As many as one out of six people on earth is an illegal squatter. In Shadow Cities, journalist Robert Neuwirth describes his travels through the megalopolises of Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and Nairobi to discover what life is like for that 1 billion. What he finds defies many of the stereotypes of grime- and crime-ridden Third World slums.
The improvised shanties he visits on hillsides and along train tracks, though constructed illicitly, are often well tended. Neuwirth finds the "law-abiding outlaws" who inhabit them to be for the most part upstanding and neighborly. "People may be poorer here," a woman tells him in one of Rios favelas. "But they pay their bills."