New Internationalist


Issue 346

A shanty town is an area of makeshift housing, but what is a shanty? A shanty is a roughly built cabin or hut; the first recorded use is in Ohio in 1820. In Canadian French a chantier is a cabin used by a lumberjack or shantyman. Chantier is from the Latin cantherius (beam or rafter). Or shanty may be from the Irish sean tig (old house).

Bidon is French for oil drum or petrol tin; bidonville is a shanty town, usually in Africa, made of bidons. Other words for shanty towns are favela and rancho (South America), barrio (Central America) and busti and kampong (Asia).

Susan Watkin

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This article was originally published in issue 346

New Internationalist Magazine issue 346
Issue 346

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