The Equity Factor

SLIDESHOW: Makeshift Cities Around the World

A slide show of photographer Iwan Bann’s work highlighting makeshift cities across the globe.

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

Dutch photographer Iwan Baan’s work focuses on the way city residents interact with the urban environment and its nuanced architecture. One of his ongoing themes is how people sometimes carve out informal housing for themselves and their families. Exploring this subject has taken him from Caracas, Venezuela to a floating slum in Nigeria.

In a TED Talk released on Wednesday, Baan discusses four makeshift cities he has photographed: The Torre David (“Tower of David”), an unfinished 45-story skyscraper in Caracas; Zabaleen, a village built on a garbage landfill in Cairo; the aforementioned slum city, Makoko, in Nigeria; and Chinese villages made up of underground dwellings known as yaodongs.

You’ve heard it before that humans are resilient. But Baan’s work explores how people can not only build homes with few resources, but also create fully functional makeshift neighborhoods as well — many of which work as their own ecosystems.

In the slideshow below, find 10 of Bann’s photos from four of these informal communities:

Gallery: Iwan Baan: Makeshift Cities

All images by Iwan Baan via TED

The Equity Factor is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Bill Bradley is a writer and reporter living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Deadspin, GQ, and Vanity Fair, among others.

Follow Bill

Tags: affordable housingequity factorinformal cityslumscairocaracas

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities
  • Brandi in Louisville, KY at $5/Month
  • Nancy at $10/Month
  • Gavri in Plantation, FL at $10/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉