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close this bookThe Human Settlements Conditions of the World's Urban Poor (HABITAT, 1996, 233 p.)
close this folderV. Reaching the urban poor
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentA. The changing international policy context for urban development and shelter
View the documentB. The sites-and-services programme in Zimbabwe
View the documentC. Brazil: the FUNACOM programme in São Paulo
View the documentD. An evaluation of the Employees’ Housing Programme (EHP) in the Republic of Korea
View the documentE. India: An evaluation of a series of Slum Improvement Programmes
View the documentF. Conclusions: Assessing the experience of projects/programmes aimed at improving the human settlements conditions of the world’s urban poor


Following the overview of the incidence of urban poverty and trends in the human settlements conditions of the urban poor in developing countries, this chapter outlines the changing international policy context for urban development and shelter provision. It also presents a series of detailed case studies of recent shelter initiatives from Zimbabwe, Brazil, the Republic of Korea and India.1 These four case studies encompass a variety of approaches to the problem of providing housing for the poor and low-income groups. The Zimbabwean case study focuses on the recent sites-and-services programmes in Harare. The second example is the FUNACOM programme (“the municipal programme to support housing for low-income persons through self-management”), set up by the SPaulo local government in Brazil in 1989. The case study from the Republic of Korea involves an evaluation of an employees’ housing programme which was designed to provide 10,000 housing units during the 1990-1991 period. It was the forerunner for the current programme of 500,000 houses to be provided between 1992 and 1996 as outlined in the Republic of Korea’s Seventh Socio-Economic Development Plan. Finally, the case study from India is an evaluation of a series of Slum Improvement Programmes funded and administered by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Government of India and various state governments. In the concluding section these programmes are assessed against the policy framework for human settlements development and the formulation of shelter strategies for low-income groups advocated by UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank.

1 These case studies draws heavily on Rakodi and Withers (1994), Zimbabwe; Denaldi (1994) and Guedes and Devecchi (1994), SPaulo; Jang (1994), the Republic of Korea; and Sundaram (1994), India.

A. The changing international policy context for urban development and shelter

There is a wealth of empirical evidence to show that shelter programmes conceived along the lines of Western democracies, with strong state involvement in the design, construction and allocation of housing targeted towards the urban poor, have not worked well in developing countries. In analyzing the effectiveness of such programmes, UNCHS (1991c) concluded that there were at least five major weaknesses of past shelter strategies in addressing the needs of low-income groups. These were, firstly, that governments had been much too concerned with producing formal housing programmes rather than facilitating inputs such as land and credit into the housing process. Secondly, there has been a mis-allocation of resources in the form of subsidies to land, infrastructural provision and towards housing itself, which has gone to those better able to pay for such services than the poor. Thirdly, “there has been a consistent failure among official land, housing and financial agencies to reach those who need assistance most of all” and the review of shelter circumstances in chapter IV illustrates that this is not only a continuing problem in many parts of the developing world, it is also a growing problem. Whilst there have been some successes in shelter programmes, however, these have generally been on a very small scale in comparison with the overall magnitude of the problem; and finally, coherent and coordinated local shelter strategies have been the exception rather than the rule which has made it very difficult to adopt consistent and effective policies towards the needs of low-income groups (UNCHS, 1991c).

But the policy context for shelter programmes is changing. Since the adoption of the GSS in 1988 both the World Bank and the UNDP have published important policy documents which have refined and developed their approaches towards housing and urban development in a global context. Both agencies published very similar ‘urban agendas’ for the 1990s (UNDP, 1991; World Bank, 1991), and their respective policies have subsequently been influenced by UNCED in 1992.

The GSS embodies a number of basic principles:

· the need to adopt an “enabling approach whereby the full potential and resources of all the actors in the shelter production and improvement process are mobilized”;

· the requirement to develop sustainable shelter strategies which are realistic in terms of implementation and the consumption of natural resources;

· the need to formulate explicit policies for housing the poor as a central component of the shelter strategy;

· the importance of acknowledging and enhancing the role of women over decision-making on shelter issues; and

· the importance of instituting a monitoring and evaluation programme to ensure that the effectiveness of the strategy is regularly reviewed.

Translating such a strategy into action was seen to demand new perceptions; the importance of cities in contributing towards the overall growth of the economy; an acknowledgement of the shelter sector as an important part of the economy; the need for a scaling-up of production programmes drawing on all sources, including the informal sector; a balance between shelter upgrading and new provision; a need to acknowledge the significant role which may be played by the private rented sector; as well as a realization that programmes for the poorest groups will continue to require a direct role for the state.

The subsequent urban agendas of the international agencies were responses to prolonged economic recession, continued infrastructural deficiencies and environmental degradation, and the growing problem of urban poverty. The World Bank emphasized its analysis of these problems in terms of the low productivity of urban areas and set out a four-fold programme accordingly:

· The need to improve urban productivity by strengthening the management of urban infrastructure; streamlining regulations, encouraging privatization and market competition; improving the financial and technical capacity of municipal institutions, and enhancing the capability of institutional finance to facilitate urban development.

· The alleviation of urban poverty (outlined in World Bank, 1990). This strategy included the concept of a ‘safety net’ for the poorest sections of the community including the physically and mentally handicapped, the elderly, uncared for children and destitutes. At the same time it advocated the generation of employment opportunities in order to improve the productivity of the urban poor (especially women), improvements in shelter and the provision of basic services.

· Developing effective responses to the growing urban environmental crisis by improving the information base and enhancing awareness and understanding of the processes involved; developing city-wide strategic responses to combat environmental deterioration by adopting realistic standards of regulation and enforcement and working in partnership with others.

· The need to increase understanding of urban issues through a reactivated programme of research.

The UNDP strategy paper outlined a similar series of issues as the main concerns of its agenda for the 1990s. These included:

· a series of measures aimed at alleviating urban poverty and promoting income-generating activities for the urban poor (e.g. supporting informal enterprises to improve productivity; vocational training and community activities; encouraging the participation of women in shelter finance initiatives);

· strengthening urban local government and administration by encouraging the decentralization of powers and functions, and enhancing the capacity to plan, manage and finance urban development capabilities;

· promoting the involvement of NGOs and CBOs;

· providing urban infrastructure, shelter and services, especially to women and the urban poor;

· improving the urban environment through upgrading of solid-waste disposal, pollution control and slum upgrading programmes; and

· promoting the involvement of the private sector in the provision and maintenance of shelter and urban services.

UNCED was also influential on current thinking. Agenda 21 (United Nations, 1993a) identified a number of important concerns which were relevant to human settlements development and shelter provision. It calls on member states of the United Nations to:

· improve the quality of human settlements management in order to ameliorate living conditions, improve natural resources, support rural development and accelerate national growth;

· adopt national shelter strategies which support the efforts of poor and vulnerable groups; facilitate access to land, finance and building materials; reform codes and regulations; and promote the regularization and upgrading of informal settlements;

· pursue integrated urban development programmes which encourage employment generation measures for the poor through the provision, improvement and maintenance of infrastructure and services and support informal sector activities;

· promote sustainable land use planning and management policies and in particular urban land resource management plans;

· promote integrated provision of environmental infrastructure and give particular attention to water-resources management, solid-waste disposal, and the reduction of health risks from environmental pollution;

· develop sustainable construction industries which utilize local materials and labour-intensive construction methods; seek to render materials affordable and develop credit schemes to assist small builders;

· increase public awareness of the need for sustainable development, promote training and human resource development; and

· seek to develop guidelines and strategies to increase equality in society, to advance the role of women and to develop partnerships in achieving sustainable development.

The conference was particularly effective in promoting the issue of sustainability in human settlements development and increasing awareness of environmental issues and the necessity for global action along these lines. A network of ‘sustainable cities’ has since been established with the aim of sharing experience and good practice on urban and environmental management.

The most recent contribution to this evolutionary process of strategic policy development has been the World Bank’s paper on shelter and the operation of the housing market (World Bank, 1993c). The paper identifies a seven-point programme aimed at operationalizing shelter strategies. This comprises:

· the development of property rights through the regularization of tenure in squatter settlements and the privatization of state-owned housing;

· the development of institutional housing finance;

· the limiting and targeting of subsides;

· continued improvements in the residential infrastructure for slum and squatter settlements and in servicing new land for urban development;

· improving the organization and efficiency of the construction industry;

· establishing regulatory audits to remove obstructive regulations which inhibit shelter development; and

· developing appropriate institutional arrangements for managing the housing sector.

The paper signals a shift in the World Bank’s lending policies in the housing sector, recognizing the wider role of housing in the overall economy. These changes are reflected in five guiding principles. The World Bank -

· wishes to encourage governments to pursue an enabling role and to move away from the direct production, financing and maintenance of housing towards “improving housing market efficiency and the housing conditions of the poor”;

· intends to shift its lending from single project assistance towards investments which have greater sectoral impact, such as regulatory reform or institutional development; when projects continue to be funded they will have to demonstrate an impact on the sector as a whole;

· will assist the development of private sector housing finance institutions;

· will support the development of innovative lending models and housing project design; and

· will seek greater commitment to improved housing data collection and analysis to aid policy formulation and implementation.

It is a great deal of consistency between the above discussed documents. Future emphasis is to be placed on improving the operation of essentially privatized housing markets. This is to be achieved by deregulation and support for institutional development in the private sector, including housing finance institutions. Regularization and empowerment of the informal sector are to be important elements in this process. Government agencies, both central and local, are to withdraw from a direct role in production, allocation and management in favour of an enabling role. Nonetheless, the urban management capacity of public agencies is to be enhanced, henceforth concentrating their attention on factors such as, reforming legal and institutional frameworks; improving the delivery of urban land and the provision of infrastructure; encouraging the development of partnerships; and promoting the shelter role of NGOs.

The World Bank states explicitly that a more efficient housing market will improve the circumstances of the poor. The other policy documents discussed above, however, advocate poverty alleviation programmes as part of integrated urban development programmes that will create income-generating opportunities targeted towards the poor, and especially women. For the poorest, both the United Nations agencies and the World Bank recognise the need for direct forms of provision both in terms of shelter and basic services and they have also tacitly come to accept the use of targeted subsidies as part of these arrangements.

Shelter strategies themselves are to be integrated with other economic and social programmes; more effectively targeted to the needs of the poor; sustainable and mindful of environmental considerations; and capable of scaling-up to levels of provision more commensurate with actual housing needs.

These policies now represent the new ‘received wisdom’ in the shelter sector for the 1990s; moreover, they constitute a framework against which to assess recently developed shelter programmes and projects for the urban poor.

B. The sites-and-services programme in Zimbabwe

On gaining independence in 1980 the Zimbabwean Government saw the provision of an ultra low-cost core-housing programme on serviced plots as constituting the cornerstone of its large-scale low-income housing programme. For political reasons, however, the government adopted higher standards than those prevailing before independence and three key principles were identified:

· plots would be provided on an ‘aided self-help’ basis, i.e. self-build with technical and financial assistance;

· the establishment of ‘building brigades’ for construction and the production of building materials aimed at reducing costs; and

· standards set at 300 m2 plots with a core house of 50 m2 comprising four rooms with separate kitchen and bathroom/toilet. Road access, piped water and waterborne sewerage facilities were to be provided to every plot.

The post-independence programme may be seen to have developed through three phases, an initial development phase to 1984; the consolidation of this programme with three large scale World Bank funded schemes to the early 1990s; and a transitional phase with the introduction of partnerships, the relaxation of controls and standards, culminating in the adoption of more modest minimum standards in 1992.

1. The mobilization of financial resources and the question of affordability

The initial phase was targeted towards those with incomes below the median income of those living in low-income, high-density areas (i.e. incomes of around Z$150 compared with a median income of Z$175). Cash loans were made available by the local authority with assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). By 1984 more than half the plots had been completed, considerable private finance had been mobilized and the programme was broadly considered successful.

Phase two involved an expansion of the programme to include World Bank funding for over 11,000 serviced plots in four cities. Off-site infrastructure costs were to be recovered via tariffs (water, electricity, sewerage and waste management), and through rates and supplementary charges for roads and street lighting. On-site costs were to be raised through plot sales. Building society assistance with loans was incorporated into this phase and variable rate loans were made available at 12.5 per cent (at that time) over 25 years from a special fund generated from short-term finance specifically for lending on low-cost housing. Plots were targeted to those on waiting lists with income ceilings and other eligibility criteria. Because of rising costs throughout the projects the income ceiling was increased, in Harare from Z$400 in 1984 to Z$550 in 1989 thereby excluding nearly three-quarters of the households on the waiting list. By 1991 official estimates indicated that in order to qualify for a mortgage a minimum income of Z$900 was necessary. World Bank estimates of affordability, however, included both prospective rental income from sub-letting rooms as well as reduced construction costs through self-help labour. As a consequence, the plots in these schemes were allocated largely to those in the target groups, some of whom were relatively low income and waiting-list priorities. At the same time, there was some evidence of malpractice in allocations, “the use of influence, perhaps bribery, to secure allocations for employees of local authorities and their friends and relatives, allocation to households outside the low-income groups, and falsification of information, especially related to the length of employment in the City” (Rakodi and Withers, 1994).

Despite World Bank support, the supply of serviced plots in Harare started to decline after 1984/1985 and fell to little over one thousand per annum in 1989/1990 (Mbiba, 1994). A shortage of government funds and the increasing costs of sites-and-services schemes persuaded the government to seek other ways of increasing the supply. One of the most successful initiatives was a partnership arrangement with major employers in the city. Employer assistance was sought with paying the purchase price of the plot up front and recovering it either from the employee’s wages or directly from the building society. This arrangement enabled the local authority to recover its outlay relatively quickly. At the same time, however, it was also hoped that employers would assume other responsibilities such as, the selection of suitable employees, providing top-up loans, the deduction of wages at source etc., all of which would reduce the administrative burden on the local authority.

These changes, introduced in 1989, ushered in the third phase of the programme. The partnership approach became a major element of the programme between 1989 and 1991 and increased the demand for serviced plots. Beneficiaries received various levels of support, such as bridging loans, assistance in hiring and supervising builders, assistance with the provision and costs of materials, mortgage guarantees and concessionary rates of finance. The government introduced other changes too; it waived income ceilings for waiting list registration, and it sought cash buyers for the disposal of plots. The effect of these changes was to alter completely the client group for the serviced plot programme and by 1991 disadvantaged groups had effectively been excluded, as purchasers, from the projects. Despite this, the continued adherence to high standards also meant high costs and by 1991 the average cost of housing and related expenditure in one scheme was 32 per cent of income. Sixty per cent of the households were paying more than the guideline figure of 27.5 per cent of income and 29 per cent paid more than 40 per cent of their income.

The remainder of the third phase of the programme coincided with a major drought and the signing of a formal Structural Adjustment Agreement in 1991. Inflation increased from an average of 13.2 per cent per annum between 1980 and 1990 to 42.1 per cent in 1992 and 21.6 per cent in the first six months of 1993. The cost of living more than doubled between 1990 and June 1993, much of which was housing and related costs. By mid-1993 “there was evidence of a rapid and visible process of impoverishment” (Rakodi, forthcoming). The effect of these increased costs was to decimate the low-cost housing programme and in 1992 the government was persuaded to reduce housing standards dramatically. Minimum plot sizes were halved to 150 m2 and plinth sizes reduced from 50 m2 to 36 m2. This reduction, it was argued, reduced overall costs by 29 per cent (Mbiba, 1994).

In retrospect, the cost of participation in these schemes in Zimbabwe has always been high because of the government’s (and building society’s), insistence on high standards. The affordability of the poorer groups for these projects, however, was steadily eroded over the 1980s and quickly eclipsed in the 1990s. In the early 1980s it was estimated (Schlyter, 1989), that a third of the population were unable to afford to participate in the ‘Assisted Self-Help’ schemes; by the mid 1980s only 16 per cent of households could afford a four room core house (Mutizwa-Mangiza, 1988); and by 1991 at least 60 per cent of non-owner households could not afford a one room house.

2. The social impact of the programme

The original hopes of the government - that the ‘assisted self-help’ low-cost shelter programme would provide the cornerstone of its housing policy - have not been fulfilled. The programme has assisted only a fraction of those in housing need in the capital city, Harare. The programme provided 24,000 serviced plots between 1980 and 1991. Since the mid-1980s, the gap between need and provision has widened. In 1985 the Council’s waiting list included 23,000 households and the City was servicing about 3,200 plots; by 1991 the annual supply of serviced plots had fallen to a rate of just over 1,500, whilst the waiting list had climbed to 80,000 households (about 400,000 people).

Has the programme been targeted on the poorest groups? To some extent it has, but not in the way that was originally intended by the government. As was shown in the previous section the targeting of the programme was directed at low-income groups on the waiting list, before relaxations in the early 1990s led to changes in the client group. The World Bank had always intended that the owners of the serviced plots programme should generate income in order to meet their costs by sub-letting rooms in their dwellings and although this was not approved of by government officials nor the building society, it has actually taken place on a substantial scale. In several schemes surveyed in the mid-1980s the majority of householders were sub-letting rooms and in one mature scheme the majority (53 per cent) of households were lodgers. A comparison of owners and lodgers in the scheme showed that -

“Owner household heads (were) ten years older than non-owners (42 compared to 31), had households nearly twice as large (5.5 compared to 2.5), occupied larger dwellings (3.7 compared to 1.4 rooms), and lived in less overcrowded conditions (7 per cent with three or more persons per room and 21 per cent with two or more persons per room compared to 18 per cent and 40 per cent of lodgers). Lodgers included disproportionate numbers of young, recent migrant and elderly household heads, female-headed households, single people and low-income households (30 per cent had incomes of less than Z$400 compared to 13 per cent of owners). In a wider sample of non-owner households, 19 per cent were below a roughly calculated poverty datum line adjusted for household size” (Rakodi and Withers, 1994).

Overall shortages of accommodation have meant that where turnover of accommodation has taken place this has generally been to households with higher income levels. Turnover has taken place where the local authority has cancelled the agreement of sale because of serious arrears, or failure to complete the initial development of the plot in a certain time, an increasing problem throughout the 1980s (Mbiba, 1994). It may also take place as a result of private sale; (no longer requiring the approval of the local authority). As yet a relatively small proportion of plots has been ceded or sold, but survey evidence shows an increasing incidence since the relaxation of local authority controls and that a majority of those moving in are in professional, managerial or supervisory occupations and have incomes twice the average of original allottees.

Despite the growing problems of affordability associated with the serviced plots programme, the decision to reduce standards in 1992 has been controversial. Mbiba has complained that the “obsession with cost-minimization strategies on the supply side” has ignored the costs of the utilization of the dwellings. He argues that, given the strategy to encourage sub-letting, “a unit meant for one household is in practice inhabited by four households” with detrimental effects on the health and welfare of residents. He is critical too of other aspects of declining standards, that the use of substitute materials will compromise the superstructure and infrastructure of the development; and that, at a time when the cost of living has recently doubled, that plot size reductions reduce the possibility for households to supplement their income by growing fruit and vegetables (Mbiba, 1994).

Some measure of support for his views is forthcoming from a survey of female householders renting their accommodation and conducted by Schlyter in 1989. About half of the households surveyed in Harare and nearly two-thirds of the households in Gweru were dissatisfied, mainly because of a lack of space and overcrowding, but also because of insecurity and the incidence of conflict with landlords.

3. Conclusions

Through the opportunities it has afforded for sub-letting, the serviced plots programme in Zimbabwe has extended some provision to low-income groups, although the overall programme falls far short of the extent of need. In view of the general shortage of accommodation, the relaxation of government controls has reduced the capacity for targeting such programmes to low-income groups. The relatively high standards have also meant that the developments are attractive to middle-income groups. Given current financial constraints in both public and private sectors it is questionable whether the programme is either replicable or sustainable. The reduction in standards may make the programme more attractive to private investors and institutions and ensure its sustainability. If, however, it is to continue to have any relevance for the low-income groups, the arrangements for letting need to be acknowledged, and more systematically planned in terms of dwelling design; provision for arbitration made in landlord tenant disputes; and safeguards introduced against the arbitrary eviction of tenants.

C. Brazil: the FUNACOM programme in São Paulo

The FUNACOM programme was one aspect of a radical political programme introduced by the newly elected Partido de Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party) in the Municipality of SPaulo between 1989 and 1992. The context for the introduction of this programme was threefold:

· new central government legislation in 1988 devolving greater legislative and financial autonomy to five major Brazilian cities, including SPaulo;

· the election locally in SPaulo in 1989 of the Workers Party, which introduced a new political direction to the management of SPaulo Municipality; and

· the pre-existence of an influential local “Housing Movement” in Greater SPaulo (the UMM), consisting of many different CBOs, which effectively lobbied for a decentralized programme of self-managed housing investment.

The Workers’ Party adopted a comprehensive and participatory approach to the problems of the city, including those of the informal (and illegal) settlements. It encouraged a process of community negotiation in order to develop an Action Plan for the city, not only with a view to improving the overall environment, but also to achieve a more equitable environment. The new Action Plan comprised an urban policy which was based on the mobilization and support of local communities; it introduced a new regulatory framework for land-use, zoning and building standards; and it sought to mobilize financial resources through the restructuring of an existing fund (“the municipal fund to support housing for low-income people” - FUNAPS), and the redeployment of municipal resources; as well as seeking partnerships over land development with the private sector. The generation of local resources was seen as particularly important in that it preserved the independence of the municipal government and its urban policies from the external pressures of the central government and international aid agencies.

The Action Plan included a number of shelter programmes; it sought to regularize informal settlements; it gave priority to relocation in sites-and-services programmes to those living in hazard-prone settlements, such as flood prone areas, or on land liable to slippage; it targeted squatter settlements and tenemental dwellings for upgrading and the provision of basic infrastructure; and it continued with the provision of low-income housing using federal government resources. The FUNACOM programme, encouraging mutual aid and self-management, was thus one of a series of programmes targeted towards the urban poor. It was established in 1989 with the following specific aims:

· to increase the institutional capacity of the municipality to manage housing programmes;

· to reduce the cost of the provision of infrastructure and housing;

· to promote autonomous community participation through self-managed programmes financed by the municipality; and

· to strengthen community participation in the housing sector.

In essence, the programme allocated funds directly to the families involved in order to improve housing and infrastructure facilities throughout the city. The families formed themselves into Community Associations (autonomously functioning legal associations), and were assisted both in the formulation and implementation of local projects by Technical Assistance Teams. The projects, developed in consultation between the Community Associations and the Technical Assistance Teams, were submitted to FUNACOM for approval. Through this programme the community not only decided on the nature and standards of local projects (e.g. rebuilding, local land adjustment and infrastructural provision), but was also responsible for the management and allocation of finance and participating in the construction process.

1. The mobilization and allocation of resources

FUNACOM was funded through FUNAPS. FUNAPS had been created earlier to finance the acquisition of land, infrastructure and building materials for low-income groups and it was restructured to enable it to assist CBOs as well. FUNAPS’ resources were mobilized from the municipal budget (nearly $100 million), from the repayment of loans, and from partnership arrangements over land use arising out of the new legal framework ($67 million). Whilst FUNAPS had not been established by statute (a problem subsequently determined by the courts), it was administered by a council formed from representatives of the municipality and the community, and run from within the “Housing Superintendency” of SPaulo Municipality.

In order to seek funding from the FUNACOM programme, a local community had to organize themselves into a Community Association and link up with a Technical Assistance Team. Together they defined a draft programme and submitted it to FUNACOM. After preliminary approval, a final programme was prepared with specifications, costings, and cash flow statements. Upon approval, a loan application was sent to FUNAPS and when this was approved the Community Association signed a contract with FUNAPS. The signing implied accepting responsibility for the management of the works to completion.

A loan ceiling of $5,000 per family was instituted for projects and the loan itself was divided into different percentages for the following inputs: building materials, 82 per cent; hired labour (usually skilled), 10 per cent; site equipment, tools, etc., 4 per cent; and Technical Assistance Team fees, 4 per cent. These percentages were flexible in special cases. Both the percentages and the role of the Technical Assistance Team were set out in each project application and the Community Association was responsible for managing the financial arrangements. Loans were paid in instalments (the first in advance), and on subsequent monitored progress.

Individual loan repayments were calculated taking account of monthly income and family size. Repayment terms were negotiable (between 5 and 25 years) and loan repayments were to be not more than 25 per cent of income and not less than 10 per cent. Subsidies were available according to family income.

2. The organizational arrangements and the process of self-management

As indicated earlier, one of the conditions for the Community Association to obtain funds was to contract an independent Technical Assistance Team to assist with the formulation and implementation of a local project. The Technical Assistance Teams were:

· independent of the local government;

· associated with, or contracted by, a Community Association;

· multi-disciplinary, and able to provide technical assistance in the fields of engineering, finance and with the legal aspects of development; and

· identified with the social and political values of the Housing Movement (UMM).

The Technical Assistance Teams were obviously important in indicating to the Community Associations what the possibilities for development were within the cost limits available. The programme was flexible, however, to enable standards to be determined locally by the Community Association, and to develop local solutions to local problems. The Technical Assistance Teams often undertook training for members of the Community Association, supervised the actual construction works, and gave advice and guidance on the establishment of income generating activities.

In getting established the first task was the conceptualization of a local project. This involved considerable discussions between the Technical Assistance Teams and Community Associations. After approval of the initial submission, the detailed arrangements were worked out. Next came the definition of the construction process and agreement on building regulations and the principle of mutual help. This involved reaching agreement over tasks such as:

· the expected number of hours per week that each household should work;

· allocation of working hours between family members and minimum time to be spent on site;

· rules governing the use of equipment and access to materials;

· the role of the Technical Assistance Team, the foreman and the work coordinator;

· sanctions in case of negligence; and

· distribution of houses among members of the Community Association.

Many Community Associations also designed and built community facilities such as cres and community centres, as part of the programme. These were financed by FUNACOM. The nature of the work demanded widespread community organization and a strong sense of solidarity and responsibility amongst members of the community. The participation of workers was an integral part of the programme both in terms of determining the nature of the project, and in working towards its implementation.

3. The impact of the FUNACOM programme

Designed very much in line with the key principles of the GSS, the SPaulo Municipal programme for shelter was very effective in targeting the urban poor. Over the 1989-1992 period it is estimated by Guedes and Devecchi that 250,000 families were involved in regular discussions about the Action Plan and that the various shelter programmes funded from local sources secured the following achievements:

· squatter settlement upgrading: 47,000 families;
· tenemental upgrading: 481 families;
· sites-and-services with core housing: 7,700 families; and
· the self management and mutual aid programmes: 10,600 families.

In addition, the low-cost shelter programme using Federal resources assisted more than 25,000 families over the same period.

At the ideological core of the shelter programmes was the FUNACOM programme, tangibly demonstrating the benefits of mutual help and community mobilization in shelter provision for the urban poor. Denaldi (1994), and Guedes and Devecchi (1994), have itemized their perception of the strengths and weaknesses of the programme. The ‘strengths’ included:

· a successful enabling framework: the FUNACOM programme enhanced security of tenure and provided a legal, technical and financial framework which enabled the process of self management and mutual aid effectively to target the shelter and environmental conditions of the urban poor;

· the programme was effective in raising ‘collective consciousness’ over shelter and environmental issues; it extended the coverage of community associations, strongly promoted the role of women and genuinely mobilized support for the programme amongst the poor;

· this high level of community participation and the decentralized nature of the programme ensured that the most pertinent issues confronting the urban poor were addressed and that the programme effectively countered problems of political patronage;

· it was effective in local capacity building; it strengthened local organizational decision-making, raised the level of skills and competencies, and increased the opportunities for local economic development;

· the localized nature of the projects and the flexibility of the programme resulted in appropriate choices of standards and technologies, according to the preference, necessity and affordability of each community;

· the role of the Technical Assistance Teams ensured autonomy; promoted participation and complemented the local authority role; and

· the local authority itself adopted decentralized procedures and accepted local decision-making; it also began to develop public-private partnerships over land development.

They perceived the major weaknesses of the programme to be:

· its lack of sustainability; the strong political support of the Workers’ Party was both a strength and a weakness, the loss of office of the Workers’ Party in November 1992 has subsequently revealed the vulnerability of the programme to political change;

· the inability of the Workers’ Party to secure lasting legal and institutional reforms; whilst far-reaching legal reforms were introduced, the political opposition, systematically (and successfully), obstructed the adoption of these reforms in the Municipal Chamber;

· the weakness and lack of competence of some of the Technical Assistance Teams contributed to the difficulties of implementation of the programme; and

· the bureaucratic procedures required by the municipal authority were insensitive to the need for change and resulted in instances where they were circumvented by informal procedures.

4. Conclusions

The FUNACOM programme, as part of the overall shelter programmes initiated by the municipal authority of SPaulo between 1989 and 1992, achieved much greater success in targeting the needs of the urban poor than previous administrations. The programme was seen as an ideological one, however, and was unsuccessful in obtaining the political support of opposition parties and the private sector as a whole. It was able, however, to mobilise local communities to participate effectively and to generate substantial local resources to improve the living and environmental conditions of the urban poor.

D. An evaluation of the Employees’ Housing Programme (EHP) in the Republic of Korea

The economy of the Republic of Korea has grown from a mainly agricultural one in the 1950s to a mainly industrial one today. GNP per capita has grown from $87 in 1960 (Kim, W-J., 1994) to $7,660 in 1993. The economy has grown by an average of 8.2 per cent per year during the 1980-1993 period, the highest of all the countries listed by the World Bank (1995a). The emphasis of government policy has been to ensure continued high economic growth. Despite the success of the economy, however, direct government investment into housing has, until recently, been relatively modest, ranging from 3 to 4 per cent of total expenditure between 1980 and 1988. With the advent of a major house construction programme aimed at building two million units between 1988 and 1992 this proportion of expenditure increased to more than 7 per cent in 1989 (Kim, W-J., 1994).

One of the major structural changes in the Republic of Korea - occasioned by the long term success of government economic policies - has been the formation of a large urban industrial workforce. This has been made possible by large-scale rural-urban migration. In fact, the urban population of 1995 accounts for 81.3 per cent of the total population. Housing provision for these workers has largely been in the private sector (62.3 per cent of new housing construction was by the private sector between 1965 and 1990), much of this is privately rented accommodation, or in flats and dormitories provided by industrial companies for their employees. In fact, by 1990 a total of 55 per cent of all urban households tenants (Kim, W-J., 1994).

Continued serious shortages of accommodation have resulted in successive waves of intense speculative activity in both house prices and land costs. Between 1971 and 1978 house prices increased by a multiple of 19 whilst incomes quadrupled; and the price of urban residential land in Seoul rose on average by 1582 per cent between 1979 and 1985 (Kim, J-H., 1994). Continuing difficulties of access to the housing market persuaded the government to launch a major house construction programme in 1988 aimed at providing two million units of accommodation before 1992. Moreover, the fear that speculative activity in urban land was likely to undermine this programme also drew the government into strong interventions in the land market in 1989. A series of legislative measures imposed a ceiling on urban land ownership in the major cities; levied property taxes on the market value of real estate; and introduced capital gains tax on corporate land holdings to discourage hoarding and release land for development.

As part of the two million units programme, the government launched the EHP in 1990 to relieve instability in the rented market and to improve housing quality for industrial workers.

1. The resource base for the EHP

Over 1990/1991 almost 100,000 units were constructed under the EHP. Both housing for sale and housing for rent were provided by local government, the Korean National Housing Corporation (KNHC) and private builders (see table 54).

Table 54. Housing units constructed under the EHP, Republic of Korea (1990/1991)

Total number
of units

Housing for sale

Housing for rent


per cent


per cent

Local Government












Private builders












Source: Jang, 1994.

The programme was administered by local authorities and the eligibility criteria were an income ceiling for targeted households of K$1,250 per month; or more than 10 years service in the industry; and a targeting of workers in the manufacturing, transportation, coal mining and cleaning industries.

For those that wanted to purchase a house, loans of up to K$17,500 per unit were made available to householders to set against a purchase price of about K$30,000. These loans were repayable over a 20 year period at an annual interest rate of 8 per cent. Loans of K$18,750 per unit were made available to industrial companies to provide rental housing for their employees. Priority was to be given to small businesses.

In financial terms the programme has been very beneficial for those who have qualified. Housing expenditure for those in rented housing has been reduced by more than 50 per cent on average, whilst for those purchasing their housing, the increasing asset value has more than offset the imputed rental value of the hefty deposit required. Nonetheless the relatively high cost of housing for sale has limited the participation of low-income workers. A monthly payment of K$250 is needed, for example, for loans and if a housing expenditure ceiling of 30 per cent of income is assumed, this implied a monthly income of about K$830. Yet, the average income of industrial workers was only K$700, and 55 per cent of small company employees earned less than K$500. This has meant that whilst the workers from small companies have less ability to purchase housing and therefore a higher need for rental accommodation, the smaller companies have less capacity to manage rented housing programmes.

2. The social impact of the EHP

Apart from reducing the housing costs of beneficiaries, the programme has greatly improved their housing conditions in terms of the amenities available, for example, the availability of kitchens, bathroom and heating methods. As far as size is concerned the units were relatively modest at 50-56 m2, and whilst on average the size of apartments has increased from 45-52 m2, 30 per cent of residents have experienced a decrease in the space available over their previous accommodation.

At the same time, the programme has improved the residential stability of the beneficiaries, who mostly lived in privately rented dwellings, in company housing, or in dormitories before moving into the EHP. A four year rental period is common for the rental housing which significantly improves residential security. It remains to be seen if this is also the case for those purchasing their housing. Since purchasers are able to resell on the open market after just two years, it was anticipated - because of the highly subsidized nature of the programme - that this would result in substantial potential financial gain, thus encouraging the beneficiaries to sell.

The programme has received some criticism for the modest space standards constructed. Whilst there is a maximum limit of 60 m2, the size of developments has varied and many units have been built at less than 45 m2. The average size of workers’ households, however, is 5 persons. The programme has therefore restricted access to smaller households, and in approximately 50 per cent of cases some household members were excluded when they moved into the EHP. Other eligibility criteria have led to the exclusion of younger households both on grounds of cost and the requirement of having been employed for a 10 year period. Many workers’ households are also excluded from consideration because of the targeting of specific sectors of industry.

Finally, there have been some difficulties with the location of certain sites. Because of the difficulty of acquiring low-cost land, some large scale housing complexes have been constructed on peripheral sites and there is insufficient demand to fill them because of the inconvenience of their location.

3. Conclusions

The EHP has been very beneficial for those fortunate enough to have qualified for it. They have seen their housing costs and rents fall whilst the quality of their housing and environment has substantially improved. Yet, despite a high level of public subsidy, the EHP is not reaching the low-income groups. The costs remain too high. Other eligibility criteria have also led to the exclusion of low-income groups from the programme.

The majority (72.5 per cent) of the housing units have been constructed by central or local government agencies and the rest by private builders. The private sector has been limited in this way because of the high taxation levels on land for private sector agencies wishing to construct houses. At the same time the partnership with private industries over housing for their employees has only been partially successful. Small companies in particular are in a double-bind, their employees are invariably unable to afford the costs of home ownership whilst the companies themselves have limited capacity to manage rental housing schemes.

A further 500,000 units are planned to be developed between 1992 and 1996; it remains to be seen whether the government will relax the eligibility criteria or introduce other mechanisms to encourage the participation of small businesses and extend coverage of the programme increasingly to meet the needs of low-income groups.

E. India: An evaluation of a series of Slum Improvement Programmes

In 1991 it was estimated there were about 48 million slum dwellers in urban areas in India and 40 per cent of these were concentrated in the metropolitan cities. For many years the Federal and State governments have pursued programmes aimed at upgrading and relocating slum settlements. In the late 1960s and early 1970s slum settlements were an emerging phenomenon and were regarded as ‘unfit’ and deplorable environments and were subjected to clearance and relocation programmes. These schemes were expensive, insensitive to the needs of slum dwellers, and the forcible clearance operations were widely despised by slum dwellers and civil servants alike.

In 1972 the government adopted a different approach by introducing the centrally sponsored EIUS programme. The underlying objective of these schemes was to provide collectivized basic services in slum settlements. Thus 100 per cent grants were available, calculated on a per capita rate, for the provision of water supplies, community sanitation, drainage, paved pathways, street lighting, etc. Whilst the scheme provided for the acquisition of private lands, the states and municipalities have concentrated on the improvement of slums on public land and only in exceptional cases have these schemes been extended to private landholdings (e.g. Calcutta and Kanpur). The state governments have not followed a uniform policy over EIUS, however. Some state governments have passed legislation to ensure a systematic approach to the problem, whilst others have pursued ad hoc policies and procedures.

Evaluations of the EIUS scheme have offered a series of criticisms:

· the projects have tended to be rigid and inflexible, with a social welfare and paternalist orientation;

· rarely have the prescribed standards actually been met, due to locational and cost constraints;

· there has been insufficient funds to tackle the programmes on an adequate scale;

· no workable arrangements are devised for the management and maintenance of EIUS schemes;

· slum communities have not been involved in discussions about the standards of provision or the maintenance of the services;

· there has been no concern for the convergence of other basic services or assistance with actual home improvements; and

· no steps have been taken to incorporate the slum settlements into the overall planning and infrastructure framework of towns and cities (Shah, 1994).

Accordingly, when World Bank assisted Slum Upgrading Programmes (SUPs) were adopted during the 1980s, some of these criteria were addressed in a more ambitious approach:

· a more comprehensive perspective towards urban development has been adopted, in which SUPs are orientated towards the upgrading of slums in an entire town or city;

· the legalizing of the status of slum dwellers has been a major step forward, thus creating the opportunity for further investment and development in slum settlements;

· the provision of services has improved on the ‘Spartan’ standards of EIUS, including the opportunity for home improvement loans;

· the involvement of the slum dwellers is sought and encouraged at each stage of the programme; and

· unlike the 100 per cent funding provided by EIUS, however, the World Bank-assisted schemes are entirely on the basis of loan finance, and a strong emphasis is placed upon full cost recovery.

Like the EIUS programmes, however, the actual implementation of the programmes has not met with the conceptual expectations. There are difficulties over cost recovery. These difficulties range from the practical, where local authorities simply do not have efficient mechanisms for cost recovery; through the political, where politicians may ‘defend’ the interests of a community over nonpayment in return for its support; to the ideological, where communities used to highly subsidized, state-led programmes are not convinced of the need for repayment. Issues of land tenure are proving more complicated than anticipated. The acquisition of private lands is expensive for municipal authorities starved of resources; the redesignation of use of public lands a lengthy and bureaucratic exercise; and at the level of the slum communities themselves there may be some negative reaction to the enhanced liabilities (such as property taxation), which the ‘advantages’ of ownership may bring (Shah, 1994). Experience from various SUPs also shows that, on the whole, the process of decision-making is still not vested with local communities and such tokenism can lead to indifferent levels of community participation during the implementation of projects.

Within this context, another series of continuing Slum Improvement Programmes has been undertaken in a partnership between the ODA, the Government of India and a number of state governments.

1. The scope of the Slum Improvement Projects (SIPs)

The SIP programme was initiated in Andra Pradesh with ODA support for the well-known Hyderabad Urban Community Development Project. The municipal authority effectively adopted a community development approach to a city-wide slum-improvement programme. To this was added, firstly, the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its Basic Services Programme, and subsequently the support of ODA, in providing a substantial grant for physical provision, and additional inputs for health, education and other socio-economic programmes. This integrated approach was extended to two other cities in the state (Visakhapatnam and Vijaysawada), before subsequently being extended to Calcutta (West Bengal) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh). The scope of the projects may be seen from the objectives of the Indore SIP (1989) which seeks to:

· integrate the slums into the economic and social networks of the city;

· improve physical living conditions for some of the poorest urban families;

· increase standards of health, literacy and basic education;

· increase income-earning potential;

· develop community organization and institutions;

· provide security of tenure;

· encourage self-help improvement of housing;

· strengthen local government, NGOs and the slum communities to ensure that the assets created are properly maintained and the project benefits are sustained; and

· improve housing conditions in areas adjacent to the slums, and lead to a general improvement in health standards in relation to water-borne diseases in the city as a whole.

Whilst these are indicative of the aims of all five projects, each one is part of an evolutionary approach, adapting to experience of good practice and to differing local circumstances. The projects thus have wide-ranging briefs, not merely to improve the physical infrastructure and environment, but to increase the earning capacity of slum-dwellers and their quality of life through other health and educational programmes; to develop local organizational capacity to assist with the delivery of programmes through community development and leadership programmes (especially with regard to women); and to establish systems and procedures for the maintenance of the projects and their future sustainability.

2. The social impact of the SIP projects

Whilst, for the most part, the SIP projects have been effectively targeted on the urban poor, there has been some criticism that the projects have used slum settlements as a proxy for the settlements of the poor. The selection of slum settlements was largely left to the local authorities and, as a result, has concentrated on ‘unobjectionable slums’ rather than those in the worst condition. The projects did not make any particular provision for pavement dwellers, moreover, despite the fact that the National Housing Policy (Government of India, 1992b) sees them as a more urgent priority for attention than slum dwellers. A further related criticism is that whilst one of the aims of the projects is to integrate the slums into the economic and social networks of the city this cannot be achieved whilst they remain as recognizable ‘projects’; rather they need to form part of a city-wide poverty alleviation strategy. This means integrating the projects into the economic and employment strategy of the cities just as much as it does ensuring they are part of the physical planning framework, or an integral part of the city-wide network of infrastructure.

Owing to the differing regulatory frameworks concerning the notification and regulation of slum settlements in the different states, the SIPs have not been able to exercise a consistent policy over the conferment of occupancy rights. This is so even despite the fact that security of tenure is widely acknowledged as crucial to the sustained enjoyment of the benefits of the projects and to the prevention of the involuntary displacement of existing occupants. At the same time, the state governments differ over the assistance given to householders in the form of loans for house improvement. These variations in the application of policy have resulted in different outcomes as far as housing upgrading is concerned. In Indore - where there is very progressive legislation for the regularization of the occupancy of slum dwellers on public land, and assistance with loans towards housing improvement - there has been a much higher level of induced private investment than in Calcutta where there is confusion over occupancy rights arising from a three tier tenancy structure and no organized assistance for housing loans. This stresses the need for a systematic policy framework towards housing for the poor.

A further problem has arisen over infrastructure costs. The costs have varied across the five projects. In all cases, however, they are above the per capita norm (of Rs.525) for the EIUS schemes, sometimes by as much as five times. In circumstances where the projects do not afford comprehensive coverage of slum settlements this raises the question of the opportunity costs of more intensive expenditure in some areas than others and the political difficulties which this may generate. The extent of the difficulties is underlined by the fact that the financial allocation towards just one city in the SIP programme is roughly equivalent to the planned expenditure commitment of the Madhya Pradesh Urban Welfare Department, which is responsible for slum improvement, rehabilitation of the landless, urban employment and municipal strengthening across the entire state, over a similar time period.

To the problem of costs is added a complication over implementation. There are now three ‘models’ for slum improvement in operation in India (EIUS, the National Plan Programme; the World Bank schemes; and the SIPs). EIUS and the SIPs are both grant based schemes whilst the World Bank’s programme promotes full recovery of costs on land and infrastructural investment. Where two or more of these programmes are operating simultaneously in the same state this can lead to unnecessary confusion between bureaucrats and beneficiaries alike.

An overall evaluation of the components of the SIP projects reveals varied outcomes from genuinely successful innovation through to some disappointments. Founded very much on the principle of community participation, this has been a very prominent and successful feature of the projects. In each case a very extensive range of community initiatives and activities has been developed and where project completion is nearing, arrangements are underway for local neighbourhood councils to assume substantial responsibilities for the continuing management of these initiatives. In the earlier projects, now nearing completion, the major challenge is to sustain this wide range of activities once the formal funding for support staff has ended. This issue of sustainability is also receiving greater attention in the later projects.

As far as infrastructural provision is concerned, apart from the general problem over costs already mentioned, these programmes appear to have been successfully implemented. The Indore SIP, however, has been particularly successful in both the design and implementation of an innovative infrastructural system. This has been designed to lower costs, reduce the maintenance responsibilities of the municipality, whilst increasing those on the community, and to permit the phased linkage of slum settlements to the overall infrastructure network of the city.

Where relocation programmes have been undertaken, however, these have met with mixed success. A recent review of the relocation component of schemes yet to be undertaken has concluded a need to bring thinking more into line with requirements to consolidate, wherever possible, in-situ solutions to the problems of slum settlements.

The health and education components have also been successful, and some extremely so. Again, the major concern is over sustaining the levels of provision and service delivery which has been achievable under an externally funded project oriented framework when this organizational structure is replaced by the mainstream service delivery programmes of the statutory and voluntary services.

The weakest component of the projects has been the Economic Support Programmes and it has been clear that this is an area where there is least experience. Whilst a range of training and enterprise initiatives have been established; revolving loan funds set up and small loans disbursed; and expertise and advice from a range of institutions mobilized, the success rate in micro-enterprise development has not been good and experience with loan recovery poor. More recently, the projects have tended to move away from revolving loan funds towards the encouragement of thrift and credit cooperatives and towards more active links with local businesses. The major difficulties appear to be a lack of experienced staff; and absence of a strategic framework for training and employment initiatives, given that these initiatives often begin in a policy vacuum without an informed knowledge of the nature of the local economy or the operation of the local labour market.

Two further issues are raised by the projects, the first is the question of sustainability and the second, the replicability of the projects. As the earlier projects are now nearing their formal completion it is evident that there are likely to be some serious problems in continuing the sustainability of some elements of the projects as delivered so far. Some components, such as infrastructure provision, require a major investment and thereafter there is the question of maintenance; other components, like some health and educational projects, are continuing and the absence of continued funding calls in question their future continuity. This is a major problem with externally funded projects. The second issue is the related one of replicability. It is evident that the projects have developed a strong and independent organization and framework which, in some instances, has neither been properly integrated with the local state and municipal administrative structure, nor with the norms and procedures of indigenous programmes such as EIUS and the Urban Basic Services Programme. Discussions are currently underway between the Government of India and ODA as to how continuing support for slum upgrading programmes can be more effectively integrated within administrative and legal frameworks, whilst at the same time adding support to the Government of India’s strategic approach to urban poverty alleviation.

3. Conclusions

The SIP schemes illustrate both the strengths and weaknesses of the project-oriented approach to slum improvement and poverty alleviation. On the one hand the projects are well organized, adequately funded and are able to deploy staffing levels and adopt norms and expenditure levels which are able to impact positively on the quality of life of the beneficiaries. On the other hand, the projects are selective rather than comprehensive, they tend to develop an independent managerial orientation and the different norms and standards tend to be difficult to sustain and replicate when the projects come to an end.

To overcome some of these problems, more comprehensive city-wide programmes could be developed, rather than localized projects. This would ensure that programme staff are accountable within the existing administrative and legal frameworks; that the main thrusts of policy are consistent with strategic approaches of the government and municipal authorities; and that norms and expenditure levels are agreed in such a way that they do not create problems of opportunity cost for the future.

The SIPs however, have been important and innovative projects which have encouraged effective partnerships between statutory agencies (at state and municipal levels), NGOs and local communities to tackle physical, social and economic problems in a series of slum communities. The projects have demonstrated the importance of sound leadership and local political support. Whilst not all components of the projects have been successful, the systematic monitoring of the projects has enabled adaptation and modification from one project to another and has enabled an evolutionary development over time. The SIPs offer invaluable experience for others undertaking programmes of slum improvement and urban poverty alleviation.

F. Conclusions: Assessing the experience of projects/programmes aimed at improving the human settlements conditions of the world’s urban poor

In a review of international experience of the extent to which governments were introducing enabling strategies, UNCHS (1991c) observed that, “many countries have responded positively to the GSS and have already started to implement its recommendations in a wide range of areas”. It also goes on to conclude that, “most governments find themselves in a transitional stage in housing policy, somewhere between the old emphasis on production and direction and the new enabling approach of the GSS” (UNCHS, 1991c). This certainly remains true for this report. The evidence available, both in the review of human settlements conditions in chapter IV and the more detailed case studies above, suggests that governments continue to acknowledge the importance of GSS. Yet, in the light of widespread economic austerity throughout much of the developing world economic circumstances are hardly propitious for an expansion of the role of the private sector. At the same time, the impact of SAPs and other macro-economic reforms on the public sector has also meant that governments have, in most cases, yet to get to grips with the task of developing coherent enabling frameworks for shelter and urban development.

The four case studies above reflect different levels of government commitment to the concept of the enabling shelter strategies. The FUNACOM programme in SPaulo was clearly part of a significant and concerted attempt by one of the largest municipal authorities in the world to adopt many of the principles of the GSS. The SIP programme in India has been constructed around a community development approach which strongly embraces the idea of enablement. State agencies in Zimbabwe also demonstrated a willingness to liberalize many aspects of their approach to the delivery of sites-and-services projects before the programme succumbed to the twin problem of economic austerity and a severe drought. Even in the Republic of Korea, where evidence from the case study might demonstrate that the commitment to enablement is least, there is evidence of a conscious attempt to involve the private sector both in the construction and management of low-cost housing. Both the SIP programme in India and FUNACOM in SPaulo demonstrate progressive attempts to develop coherent local shelter strategies within an enabling framework and whilst the SPaulo strategy foundered because the Workers’ Party failed to secure continuing political support, the SIP programme (although project-based rather than a wholly strategic programme), is still able to evolve and develop because of its universal political support. This underlines a previous observation by UNCHS (Habitat) that,

“sustained political will is an essential ingredient in the success of any major policy change. To be effective, the GSS has to be supported at the highest levels of government over successive administrations” (UNCHS, 1991c).

Three of the four case studies also demonstrate that government bodies, both central and local, are taking cognizance of the advice given by the international agencies to withdraw from direct state provision in the housing market. Consistent with the findings of the UNCHS (Habitat) study (1991c), however, it remains the case that although these municipal bodies have played, and will continue to play, an important role in the development of local shelter strategies, there is a long way to go before these roles may be regarded as fully fledged and coherent enabling roles.

A second fundamental characteristic of the new orthodoxy is the development of partnerships between municipal bodies, NGOs and local communities in order to secure and enhance low-cost provision for low-income groups. Such a partnership was the central feature of the FUNACOM programme, although it was evident that there were some difficulties in changing attitudes and procedures within the municipal bureaucracy in a short period of time. There were also problems in mobilizing the technical resources through NGOs on a scale commensurate with needs across a highly decentralized programme throughout the city. The SIPs in India were founded on a community development approach and the replicability and continued success of this approach has been the major feature of these programmes. It has generated community-based initiatives on a broad scale and across a wide range of activities in each of the projects. There has clearly been less of a role for community participation in the formulation and implementation of the sites-and-services programmes in Zimbabwe and in the EHP in the Republic of Korea. Partly as a consequence, neither programme has succeeded in effectively reaching the low-income groups, save indirectly, in the case of Zimbabwe, through the subletting of properties.

A third important criterion is the enhancement of the role of the private (commercial) sector. This is currently one of the least developed areas within the conceptual framework for local strategies. “For the poor, there remains little alternative but to rely on one’s own resources or to use informal sources of finance” (UNCHS, 1991c). Evidence from the case studies above demonstrates that in each example efforts have been made to involve the private (commercial) sector in these shelter initiatives for low-income groups, but with limited success. In SPaulo, the municipality entered into partnerships with the private sector over land development; in Zimbabwe, the municipal bodies sought partnership arrangements with the building society for private sector loan finance and with private employers for assistance with a range of administrative tasks; cooperation from employers was sought in the EHP programme in the Republic of Korea; and in India, the SIPs have (latterly) sought assistance from private companies with regard to training and enterprise development. Thus, private sector cooperation has been sought across a range of activities relevant to these shelter initiatives. None may be described as highly successful, however, and attempts by the government in the Republic of Korea to encourage small companies to assist with the EHP for the low-income groups have failed. The reason was affordability problems and the lacking capacity of small firms to provide housing management. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe the involvement of the private sector and the liberalization of local authority controls further exacerbated the difficulties encountered by the municipalities in trying to target low-income groups in an increasingly expensive scheme and led eventually to changes in the socio-economic composition of beneficiaries. From the case studies, however, there is little indication of progressive developments in the enhancement of the institutional capacity of the private sector to assist low-income groups.

The promotion of self-help in low-cost construction and materials production is a further important component of effective low-cost shelter strategies. This was a strong feature of the FUNACOM programme with local Community Associations not only determining appropriate standards and materials, but also undertaking the majority of the construction work themselves. This helped to raise confidence, encouraged the development of skills, and created opportunities for local economic development involving construction and the provision of materials. A similar process is also being undertaken in the SIP programmes and, although local circumstances differ from project to project, the physical upgrading of shelter and the environment using self-help initiatives is at the core of these programmes. Where these initiatives are supported by regularization of tenure, loan finance for upgrading, and training programmes for construction skills, they have been particularly successful. There was also scope for self-build activities in the sites-and-services programme of Zimbabwe, and the establishment of ‘building brigades’ was intended to assist with the production of building materials and reduce costs. Although the self-build approach worked well in the initial phase, the building brigades were not a success and the rising cost of materials was a major factor in undermining the affordability of the scheme for low-income groups; and as the higher-income groups replaced those on low incomes, the principle of self-building became less relevant. There is little, if any, scope for self-help activity in the EHP programme in the Republic of Korea. The review of human settlements conditions in chapter IV confirms that formal housing provision is rarely accessible or affordable for the urban poor and a similar conclusion may be drawn from two of the case studies. Hence, the GSS urges governments to formulate explicit shelter policies for the poor. There has been increasing recognition in recent years, moreover, that women, and women-headed households in particular, are disproportionately represented amongst those living in poverty (see chapters II and IV). Hence shelter policies need to demonstrate that they are responsive to the particular needs of women and children as well as to those on low incomes. Certainly the FUNACOM programme and related shelter policies in SPaulo and the SIP programme in India, demonstrate approaches which are more effectively targeted and responsive to the needs of the poor and to women’s needs, than conventional government provision. Both programmes involved the conferment of legal title in squatter settlements (although this has not been universally applied throughout the SIP programme), and the FUNACOM programme was one of several simultaneous policies which were responsive in different ways to the shelter needs of the poor in SPaulo. Other related programmes included tenemental upgrading in central areas, squatter settlement upgrading in peripheral areas linked to relocation programmes involving sites-and-services schemes where in-situ upgrading was considered unwise in view of the dangerous nature of the existing site, and a low-cost new build housing programme. The SIP programme is also more effectively targeting the poor than conventional housing programmes, but the project approach has been seen to be a drawback in the effective targeting of the very poorest groups. Despite focusing on slum settlements, the SIPs have been criticized for failing to include all slum communities within their purview and, at the same time, for excluding consideration of pavement dwellers, street children and other destitutes.

Both programmes have also been responsive to the practical needs of women, involving them fully in the formulation and implementation of local activities. But as UNCHS (1991c) points out, it is much more difficult to make progress with regard to the institutional and market inequalities which exist and which inhibit or preclude the ability of women to hold land titles, to take loans, secure training or to obtain jobs.

The sites-and-services programmes in Zimbabwe, whilst originally successful in targeting the poor, have over time become a contradiction. The building standards required have become increasingly unaffordable for the low-income groups. There also appears to have been a policy vacuum over the issue of subletting. The result has been that many of the practicalities of renting have not been considered in a purposeful way and large numbers of those renting were dissatisfied. Furthermore, the throughput of serviced plots has been very small in comparison with housing needs.

Despite high levels of subsidy, the EHP programme has not been successful in targeting low-income groups because the costs remain outside their affordability. The eligibility criteria applied to the programme have also limited the access of the poor. Governments should ensure that shelter provision and upgrading is combined with infrastructural investment, with local economic development initiatives, and with health, educational and welfare provision to enable a concerted, and integrated approach, to urban poverty alleviation. Of the case studies, the SIPs most clearly demonstrate the advantages of this approach, but there is little doubt also that the project orientation and framework of the SIPs has been a constraint in seeking the broader objective of attempting to integrate slum settlements more effectively into the physical, social, economic and political networks of the city as a whole. Such an approach needs to be developed over time and involves the development of partnerships across areas of traditional expertise. In SPaulo, whilst the conceptualization of local development activity was broadly based, involving improvements in infrastructure and to community facilities, it is not clear whether a fully integrated strategic approach was adopted. In the remaining two case studies the targeting of the housing programmes on the low-income groups (at least in the latter stages of the Zimbabwe programme), was not effective, thereby precluding any attempt at an integrated approach towards urban poverty alleviation.

Agenda 21 (United Nations, 1993a) has increased the emphasis on two further requirements for the formulation of shelter strategies. It encourages a greater concern for environmental issues and a recognition of the need to develop strategies which were sustainable. Certainly the aim of each of the case study programmes has been to improve the quality of housing and environmental conditions of beneficiaries. By concentrating on existing slum settlements often devoid of infrastructural provision, the upgrading programmes in SPaulo and the SIPs in India have tackled the problems of environmental degradation directly, and by adopting self-help mechanisms have been particularly cost-effective as well as successful in mobilizing local communities around issues of shelter and the environment. These programmes have also encouraged the use of locally available low-cost materials thereby increasing the potential for employment creation and generating a beneficial impact from local income multipliers.

The issue of sustainability, however, is a complex one. The FUNACOM programme, along with other shelter programmes in SPaulo, although evincing many of the characteristics of an environmentally sensitive and sustainable programme consistent with the GSS, was unsustainable because of local political change. There are also difficulties with the sustainability of the SIP programmes but for very different reasons. The external resourcing of the SIPs and the subsequent development of an independent managerial orientation has meant the projects have adopted staffing levels and norms and standards which will be difficult to sustain once the major capital funding stage has concluded and local statutory bodies begin to assume responsibility for the projects. There are problems too for the sites-and-services programme in Zimbabwe. The high standards of shelter and infrastructural provision have already been modified to reduce costs, but unless the number of serviced plots is greatly enhanced and more consideration given to arrangements for letting, the programme is likely to remain inaccessible and beyond the means of low-income groups. These criticisms of the Zimbabwean programme correlate strongly with general criticisms of the project approach to emerge from an assessment by UNCHS (Habitat) which concludes that projects:

· invariably addressed only the needs of a proportion of overall demand, and often a very modest proportion;

· tended to focus on technical efficiency rather than a community-orientated approach;

· were often beyond the affordability of the poor, or if not, created problems because of a lack of availability; and

· were generally not conceived in terms of the impact they might have on broader urban development issues (UNCHS, 1991b).

Ironically, insofar as the EHP was something of a pilot programme in the Republic of Korea, it seems that of the case studies, whilst it least adheres to the principles associated with the GSS, it may nonetheless prove to be the most sustainable programme. There are nonetheless some important lessons to be learned from the EHP if it is to be more effectively targeted on the urban poor in the future.

A related issue to that of sustainability is the extent to which shelter programmes may be replicable and capable of scaling up to make a more effective contribution to overall housing needs. Whilst the SPaulo programme was a city-wide strategy, its output (albeit at the commencement of the programme), resulted in new and improved shelter conditions for approximately 100,000 households and yet over a similar duration (1989-1992), the population increase in SPaulo during these four years would have amounted to about 1.2 million people or almost a quarter of a million households. This not only demonstrates the scale of the shelter problem, it also underlines the urgency of the need to develop strategic approaches which dramatically scale-up the level of provision.

Perhaps with the exception of the Republic of Korea there are major problems in scaling-up current levels of provision in urban areas in India, Brazil and Zimbabwe. One of the key problems is the scarcity of resources (and the relative incapacity of state government resources in the Indian context is amply demonstrated in the case study), but similar problems are apparent in Brazil and Zimbabwe (and throughout much of the developing world). As a consequence UNCHS (Habitat) argues that the most important elements in seeking to scale-up shelter programmes are, “popular participation (so that people ‘own’ the process and are committed to making it work themselves), financial self-sufficiency (through cost recovery, user-charges, and micro-economic development), and administrative capacity (at all levels so that programmes and policies can be implemented efficiently over time)” (UNCHS, 1991c). The latter is particularly important: “Unless the local authorities are strong, well-resourced, efficient, flexible, and accountable, they will be unable to promote the right framework within which the household and private sectors can play their roles” (UNCHS, 1991c).

Finally, in order to be fully aware of the progress being made both in general and specific terms, the international agencies recommend a capacity for the monitoring and evaluation of shelter programmes. To an extent each of the case studies has been the subject of research and evaluation exercises but the one programme in which monitoring and evaluation processes have been used in an integrated way to learn from experience and modify subsequent development has been the SIP programme in India.

From this brief review of four case studies of low-income shelter programmes in Zimbabwe, Brazil, the Republic of Korea and India it may be concluded that the programmes in SPaulo and in India demonstrate the closest association with the key principles recommended by the international agencies and the EHP programme in the Republic of Korea, the least. Each of the programmes, however, does exhibit some characteristics of the new GSS agenda.