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In Life in London Pierce Egan used the word in the context of the "back slums" of Holy Lane or St Giles.A footnote defined slum to mean "low, unfrequent parts of the town".Five Points was occupied by successive waves of freed slaves, Irish, then Italian, then Chinese, immigrants.It housed the poor, rural people leaving farms for opportunity, and the persecuted people from Europe pouring into New York City."Close under the Abbey of Westminster there lie concealed labyrinths of lanes and potty and alleys and slums, nests of ignorance, vice, depravity, and crime, as well as of squalor, wretchedness, and disease; whose atmosphere is typhus, whose ventilation is cholera; in which swarms of huge and almost countless population, nominally at least, Catholic; haunts of filth, which no sewage committee can reach – dark corners, which no lighting board can brighten." In France as in most industrialised European capitals, slums were widespread in Paris and other urban areas in the 19th century, many of which continued through first half of the 20th century.The first cholera epidemic of 1832 triggered a political debate, and Louis René Villermé study Melun Law first passed in 1849 and revised in 1851, followed by establishment of Paris Commission on Unhealthful Dwellings in 1852 began the social process of identifying the worst housing inside slums, but did not remove or replace slums.After World War II, French people started mass migration from rural to urban areas of France.This demographic and economic trend rapidly raised rents of existing housing as well as expanded slums.
Between 19 the percentage of people living in slums dropped, even as the total urban population increased.
French government passed laws to block increase in the rent of housing, which inadvertently made many housing projects unprofitable and increased slums.
In 1950, France launched its Habitation à Loyer Modéré which, by the late 1700s, was surrounded by slaughterhouses and tanneries which emptied their waste directly into its waters.
Part of Charles Booth's poverty map showing the Old Nichol, a slum in the East End of London.
Published 1889 in Life and Labour of the People in London.