Navigator Insights

Partnerships to deliver affordable housing to developing countries

The increased land pressure in urban areas has resulted in increased densification and marginalisation of the informal settlements. However, the high land values and the attraction of land to be used for commercial interest has brought about opportunities for partnership between the private sector, government and communities in supply of affordable housing.

In most cases, commercial development rights on plots were granted to private sector enterprises that would in return build affordable housing on a specified percentage of the total land under development. E.g. include:

· Revitalization of the rivers Fu and Nan in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
· Private developers build a minimum of three middle-class houses and six basic or very basic
ones for every high-cost house, National Housing Policy, Indonesia
· Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in Mumbai

Land sharing has emerged as a successful alternative to compulsory acquisition. Under land sharing arrangement, the landowner (public or private) and the occupiers (squatters) reach an agreement whereby the landowners retain the economically more attractive parts of the land parcel and the dwellers are allowed to build houses on the other part, usually with full tenure rights.  The slums dwellers benefit by getting security of tenure and proper housing while the private landowners gets waiver on development controls allowing for intensive exploitation of the commercial part of land.

This success partnership approach has significant weakness in terms of the type of housing, quality of life and in some cases economic opportunities for communities. Most of such affordable housing is multi-storeyed with no limited flexibility of using streets as a place for interaction, running a small enterprise and cohesiveness of being a community. It is critical to explore incremental housing improvement approaches along with the partnership approach to ensure preserving the vibrant community cohesive that exists in the marginalised communities.

Our Navigator Partner Aman Mehta is an experienced urban development, shelter and disaster management professional having worked in more than ten countries.

Image courtesy of artur84 /