Settling with danger: Conditions and health problems in peri-urban neighbourhoods in Aleppo, Syria


In the Eastern Mediterranean region, mass rural-to-urban migration and uncontrolled population growth in low-income countries such as Syria have given rise to sprawling unplanned peri-urban development. Virtually no data are available on the environmental conditions and health status of residents of such communities. This paper describes formative qualitative research in eight settlements in informal zones around Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, to assess environmental problems and health hazards. Several common themes emerged regarding community-level conditions that placed residents at substantial health risk, including sub-standard housing, limited access to high-quality health care, an absence of adequate essential services, problems with toxins and pollutants, poor educational and employment opportunities, and crime. Further research is being conducted to understand the distribution of these problems and the associations between environmental conditions and health status. Urgent action is needed to eliminate dangerous living conditions in these settlements.

Publication Title

Environment and Urbanization