VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 1 POSTED ON: 9/24/2012
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 inAsiancities 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 1-E 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 3 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 slums. 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 1-G 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 PHOTO: ACHR 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 PHOTO 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- 5 the absence of alternatives and opportunities for state of overcrowding and rented out to low-income households. 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 poor.net. For more information please contact: UNESCAP at email@example.com or the Training and Capacity Building Branch of UN-HABITAT at firstname.lastname@example.org. PHOTOS: ACHR PHOTO: ACHR PHOTO: ACHR
"PHOTO Housing the Urban Poor"