Extending Themselves

Extending Themselves: User Initiated Transformations of Government-built Housing in Developing Countries

Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Extending Themselves
    Book Description:

    Many countries have large stocks of government-built housing which, for various reasons, are in poor physical conditions and/or do not conform to the expectations of occupants. The occupants of such housing frequently make unauthorised but quite considerable changes and extensions (transformations) to their dwellings. This book examines user-initiated transformations to government-built housing in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana and Zimbabwe, surveyed in a research programme sponsored by the UK Department for International Development. The 1600 dwellings surveyed show how relatively low-income households are capable of supplying new rooms and services both to improve their own housing conditions and to supply rental rooms or accommodation for family members living rent-free. The new construction is often of at least as good quality as the original structures and sometime envelopes the original in a new skin. It is clear that transformation adds accommodation and services to existing housing, upgrades the housing stock, and creates variety out of uniformity. The study leads to policy suggestions to encourage transformations for the renewal of government housing. These include the provision of loan finance; the encouragement of co-operation between neighbours, especially in multi-storey housing; and the planned colonisation of open space next to the dwellings where plots are not provided. For new housing, it is clear that designs for new areas are only the beginning of an on-going development process rather than a blueprint for once-for-all development.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-309-7
    Subjects: Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    In January, 1984, CARDO staff were in Egypt with our Masters course students when, on a visit to 15th May City, Helwan, we passed an apartment housing area which had begun to sprout extensions on all five floors. On our free afternoon, Nick Wilkinson and I went back to Helwan, with one of our students, Shahidul Ameen, and sought out this seemingly bizarre phenomenon. Sure enough, balconies had been filled in rather more than usual for Egypt, goat and turkey cages were slung on the outside of the flats, and an occasional upper floor dweller had cantilevered out an extension....

  5. 2. The housing squeeze
    (pp. 21-39)

    It is almost impossible to determine the shortage of housing in the developing world as not only are insufficient data available but also there is little agreement between countries on units of measurement or what constitutes adequacy. Furthermore, the relationship between households and housing is so dynamic that any data are soon out of date. In addition, it takes so long for housing data to be collated that census data from 1990 may not be available before 1996 or 1997. When dealing with people who are actually homeless, UNCHS (1996c) suggests that 100 million people in the world lack any...

  6. 3. More than just a dwelling
    (pp. 40-59)

    A house is more than just a dwelling. It is a source of identity and status and a demonstrator of both to the outside world. It may become identified with, and a place of assembly for, a wider family or lineage than occupies it from day to day (a family house). It may also be a location for the business which provides the basic necessities of life or for one that augments a main income. In this chapter, we can see how transformations assist in turning a simple dwelling into a structure which can fulfil some or all of these...

  7. 4. The financial element: transformation as an investment
    (pp. 60-79)

    It is necessary to examine measures of income at this stage as the issue of housing investment hinges on the financial resources of the households. In our consideration of incomes in this comparative study, we have followed Summers and Heston (1988) in the use of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which adjusts local costs through multiplying the official exchange rate by a factor related to the cost of living in that country to a hard currency, in our case pounds sterling.

    Experience has shown that income and expenditure questions elicit very different data. Previous work in Ghana has consistently found that...

  8. 5. Sustainability issues
    (pp. 80-102)

    Following the UNCED ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro, the concept of sustainable development has been in the forefront of international thinking about human settlements. As set out in Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992), sustainable development implies a new concept of economic growth – one that provides fairness and opportunity for all the world’s people, not just the privileged few, without further destroying the world’s natural resources and without compromising the carrying capacity of the globe; development which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

    Agenda 21 recognises that urbanisation offers unique opportunities for the supply of sustainable environmental infrastructure, and that the...

  9. 6. The transformation process
    (pp. 103-120)

    Transformation of government-built housing can be likened to attaching informal development to the most formally developed areas found in many cities. In the past, we have become used to informal housing supply taking place in particular areas, typically on unused land within the urban built-up area (railway reservations, land assigned to future government use, steep slopes, land liable to flooding, etc.) or on its periphery. These settlements often present acute discomfiture to land-use planners because they create obstacles to smooth implementation of planned development, e.g. the Klong Toey settlement and port facilities in Bangkok (Durande-Lasserve and Pajoni, 1993), or put...

  10. 7. The case for transformations
    (pp. 121-146)

    Just as the sheer ubiquity and scale of squatting in the 1960s led writers and officials to argue that something had to be done to allow, regularise and improve such development, we can argue that one part of the case for transformation is its widespread popularity among residents. It is so popular that it may be reasonable to ask whether transformation is a universal phenomenon wherever it is allowed either actively or passively. Our experience is that it certainly seems to be very widespread throughout the developing world. In addition to our study countries, I have seen it in Nigeria,...

  11. 8. Policies for enabling transformations
    (pp. 147-164)

    As we have seen from the analysis (and from our case studies in the appendices) transformers add considerable amounts of housing goods to the current stock. This varies from about 50 per cent extra in Zimbabwe to 150 per cent in Bangladesh. They do so in areas which are already developed so no new land is required (the urban footprint does not expand except indirectly). Furthermore, they do not appear to receive any assistance from the housing budget but succeed in increasing the share of investment accruing to housing and, by so doing, increase Gross Fixed Capital Formation. Thus, as...

  12. Appendix 1. Transformations in Bangladesh
    (pp. 165-203)
  13. Appendix 2. Transformations in Egypt
    (pp. 204-242)
  14. Appendix 3. Transformations in Ghana
    (pp. 243-287)
  15. Appendix 4. Transformations in Zimbabwe
    (pp. 288-329)
  16. Appendix 5. An assessment of the decision to transform
    (pp. 330-342)
  17. References
    (pp. 343-350)
  18. Index
    (pp. 351-358)