How a Slum in India Built a Billion Dollar Economy

Place: “Malik Abdullah’s plastic recycling business in Dharavi, the sprawling slum in Mumbai that is among the largest in Asia, has survived fire, building collapses, and the criminal underworld for decades. Now, it is threatened by development.”

“Thousands of small businesses like his thrive in Dharavi, creating an informal economy with an annual turnover of $1 billion by some estimates.”

“‘People think of slums as places of static despair as depicted in films such as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’,’ said Sanjeev Sanyal, an economist and writer, referring to the Academy Award-winning movie that exposed the gritty underbelly of Dharavi.”

“‘If one looks past the open drains and plastic sheets, one will see that slums are ecosystems buzzing with activity… Creating neat low-income housing estates will not work unless they allow for many of the messy economic and social activities that thrive in slums,’ he said.”

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