvilles in Morocco, bustee in India, cantegriles in Uruguay, chabolas in Spain, in addition to many other local epithets.

Urban slums are self-organized systems that are commonly portrayed as complex and apparently disorganized space built by the poor. This universal trait is recurrent, as are many others. All around the world, slums emerge from similar necessities: to find shelter and ...

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