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European Journal

Spain: Living in a European Slum

Cañada Real is the biggest slum in the EU and lies on the outskirts of the Spanish capital Madrid. Tens of thousands of people live in illegally-built huts and shacks.

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Many of the residents who have recently moved to the slum are victims of Spain's financial crisis who could no longer afford their rent or mortgage. But the shanty town is a thorn in the eye of local authorities. Nearby communities that own the land want to turn Cañada Real into a recreation area. Bulldozers repeatedly show up to demolish the illegal dwellings. Now work is underway to find a fair and equitable solution.