in cooperation with Magnum Photos and Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg

We are at a watershed in human history: the urban population of the planet is about to overtake the rural. At the almost the exact same moment, the number of people living in slums is passing one billion, or a third of every person living in a city or town.

The goal of this photography project is to create a vehicle for learning about the issues of explosive population growth and the urbanization of poverty, which form the meta-story underlying many of the most pressing issues of our time: environmental decay, water supply, worldwide inequality, the spread of disease and many current wars. The increasing percentage of slum dwellers will surely turn out to be one of the most crucial geo-political developments of our century. The goal is to visually communicate what these places are, what they mean to the families who live in them. Urban slums are much more than monoliths of poverty and misery – they contain a broad and surprising gamut of personal histories, outlooks and experiences.