City of Peril
City of Peril Male has loose building regulations which expose dwellers to unseen dangers.
The capital city of the Maldives, Male is the country’s largest urban centre in terms of population, infrastructure and development. In fact, Male is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with a third of the country’s population living in this tiny city with a total area of 5.8 square km. The city is heavily urbanized with its built-up area taking up essentially its entire landmass. Many Maldivians and foreign workers living in other parts of the country find themselves in occasional short-term residence on the island since it is the center of administration and bureaucracy. A large number of people from across the country live in rented apartments in the congested capital. According to the 2014 census, the population of the Maldives stands at 341,256 people, of which 133,019 live in Malé.
One of the most pressing social issues of rapid urbanization in Male is urban congestion and lack of safe housing for the ever-increasing population. As a consequence, many Maldivians routinely succumb to accidents, given the rickety nature of the houses. Just recently, an eight- month-old toddler died when she fell down an open elevator shaft with her grandmother from the sixth floor of a residence in Male. According to media reports, the opening of the elevator shaft was previously secured with a threefoot concrete slab but it had recently been removed to install an elevator. Such incidents are common in Male where housing safety remains low on the priority list of the government.
The Ministry of Housing, however, claims that it issues permits for occupation after conducting safety inspections of buildings. Often, building