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Urban geography

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One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai. -- Paula Nelson (55 photos total)
Cambodian lawmaker Mu Sochuo, from the opposition Sam Rainsy party, pleads with riot policemen to stop a forced eviction of villagers at a slum village in the centre of Phnom Penh, Jan. 4, 2012. Cambodian lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy party visited the village after authorities forcefully evicted villagers from the Borei Keila community in the capital. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

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A last blast before the observance of Lent, Carnival has evolved in many parts of the world with Christian traditions to be the biggest party of the year. Traditions vary from country to country, and even from region to region, but most places celebrate with a parade filled with masks, music, and ecstatic revelers. The world's biggest party happens in Rio de Janeiro, where millions fill the streets as the parade enters the Sambadrome. Collected here are pictures of Carnival in many forms as celebrated in various parts of Europe, Latin America, and North America. -- Lane Turner (41 photos total)
A performer from the Beija Flor samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 20, 2012. Millions watched the sequin-clad samba dancers at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Carnival parade. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

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This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)
Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

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All it takes are two groups of people, one to gather and one to march past them. Parades took place across the globe these past two months for a variety of celebrations, from shows of military power, to tributes to organized labor, to pride for one’s country or culture. -- Lloyd Young (37 photos total)
Performers dance in the street parade at the annual Notting Hill Carnival in central London Aug. 29.. Revelers flocked to west London for one of Europe's biggest street parties, with record numbers of police on duty to prevent a repetition of riots that shook the British capital three weeks ago. Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that usually draws about 1 million people for a colorful procession of musicians and performers. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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The children were very concentrated on painting the favela wall, but when I climbed up a house to take a panoramic shot I realized how tiny that one wall was among so much poverty.

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the most dangerous favela of Rio de Janeiro
After a harsh confrontation between police and the army against a gang of drug dealers, the security forces in Brazil have managed to gain control of the favela of Vila Cruzeiro, one of the most dangerous of Rio

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