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PHOTO Housing the Urban Poor


									                 housing                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 approaches to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  housing the urban poor

                 the poor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here are five approaches to housing the poor in cities that can be used for solving housing prob-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lems, which have been used with various degrees of success in Asia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The full involvement of women is the best guarantee that any housing project will be a success.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Women are the key stakeholders in any community housing project, whether it involves on-site
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    upgrading or resettlement to new land. So it is important that space be created for women to

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    play a full role in all stages of the planning and implementation process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1        On-site upgrading
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On-site upgrading means improving the physical,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  social and economic environment of an existing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  informal settlement, without displacing the people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  who live there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When cities and governments support the process                                          PHOTO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  of upgrading informal communities, it is the least

          Low-income housing: Approaches                                                                                                                                                                                                          expensive, most humane way of enhancing a city’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  much-needed stock of affordable housing, instead of

          to help the urban poor find adequate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  destoying it. Unlike resettlement, upgrading causes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  minimal disturbance to people’s lives and to the

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           PHOTO: UNESCAP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  delicate networks of mutual support which exist in

          accommodation                                                                                                                                                                                                                           poor communities.

          Not all of Asia’s urban poor live in slums, and conversely,                               For some policy-makers and professionals, slums em-                         cupants participate fully in the urban economy, bring to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           2        Resettlement
          not all those who live in slums are poor. However, the                                    body all things negative: disease, crime, political unrest,                 their city immense cultural diversity and dynamism, and           When poor communities can’t redevelop in the same
          poor quality of housing and lack of basic services that are                               misbehavior and ignorance. But research over many                           are characterized not by laziness or delinquency but by           place, resettlement to alternative land may be the
          common in slums represent a clear dimension of urban                                      years has revealed that slums are highly organized                          energy, creativity, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial           only option. But resettlement should never be the
          poverty.                                                                                  human settlements, both spatially and socially. Their oc-                   skills. Some established slums contain within them-               first-choice option for policy makers, and when it
                                                                                                                                                                                selves vibrant local economies, with their own informal           does happen, the affected communities should be
                                                                                                                                                                                housing and land markets and their own diverse social             centrally involved in every step of the planning and
                                                                                                                                                                                and cultural groupings.                                           implementing of the project. This is vital in order to                                   PHOTO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  minimize the dramatic negative effects than can
                                                                                                                                                                                Because of the rich diversity of slums within cities and          otherwise occur such as breaking up social networks                                       1-F
                                                                                                                                                                                within regions, it is important that governments and              and communities, dramatically reducing people’s
                                                                                                                                                                                NGOs seek to first understand the characteristics of              earning capacities, increasing their transport costs,
                                                                                                                                                                                any slum in which they plan to intervene.                         interrupting their children’s schooling and generally

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   PHOTOS: ACHR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  increasing poverty.
                                                                                                                                                                                Slum-dwellers hold the key to that understanding, if
                                                                                                                                                                                outsiders can only listen to them. Slum residents have

                                                                                                                                                                                the best knowledge of how their settlements work, the
                                                                                                                                                                                characteristics of their communities and the nature of              Government-built new public housing
                                                                                                                                                                                their needs and priorities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When governments design, build and deliver low-
                                                                            PHOTO                                                                                                  No two are alike                                               income housing, it is seen as a way of ensuring that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the housing is of good quality and developed in an
                                                                             1-A                                                                                                   To understand what to do, policy-makers have                   “orderly” manner.
                                                                                                                                                                                   to appreciate the diversity within and between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Public housing that is built by the state is still an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  option, but there is increasing evidence that this                                       PHOTO
                                                                                                                                                                                   Once you start to look beneath the outer layers
                                                                                                                                                                                   and begin to examine what’s going on under-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  solution is too expensive. In order to make such
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  public housing affordable to the poor, the costs of
                                                                                                                                                                                   neath, you will find complex support systems at                constructing and managing it must be heavily sub-
                                                                                                                                                                                   work, in which the prominent note is resourceful-              sidized. Very few governments have the political will
                                                                                                                                                                                   ness, not hopelessness.                                        or the financial resources to build enough housing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             PHOTO: UNESCAP
                                                                                                                                                                                   This resourcefulness is a common denominator                   to meet even a fraction of the housing needs of the
                                                                                                                                                                                   whether looking at katchi abadis in Karachi,                   city’s poor.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Pakistan, ger areas in Ulanbataar, Mongolia,
                                                                                                                                                                                   rooftop slums in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a
                                                                                                                                                                                   garbage dump slum in Manila, Philippines or a           4        Sites-and-services schemes

                                                                                                                                                                                   footpath slum in Mumbai, India.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where governments are unable to provide adequate,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ready-built shelter to all the urban poor households
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  who need it, one option is for the state to become

                             what are slums and squatter settlements?                                                                                                                                                                             a facilitator of the self-help housing efforts by the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  poor themselves.

                             Urban poor settlements come in a variety of sizes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One way to do this is for governments to provide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  plots and basic services in a planned manner, but
                             and shapes and are called by many names — not
                             only “slums”.
                                                                                                      What makes an urban                                                         And why do slums exist                                          let people build their own houses on that land. These                                     1-H
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  are called sites-and-services schemes, and are an
                             Slum is used frequently as a catch-all word to
                                                                                                      community a slum?                                                           at all in Asian cities?                                         attempt to strike a balance between minimum, so-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cially-acceptable housing conditions and what their
                             describe a wide range of low-income settlements.                        Despite their variety, slums tend to share a number                         While conditions in many slums may indeed be                     low-income beneficiaries can afford.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PHOTO: ACHR

                             The word slum traditionally describes a neighbor-                       of characteristics.                                                         unhealthy, impoverished and socially excluding,
                             hood of housing that was once in good condition                                                                                                     these conditions only come about because of
                             but has since deteriorated or been subdivided into a                        POOR BASIC SERVICES: It lacks basic ser-

                                                                                                                                                                                 the absence of alternatives and opportunities for
                             state of overcrowding and rented out to low-income
                                                                                                         vices such as adequate access to safe water,
                                                                                                         paved walkways, drains, sanitation and other
                                                                                                                                                                                 their residents.                                                   City-wide housing strategies
                                                                                                         essential infrastructure.                                               In many Asian cities, slums are home to over 50 per
                             A squatter settlement, on the other hand, is an                                                                                                                                                                      Solving all the housing problems in our cities is
                                                                                                         POOR HOUSING: It contains dilapidated or low-                           cent of the city’s population. Slums and squatter
                             area of poor quality housing built on illegally-occu-                                                                                                                                                                something that is possible. But to do that, all the
                                                                                                         quality housing structures that are not in line with                    settlements exist because the poor cannot afford
                             pied land. A third kind of settlement is an irregular                                                                                                                                                                stakeholders — the local and national governments,
                                                                                                         building bylaws.                                                        or access even the most minimal housing provided
                             subdivision, in which the owner has subdivided the                                                                                                                                                                   the aid agencies, the support NGOs, the technicians
                                                                                                         OVERCROWDED: It is characterized by ex-                                 by the formal land and housing markets.
                             land into small, often sub-standard plots for sale or                                                                                                                                                                and the communities themselves — need to be
                                                                                                         tremely high density of dwellings and popula-                                                                                            involved and need to find space to collaborate and
                             rent, without following all relevant regulations and
                             building bylaws.                                                            tion.
                                                                                                                                                                                 Many also face enormous barriers in accessing
                                                                                                                                                                                 housing and land because of the time and red tape                develop a range of innovative solutions.                                                 PHOTO
                                                                                                         POOR LIVING CONDITIONS: It has an un-                                   involved. Slums are the products of failed policies,                                                                                                       1-I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           PHOTO: HOMELESS INTERNATIONAL

                             Within these categories, there are many variations,                         healthy living environment and may be located                           bad governance, corruption, inappropriate regula-                This means more horizontal links between poor
                             according to location, land-ownership patterns, policy                      on hazardous land or land unfit for habitation.                         tions, market-driven land allocation, unresponsive               communities, more room for innovation in the policy
                             contexts and local cultural traditions. UN-HABITAT                                                                                                  financial systems and a fundamental lack of political            environment, more public investment in infrastruc-
                                                                                                         TENURE INSECURITY: Its residents are faced                                                                                               ture and in building vision and capacity.
                             defines a slum household as a group of people living                                                                                                will.
                                                                                                         with insecure land tenure and the daily threat
                             under the same roof in an urban area who lack one
                                                                                                         of eviction.                                                            Each of these failures adds to the toll on a vulnerable
                             or more of the following conditions: durable housing,
                             sufficient living area, access to clean water, access                       POVERTY: Its residents experience high levels                           group of people who are already deeply burdened
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           This poster on low-income housing was extracted from a longer publication which is part of a set of seven
                             to proper sanitation and secure tenure.                                     of poverty and social exclusion.                                        by poverty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Quick Guides prepared by UNESCAP and UN-HABITAT under their respective projects on “Housing the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Poor in Urban Economies” and ‘’Strengthening National Training Capabilities for Better Local Governance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           and Urban Development.” There are seven posters which draw on each of the Quick Guides, covering
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           the following housing-related issues: urbanization, low-income housing, eviction, land, housing finance,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           community-based organizations and rental housing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The objective of the Quick Guides is to improve the understanding of policy makers at national and local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           levels on pro-poor housing and urban development within the framework of urban poverty reduction.
                                                 PHOTO                                                                   PHOTO                                                                      PHOTO                                  The posters and the Quick Guides can be downloaded from the website www.housing-the-urban-
                                                  1-B                                                                     1-C                                                                        1-D
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           For more information please contact:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           UNESCAP at or the Training and Capacity Building Branch of UN-HABITAT at
              PHOTOS: ACHR

                                                                                                                                                                  PHOTO: ACHR
                                                                                      PHOTO: ACHR

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