Boom Boosting Growth of Slums

Immaculate Wairimu – -April 10, 2013

Mrs Wambui Kariku, a 43-year-old mother of three, has been shopping for a house since 2011. She lived in a three-bedroom house and shared washroom and kitchen facilities with four other families with rent of Sh8,000 per month.
She had hoped to enjoy the living standards availed by a two or three bedroom self-contained bungalows in a secure gated community but thanks to her financial situation, this became a distant dream.

She visited other modern developments she thought would be affordable, but their distance from the central business district proved prohibitive. She gave her landlord a month notice when she finally secured a three bedroom modern apartment in Embakasi, East of Nairobi.

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Edesio Fernandes – Informal Settlements: What Can South Africa Learn From The Brazilian Experience? – April 10, 2013

Despite South Africa’s impressive housing delivery numbers, the growing rates of informal urban development in South Africa have clearly indicated the limits of the national government’s housing policy to date. In this context, what can South Africa learn from the Brazilian experience regarding the matter of how to confront the phenomenon of informal development? After all, there are many possible layers of comparison between both countries, to such an extent that Brazil’s economic development especially since the 1970s, including its resulting socio-spatial structure, has often been criticised as a process of “social apartheid”. Unlike South Africa, urban development has long consolidated in Brazil, with 83% of people currently living in urban areas.

This process has been visibly marked by intense socio-spatial segregation, and over several decades an enormous segment of Brazilian society – the vast majority, in many cities – have only had access to urban land and housing through a wide range of informal processes. However, informal development is not new in Brazil, nor is the formulation of public policies aimed at the regularisation of consolidated informal settlements. I would argue that there are several general, conceptual lessons, both positive and negative, that can be learnt from the Brazilian experience by South African public authorities and community organisations, especially while the South-African process of urban development is still far more manageable than the Brazilian one. In hoping to contribute towards this growing discussion in South Africa, I will briefly present my main findings following over three decades dealing with the matter of informal development in Brazil, as well as in several other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

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Ramon Bolima – Urbanization

What is urbanization?
Why is urbanization happening?
How can be urbanization related to globalization?
How is urbanization affecting us?
How important is urbanization?

This video may shed some light to those questions about urbanization.

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Allan Golden Zimbwa – Securitisation And Its Application To Low Cost Housing Finance In South Africa

Section 26 of the Constitution of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 provides that housing is a basic human right and that the government must take reasonable legislative and other measures to achieve the realisation of this right. A number of measures were taken to try to resolve this socio-economic issue. A number of housing institutions were established , various pieces of legislation were passed and housing subsidies were provided. However, housing backlogs remain a challenge. In March 1994 the housing backlog was estimated between 1,3 and 1,8 million units. When more than a million houses were provided by 2001 , the housing backlog had increased to between 2 and 3 million houses. To date subsidies in excess of R29 billion have been spent on housing provision.

A study by the Department of Housing concluded that, at the current rate of increase of housing funding vis-a-vis the growing backlog and rapid urbanisation, the household backlog will not be changed in ten years’ time. The United States of America (USA) had a similar low cost housing problem, but securitisation alleviated it with the participation of government agencies Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac. In South Africa, the NHFC tried to emulate the USA model by establishing Gateway Home Loans (Pty) Limited (Gateway) in 1999. Gateway, however, was not a success. This research investigates whether securitisation can be applied in South Africa to alleviate the low cost housing issue. The study finds that there is a credit availability gap for the low income sector earning less than R8 000 per month because of the perceived risk of default and unwillingness by banks to lend to this sector. The increase in housing backlog that continues unabated, inadequate housing finance system to low income earners, the lessons learnt from the failure of Gateway, the success factors of the USA securitisation model and the sound and sophisticated South African financial system are the rationale for applying securitisation. A proposal of how to effectively apply securitisation to low cost housing in South Africa is provided with recommendations to revive the primary market.

PhD-thesis (Rhodes University):

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Minister Slams State Over Poor Implementation Of  Slum Scheme

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times -Mumbai, April 04, 2013

Union minister for housing and poverty alleviation Ajay Maken has slammed the state government for their delayed decisions on slum housing policies and apathy towards urban poor.

Following a meeting with a delegation led by social activist Medha Patkar over the slum demolitions in Mumbai, Maken, on Tuesday, wrote a letter to chief minister and state housing minister Prithviraj Chavan. In his letter, he questioned the state government’s delay in the implementation of the Rajiv Awas Yojana, a central government scheme aimed at creating slum-free India.

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Housing Policy In The EU Member States – Directorate General for Research 
Working Document 
Social Affairs Series 
- W 14 –

Introduction, Housing:  a Question for Europe?

Mixed progress

The recent UN Habitat II meeting in, by drawing attention to the appalling housing conditions facing billions of households in the poorer half of the globe, served to emphasise the relatively high average quality of housing within the European Union. At the same time there is a widespread view that housing and neighbourhood conditions for the poorest third of Europeans are neither as intolerable nor as socially divisive as for Americans, especially in the inner cities. In the Union as a whole, but with considerably more emphasis in northern and western Europe, governments have long promoted active housing policies, frequently absorbing from one to four per cent of GDP. And in every Union country, with two exceptions, there is an over-riding policy objective that adequate, affordable housing should be available to all, Maclennan and Williams (1990), McCrone and Stephens (1995).

The reality is, however, that almost every European government fails to achieve their laudable objective. This may reflect resource constraints for public spending, changing socio-economic patterns to which policy only responds slowly, demographic pressures and shocks (such as the vast, post-1989 influx of refugees into a ring of countries from Greece to Germany) or the inherent failure of, sometimes, expensive policy solutions. At the level of the individual the 1990s growth in homelessness and the apparent backlog of provision for the elderly, the disabled and a range of special needs are cause for concern. At neighbourhood and city level the recorded expansion, in many countries, of the economically and socially disadvantaged in both older, over-crowded and low amenity central city areas and in post war social housing estates is heightening concerns about the causes and consequences of social exclusion. At the national level housing market instability has, in the 1980s and 1990s, created particular difficulties for less wealthy home-owners in Britain, Sweden, Finland, Spain and regions of other countries. And in some countries the priority given to curtailing public spending has prompted reductions in capital spending and led to major re-orientations of housing policy; for example, in Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and most recently France. The same policy imperatives are now questioning support systems for rental payments. Much of Europe is uneasy with its housing policies and outcomes, Dieleman (1996).

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