The Urban Housing Manual: Making Regulatory Frameworks Work for the Poor

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After all these boundaries had been established, the planner designed pedestrian pathways to each site by walking between the shacks.

When this plan was almost ready, a surveyor pegged out the sites based on the working plan, using landmarks to set out pegs. A dispute resolution process was put in place in those few cases where arguments arose. The project started as a UF project. The UF set up a trust that was dominated by the UF with a few community representatives, but a few years later a new trust was established with a majority of community-based trustees. Today, all trustees are from the community. These 30 elected representatives run the project, appointing consultants as required. The more room there is for communities to take charge of this planning, the greater the chances are that the project will be a success.

Carrying out the actual upgrading work: This is the exciting stage where the work actually gets done, and a slum is transformed into a clean, well serviced new neighbourhood. During this stage, houses are built or improved, drains are laid, water pipe networks are buried and hooked up to individual houses, lanes are paved, electric poles are put up, trees are planted and fences are painted.

All this work can be done in different ways. At one extreme, all the work can be contracted out by tender, to a builder or an NGO. Or at the other extreme, the entire project can be built by the community members themselves, who contribute their labour and manage everything collectively. The longterm maintenance of the improvements is also an important task for communities to take on. Continued community meetings can become a platform for ongoing planning and collaboration with their local governments and NGO supporters.

Living conditions of many local communities were bleak: they relied on privately provided water tanks, and had no other basic services.

Innovative housing for the urban poor - Rhea Silva - TEDxGSMC

These communities were without clear representation or a formal voice in urban politics. In community meetings people talked about their requirements, prioritizing these through long deliberations. Eventually the process led to community members working with the authorities to provide water standpipes, electricity connections and the building of a school.

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Community contributions included fundraising and manual labour — for example building the school classrooms themselves or taking complete responsibility for the funding and erection of an electricity substation. The authorities provided funding and major infrastructural inputs, and in the case of the school, teachers were supplied to staff the facility. During this interaction, service providers came to view the community as a cooperative and engaged part of the development solution. Who does this?

Debate: Subsidization of poor communities

Whose interests are being served? Who pays? Because low-income housing is so scarce, demolishing slums and informal settlements and relocating their inhabitants causes a net loss of housing units nobody can afford to replace, and compounds the problems of housing shortages. But in reality, the resettlement of informal communities is sometimes unavoidable. When this is the only option, it should always happen with the agreement of most residents. In recent years, large projects in many African cities have displaced thousands of poor households. Many of these projects are funded by multilateral lending agencies like the World Bank which have strict guidelines to ensure that people are resettled properly and voluntarily.

Even so, most of these projects have not gained the cooperation or support of those being resettled. Putting people at the centre of the resettlement process Most poor communities have no wish to obstruct an important urban development project which threatens to displace them if the project is truly for the larger public good.

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But if their needs are not respected, and the process to relocate them to make way for that project is done without their participation, they may not be so willing to cooperate. Residents should be involved in all aspects of planning, including setting dates for moving, organizing transport, choosing the relocation site, designing the community layout, housing units and infrastructure systems, and managing the allotment process.

They should also be supported to organize their own small area-based groups which. In Kenya, the Jamii Bora Trust assists poor households to resettle in better housing, in an environment where social and economic possibilities exist for them to improve their lives.

It works in slums and informal settlements throughout Kenya, assisting members in moving beyond poverty by providing access to crucial services — such as affordable housing and education — and by providing a supportive network, in order to enable economic self-empowerment. Jamii Bora Trust has recently launched Kaputei Town, a pioneering urban planning project 60 km south of Nairobi which is designed to be eco-friendly and will include residential neighbourhoods, commercial, cultural and social centres as well as a wetlands wastewater recycling facility.

New residents will include local small business owners who can bring their enterprises to Kaputei Town to generate an internal micro-economy. Building new towns such as Kaputei will contribute greatly to removing pressure on the city centre and creating new economic ecosystems that have their own micro-economy and that complement neighbouring communities and local industry.

The disruption caused by resettlement affects everyone living in a settlement very much. How can this be done? If the residents oppose the resettlement and refuse to leave their homes, attempting to demolish their houses constitutes forced eviction. The most essential trust-building. By the early s, Maweni had expanded so much that it started experiencing the usual informal settlement problems of overcrowding and lack of basic infrastructure, with residents living in perpetual fear of forced eviction by the government who owned the land. Though the majority of residents were, and still are, poor, even those who could afford to invest in improving their living conditions were reluctant to do so due to this insecurity.

However, the opportunities present for people to live on a site less than m from the CBD in Voi Municipality represented a very attractive situation. In an effort to secure land rights, the Maweni informal settlers formed and registered a Self-Help Group with the Ministry of Social Services in June Its primary objective was to provide a more equitable and democratic distribution of residential and commercial plots in Maweni to facilitate the provision of decent housing to the squatters through a self-help approach.

This involved identifying and providing low-cost housing for squatters, establishing a management system and means of control, including the establishment of minimum building standards, and negotiating the acquisition of land from the government.

Debate: Subsidization of poor communities - Debatepedia

In , the government gave the Group leasehold to the land they occupy. This land could only accommodate families, leaving out thousands more landless households. The committee applied for additional land from the government. This was granted, on condition that the group be registered as a housing cooperative. Most of the houses are built informally, i.

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These shelters are built incrementally; starting with a 25 m2 room, residents make extensions according to their abilities. Once they have demonstrated their ability and willingness to become permanent Maweni residents by carrying out improvements to their shelter, they are given loans by the cooperative and encouraged to construct houses. The land chosen can make or break a resettlement project If the new land is of good quality and at a good location, then the cooperation and participation of affected residents will be easier to get. Attempts to resettle people to land that is far from job opportunities will always be met with hostility and lead to declining levels of trust between residents and government authorities.

Within all towns and cities, tracts of vacant land are often held by various public sector bodies. Negotiations between public agencies, community groups and supporting NGOs to identify good land for resettlement near the old slums can take a long time. But it is possible for communities to end up with a decent piece of land for resettlement if they organize and prepare themselves, search for land they like and have the stamina to see these negotiations through.

Quality: A suitable piece of land for resettlement should provide the affected people with access to basic infrastructure and should have no physical, environmental or health hazards. Location: The new land has to enable people to maintain or rebuild their livelihoods, social networks and survival strategies with minimal disruption, so the site should be close to job opportunities, with easy access to public services such as schools, clinics, banks and transport links.

In order to make such public housing affordable to the poor, though, the costs of constructing and managing it must be heavily subsidized.

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The sad fact, though, is that the impact of. Little or no per-unit subsidy has been given, so that more units could be built. Often the new housing becomes too expensive and can only be afforded by relatively well-off households. At the same time, if a larger per-unit subsidy were given, which would allow poorer groups to afford them, this would mean that relatively few housing units could be built.

Creating state-built slums There have also been plenty of complaints about inaccessibility, poor services, bad design and sub-standard construction in many state-built programmes. In many projects people move in and out very rapidly, with higher-income groups invariably moving in and the poor moving out and returning to squatter settlements. Experience shows that large-scale public housing delivery is not a solution Large-scale programmes to construct subsidized, standardized, fully complete housing units for existing and future poor households are too costly for the governments in.

Considerable progress has been made in spite of rapid urbanization. In , households, one-third of urban dwellers, lived in substandard housing. Of those, urban households resided in slum settlements in 70 urban areas, the highest concentration being in the Casablanca-Fes-Tangier triangle. In the government launched an aggressive slum upgrading programme with the goal of providing all slum households with improved units by and meeting the needs of family formation. This ambitious programme involves the private sector in the development of affordable housing units and serviced lots per year.

A survey of slum dwellers found that only one-third of residents were able to afford new subsidized apartments. Up to , projects involving units were launched. Completion was slower than expected and only 24 units had been allocated by the end of September ; another 11 remained unsold to eligible slum dwellers who were unable or unwilling to buy.

As a result, there was a rapid decrease in the percentage of slum households from to In Casablanca and Rabat, the proportions fell from By , no household had more than two shelter deprivations and the vast majority had only one, largely related to overcrowding. Access to water, sanitation and durable housing is now almost universal in these cities.


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The policy was based on the provision of one-off capital subsidies to households that had incomes below a certain level.