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Local Agenda 21

& MANAGEMENT | shelter, settlement and housing

Enhancing shelter & settlement management includes measures to encourage slum improvement and neighbourhood rehabilitation for the urban poor, recognising informal shelter and settlement development, making suitable provision for the homeless, and providing the planning frameworks suited to expansion in ‘affordable’ housing.

quick links

local level city level
  international level websites

local level

Boonyabancha, Somsook (2000) - Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and infrastructure - Cambodia: The Urban Poor Development Fund (UPDF) A Case Study - Homeless International [pdf]

Cambodia - The violent political unrest has left the country with a lack of human and financial resources within government administrations and civil society. Today, poor planning hinders most aspects of development in the country as a whole and as a result more and more people are migrating to the capital city. Phnom Penh has therefore become the centre for hope and employment for many people in Cambodia. Phnom Penh, the capital-city and main urban centre, is now filled with the noisy energy of building, trading and growth. For those with nerve and resources, the city offers many opportunities to make money in a relatively unregulated environment. The local economy is expanding, making the city a magnet for investment from around Asia and elsewhere. It also draws an increasing number of migrants from the provinces – most of them poor – who come to the city looking for work believing that, after decades of upheaval, it is on the brink of a boom and offers employment opportunities for cheap labour. For the poor, the climb to prosperity is not easy. The city needs the poor, whose cheap labour is vital to economic growth, but is slow to acknowledge that they too have needs. In the mean time, they must live in squalid and dangerous conditions, without secure land tenure or basic services.

KOCER (2002) - The Last Resort of Destitute Families in Korea - KOCER / ACHR [pdf]

South Korea - A residentially destitute class that makes their home in a poor environment that does not meet minimum housing standards exist in no small amount. This class include a diverse range of people from street-sleepers to people who rent small spaces in basements and rooftops to shanty towns dwellers. Vinyl house community residents are also included in the residentially destitute class.

Florencia Almansi et al. (n.d) - Everyday Water Struggles in Buenos Aires: The Problem of Land Tenure in the Expansion of Potable Water and Sanitation Service to Informal Settlements - WaterAid / IIED [pdf]

Argentina - Joveli, Elisa and Cristina are women from three informal settlements in the Greater Buenos Aires and Greater La Plata Area. This area can be visualised as a continuous urban and suburban area of three rings extending from the City of Zarate down to La Plata, some 100 kilometers across, facing the river. At the centre of the rings is the city of Buenos Aires, the federal capital. Elisa lives in San Fernando, which is in the north of Buenos Aires. Joveli lives in Moreno, the westernmost municipality in the second ring. Cristina is in La Plata, at the end of the conurbation on the southeast. The stories of these three women, and the communities where they come from, reveal much about the drama and ‘everyday struggles’ over land and access to services by poor people in unplanned, informal and illegal settlements.

Mc Leod, Ruth (2002) - Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and infrastructure - India; SPARC A Case Study - Homeless International [pdf]

India - This case study examines the management of risks taken by a range of stakeholders in seeking to develop safe and secure housing for slum and pavement dwellers in Mumbai, India. The stakeholders are diverse, and the methodology used to examine the risks taken and how they are managed and mitigated, has been developed as dialogue with the main players has taken place and our insights have deepened. The study constituted an initial pilot in a broader investigation into how significant gaps in the provision of financial services to the poor can be addressed. Two specific projects initiated by SPARC and the (Indian) National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) are described and explored. The first, Kanjurmarg, comprises the resettlement of over 900 families previously living in shacks along the central railway track in Mumbai. The second, Rajiv Indira-Suryodaya, is a slum rehabilitation project initiated by NSDF and SPARC with two co-operative housing societies in Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum.

Olórtegui, Ingrid G (2001 ) - Informal Settlers in lima - Peru - May 2001 ESF/N-AERUS workshop [pdf]

Peru - Informal settlements have resulted from the activity of people trying to satisfy their basic needs in an adverse situation. The origin of the biggest manifestation of informal settlers in Lima came from the provinces of the country almost half a century ago. The third generation of this border people is on the way to continue the process of informality one more time, still not enough time to find solutions at the governmental level. The reduced attention oriented to the provinces of the country is increasing this migration problem, and its consequences are more and more serious.

Oriaro, Margaret (2000) - Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and Infrastructure - Kenya: Nachu - A Case Study - Homeless International [pdf]

Kenya - This case study describes the work and achievements of the “Fundación Pro Habitat” (the Pro Habitat Foundation) in Bolivia since 1992, and concludes by proposing a way forward on the basis on that foundation. To allow a better understanding of what has been, and can be, achieved as a result of that work, the study also offers a description of the national context, as well as the legal, financial, institutional and regulatory frameworks within which Pro Habitat has operated.

Rojas, Rafael E. (2000) - Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and Infrastructure - Bolivia: Fundacion Pro Habitat - Homeless International [pdf]

Bolivia - This case study describes the work and achievements of the “Fundación Pro Habitat” (the Pro Habitat Foundation) in Bolivia since 1992, and concludes by proposing a way forward on the basis on that foundation. To allow a better understanding of what has been, and can be, achieved as a result of that work, the study also offers a description of the national context, as well as the legal, financial, institutional and regulatory frameworks within which Pro Habitat has operated.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice -Baghdad Neighbourhood Rehabilitation [pdf]

Iraq - After more than 10 years of sanctions, local governments of Iraq have no longer been able to meet the housing needs (housing, water supply, sanitation, solid waste collection etc.) of their people. To put the concept of community participation into practice, pilot schemes of essential remedial measures have been undertaken in four low-income neighbourhoods in Baghdad. These areas are characterised by severe dilapidation of the living environment, infrastructure and services. The pilot schemes aim at improving the living conditions in human settlements in Iraq through the support of NGOs and the inhabitants themselves, thus reducing the burden on the municipalities.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice -Reintegration program for the Homeless to farming environment, Antananarivo [pdf]

Madagascar - Madagascar, with a population of 16 million people, is a least developed Island State located in the Indian Ocean. Economic and social crises have affected the country since 1970, increasing overall poverty levels. Hoping for a better life, peasants migrated to the capital city, Antananarivo but many have joined the homeless. In 2001, 10,000 people, including 6,000 children, were living in the streets of Antananarivo. They live off alms and have no access to basic sanitation facilities or medical care, and feed from dumpsters. In response to this pressing social issue the Franciscan family created ASA in June 1991 under the aegis of CIFM, the Inter-Franciscan Order of Madagascar. A.S.A.'s main objective is to reintegrate whole families in farming environment after a series of intense two-year agricultural studies.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Quamrul Islam Siddique-Case Study on a Slum Improvement Project in Dhaka Metropolitan City [pdf]

Bangladesh - The case study on the Slum Improvement Project (SIP) in Dhaka Metropolitan City, by the Local Government Engineering Department (as of 1991), was undertaken to highlight some of the innovative socio-economic programmes implemented for urban slum dwellers, as well as some lessons learned from them. The overall achievement of the SIP is satisfactory, as the model made a breakthrough in providing an integrated package of basic physical, social, and economic infrastructure services to the urban poor. Of all SIP components, the micro-credit programme has been found to be particularly successful and most attractive. Many poor households have increased their incomes using this facility. The SIP has significantly raised levels of health awareness among slum dwellers, resulting in significant reductions in the incidence of numerous diseases.

Vaa, Mariken - "Housing policy after political transition: the case of Bamako" - Environment & Urbanization, Vol 12 No 1, April 2000 - IIED [pdf]

Mali - This paper describes the new policy on urban development and housing which the Malian government launched after its transition to democracy in 1991 and discusses its effectiveness in reaching low-income groups in Bamako. After outlining Bamako’s growth and housing situation, and the 1991 political transition, the paper describes the new housing policy, formally adopted in 1995. The policy’s stated objective was to improve access to housing for low-income groups and it contained an ambitious programme of legalization and upgrading covering most of the city’s unauthorized settlements. However, this programme soon ran into difficulties and was suspended by government decree after only four years. Some institutional innovations regarding urban land markets and public works have been more successful but their relevance to improving poorer groups’ access to housing is limited. The legalization and upgrading programme has recently been resumed but its usefulness for low income households is still in question.

city level

Chularathna, H.M.U. (2000) - Land Tenure Issues and Improvement of Urban Low Income Settlements – Experiences of Colombo, Sri Lanka - Sevanatha [pdf]

Sri Lanka - This paper reviews past and present development programmes of low income housing improvement in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sliuzas, Richard (2001) - The role of knowledge and opinions in understanding dynamics of informal housing in Dar es Salaam - May 2001 ESF/N-AERUS workshop [pdf]

Tanzania - The formulation of policies related to informal housing and the development and implementation of intervention strategies in specific informal settlements are processes that should, ideally, be based upon a good understanding of the dynamics in such areas. In practice, in cities with a highly dynamic informal housing sector, the data that is required as a basis for this understanding is likely to be limited by deficiencies in either the spatial, thematic or temporal domains. For instance, official maps, a potential source of data on physical development processes of settlement creation, expansion and consolidation, may not cover the full extent of urban development at required scales and be produced irregularly at an interval of as much as 10 years. Thematically, our understanding of socio-economic processes in informal housing may also be limited by a lack of information on relevant variables.

Soares, Paulo Roberto Rodrigues - Understanding the map of irregular and informal settlements in the south of Brazil - May 2001 ESF/N-AERUS workshop [pdf]

Brazil - The subject of the illegality and informality of the urban settlements is intrinsically related with the urbanization process in Brazil, so that the Country is globally known by the "favelas" of the great cities. However, the phenomenon tends to sprawl for almost all the Brazilian cities starting from a certain size and development level. Pelotas (300,000 inhabitants) is a medium city of the south of Brazil, near to the border with Uruguay. We may consider it as a typical Brazilian and Latin-American city, sharing all the contradictions that characterize these urban areas. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the phenomenon of the irregular human settlements in the city, a structural component of its urban development, which could be classified as spacelly modernizator and socially conservative and unequal.

Taher, Nadia - Socio-Political and Economic Costs of a Donnor-Led Housing Programme: The Case of Rashed - Greater Cairo - Working Paper N° 84 - DPU [pdf]

Egypt - This paper will examine the socio-political and economic impacts of one of the largest USAID housing Projects in Egypt, `Housing and Community Upgrading For Low Income Egyptians'2 which was initiated by USAID in 1976. The Project, with a budget of $160 Million, was co-funded by the Government of Egypt (GOE) and USAID. It was located in Helwan, which is an industrial suburb 30 Km south from the centre of Cairo.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - A solution for the housing, Izmit [pdf]

Turkey - 1. To prevent unhealthy and unplanned development of slump areas around the borders of the city as seen in many fast developing industrial cities due to immigration of people mostly from the villages and sometimes from the other countries. To control settlement of people according to the city development plans. Since our city is in the first degree earthquake risk zone we had taken to take measures accordingly during designing these sites and buildings.
2. To provide affordable, modern and healthy houses with all infrastructure investments to the people who aren’t previously home owners. The prices of the houses should be an affordable price so that it should be like paying house rent so that it make homeless people become home owners; provided that the payments should meet the inflationary pressures on the real value of the money invested by the municipality.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Pilot resettlement project, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam [pdf]

Vietnam - Binh Trung Dông (BTD) ressettlement project :The projects carried out by Villes en Transition aim to contribute to a renewal of urban planning and management tools for planners and decision makers in transition cities. During the last 15 years, Vietnam housing policy was characterised by a hesitation between improvement on the spot (experimented at the end of the 80s) and relocation in blocks of flats inadapted to the poor in terms of form and price. The second tendency, which profoundly marked the 90s was an obsession for new and modern dwellings, rediscovered since the opening up of the country to the market economy. It also revealed a firm will to stop illegal urban immigration.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice -Projeto Terra (the land project), Espirito Santo [pdf]

Brazil - Projeto Terra (the Land Project) aims at eradicating poverty and organising urban land use through an integrated set of public works, social actions and public services, environmental preservation, income generation, land tenure and security. It also aims at improving the quality of life in various neighborhoods of the municipality where people live in dilapidated houses.The Project is designed to reach 36 neighborhoods, or 6.09 km2, with 86,462 inhabitants (33% of the city's total population), focusing on the most needy urban areas, where families have an average of 3.2 children and are often headed by women, with a per capita monthly income of less than US$ 10.58. As of 2001, Land Project improvements had reached 75% of the target population, covering nine of the 15 target neighbourhoods.

international level

Berner, Erhard (2000) - Informal developers, patrons, and the state: Institutions and regulatory mechanisms in popular housing - May 2000 ESF/N-AERUS workshop - Oxfam [pdf]

Black markets and shadow economies are coming into the bright light of research and policy making (not only) in the sector of popular housing. Now termed 'self-help housing', squatting in the cities of developing countries is increasingly seen as a solution much rather than a problem. Based on John Turner's seminal work, state regulation of the sector and public provision of housing in particular, are criticized as unrealistic, unacceptable to large parts of society, and highly counterproductive. In this neopopulist perspective (that has striking parallels to a neoliberal one), it is the informal sector that offers the main potential for fulfilling the shelter needs of rapidly growing urban populations. Its promotion is a centerpiece of 'enabling' or 'assisted self-help' strategies now promoted by many agencies headed by the World Bank (though in hardly any place translated into systematic policies).

Jack, Malcom (n.d) - Poverty, Children and Shelter - Homeless International [pdf]

The importance of the relationship between housing and poverty, and its particular relevance to the situation of children, is not always acknowledged in international development policy. Secure, good quality housing and its associated infrastructure (water, sanitation, drainage, electricity and waste disposal) is vital to people's wellbeing, but many poor people find that they do not have sufficient access to them. Similarly, relocation, forced eviction and the impact of natural
disasters (all acute problems to poor families living in rudimentary facilities) particularly threaten children's welfare and development. For example, poor quality, insecure housing imposes enormous health and safety costs on its inhabitants. Children's educational opportunities are also severely restricted by a family's need to concentrate time and money on maintaining shelter and related infrastructure, often requiring children to take on basic domestic responsibilities and / or income-generating tasks from an early age.

Mc Leod, Ruth & David Satterthwaite (n.d) - Why Housing? The Significance of Housing Investment As a Means Of Eliminating Poverty - Homeless International [pdf]

Poor people are frequently described as 'living in poverty', but few aid agencies have given any priority to directly improving their living conditions. Perhaps this is because the importance to poor people of secure, good quality housing and its associated infrastructure (water, sanitation, drainage, electricity and waste disposal) has frequently been underestimated...

Scott, Leckie (1999) - Housing Rights - UNDP [pdf]

Can housing rights be defined to be classified as enforceable human rights? · How absolute is the guarantee provided by housing rights? · Are states obliged to build homes for everyone once they accept housing rights? · Are housing rights recognised under national laws? · Are states that have accepted housing rights required to adopt national legislation? · Can housing rights be violated in the same way as other human rights? · Are housing rights affordable? · Are housing rights really rights or merely goals or aspirations?

SPARC - Norms and standards in Urban Development - SPARC [pdf]

The founder-members of SPARC were not professionals in urban development and housing. Hence, the rules and regulations that determine planning in the city, allocation of resources and space, slum upgrading and redevelopment were never considered sacrosanct. There was no history of being socialized into an acceptance of the parameters laid down by the Municipal Corporation or the State Government. Since SPARC began its work with pavement-dwellers, this constituency of the poorest of the poor in the city remained the touch-stone to assess the fairness or otherwise of norms and standards set by the State and its agencies. There is no doubt that the Independence of India marked a significant break from the past: the new governments in the States and at the Centre set social and economic equality as the centrepieces of the planning framework. However, independent India inherited many of the bureaucratic and technical perspectives from its colonial past. There is an enduring belief amongst town planners and other professionals that the subject is a technical one and therefore to be dealt with only by those who have technical expertise.

UN Economic and Social Council - Commission on Human Rights - (2001) - Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living - United Nations [pdf]

The development of the human right to adequate housing as a legal and advocacy tool has gained momentum during the past decade, particularly through the consistent work of civil society. The related embedding of this right in the United Nations human rights programme and as a key component of the Habitat Agenda have ensured the recognition of the right to housing as a cornerstone human right. Notwithstanding this, it is clear that in reality, the general housing situation is deteriorating for the majority of poor and vulnerable groups. Available statistical estimates suggest that there are at least 100 million people in the world living with no shelter at all. Between 30 and 70 million children worldwide are living on the streets.

Ward, Peter M. - The Rehabilitation of Consolidated Irregular Settlements in Latin American Cities: Towards a Third Generation of Public Policy Housing Analysis and Development - May 2001 ESF/N-AERUS workshop [pdf]

Against the 1980s-90s backdrop of democratic change, government decentralization and downsizing, the privatization of social policy and devolution to local government, there is an urgent need for a new phase of research and normative policy development. This "third generation" approach also stems from within a sustainable and local government implementation paradigm. The paper reports on proposed research that will begin to address the understudied arena of urban revitalization - specifically in this case the older irregular settlements that were established twenty or more years ago. These areas are relatively fully consolidated, comprising as they do all services, paved streets and brick-built often two-story dwellings, etc. However, while many of the original owner-settler households remain, these areas are mixed residential and tenure, offering an important housing niche for some of the most vulnerable families: female headed households, the elderly, and others who form part of the so-called "new poor" who are increasingly excluded from the urban economy as well as from public and private welfare supports.






Documents highlighting DFID's work in support of shelter and housing in urban areas:

Baumann, Ted, Joel Bolnick & Diana Mitlin (2001) - The age of cities and organizations of the urban poor: the work of the South African Homeless People’s Federation and the
People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter
- IIED / DFID [pdf]

South Africa - The South African Homeless People’s Federation was established in 1994 to represent autonomous local organizations that had developed savings and credit schemes and were developing their own housing schemes. Its national character, active membership, autonomy and
high level of participation make it one of the most significant housing movements in Africa. With
over 80,000 households within its member groups, power and decision making are highly decentralized with individual organizations responsible for their own development activity and

Patel, Sheela; Diana Mitlin & Mahila Milan (2001) - The work of SPARC, the National Slum Dwellers Federation - IIED / DFID [pdf]

India - This paper describes the work of an Indian NGO, SPARC and its Alliance with the women’s cooperatives (Mahila Milan) formed by pavement dwellers and the National Slum Dwellers Federation. This Alliance has shown how work in many different areas such as community-based savings and credit groups, pilot projects, housing construction, the development of toilet blocks and the management of resettlement can contribute to poverty reduction, as long as these are based on what communities can do for themselves and the communities retain control.

2003 Development Planning Unit | Sikandar Hasan | Anna Soave | Khanh Tran-Thanh || Tina Simon