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Author to Discuss Squatter Settlements, Developing World

October 23, 2007

Robert Neuwirth
DELAWARE, OHIO – As part of Ohio Wesleyan University’s 22nd annual Sagan National Colloquium, professional journalist and author Robert Neuwirth will present “The 21st Century Medieval City” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Author of “Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World,” Neuwirth has traveled the globe living and conducting research in large squatter settlements in the developing world. He estimates that approximately 1 billion people live in such settlements outside of large cities including Nairobi, Kenya; Istanbul, Turkey; Mumbai, India; and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Neuwirth expects this number to increase to 3 billion by the year 2050.

“The migration of more and more people into urban areas in the developing world is a significant trend which Neuwirth has observed firsthand,” said Ohio Wesleyan professor Richard Fusch, Ph.D., co-director of the Sagan National Colloquium. “This very rapid growth of very large, poor enclaves in the cities of the developing world pose serious problems to their respective national governments and to the world in the future.”

Fusch continued, “As Neuwirth points out for Mumbai, ‘if one in 10 squatters organized to demand city services, and when they weren’t delivered decided to march on the central business district, the crowd would be 600,000 people.’ ”

The theme of this year’s Colloquium is “Cities and Suburbs: Life in a Metropolitan World.” Fourteen nationally acclaimed experts will speak on campus about various theme-related topics through mid-November. Established in 1984, the colloquium was endowed by 1948 Ohio Wesleyan graduates John and Margaret (Pickett) Sagan. A full schedule of this year’s events is available at snc.owu.edu.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 40 states and 45 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.