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close this bookGSS in Action: Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (HABITAT, 1992, 105 p.)
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View the documentForeword
View the documentStrategic planning for better shelter
Open this folder and view contentsSuccess stories in shelter
View the documentHow to develop a national shelter strategy
View the documentAction at the national level
View the documentReferences


United Nations centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

P. O. Box 30030, Nairobi, KENYA. Telephone: 230800, 520600
Cable: UNHABITAT: FAX (254) 2 226473, 226479; Telex: 22996 UNHAB KE


This publication has been written for all those who are interested in ways, means and modes to improve the shelter sector in their own countries: policy-makers, entrepreneurs, researchers, community leaders - in short, men and women looking for a more habitable world. It illustrates practical applications of the principles of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (GSS).

The first part offers, for the reader who is not familiar with the Global Strategy, an overview of the main recommendations of that document. The second part, which forms the main section of the publication, consists of 22 success stories from 17 countries. They highlight one or more recommendations from the Strategy and show how they were implemented through various programmes and projects. The third part includes practical suggestions on how to initiate a national shelter strategy. The last part describes the various actions taken by governments around the world to study, formulate, implement or complement their national shelter strategies.

The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) is pleased to present to all countries these examples of how an enabling approach has been used successfully in all the main regions of the developing world.

To facilitate shelter for all by the year 2000 is not a dream, it is an ambitious but realistic goal. It can be met if countries persist in their efforts to house their citizens, with courage, conviction and perseverance, using all the available tools of an enabling environment.

Arcot Ramachandran
Executive Director

Strategic planning for better shelter

The world's shelter needs are formidable. At present, one billion people are homeless or living in homes unfit for human habitation. Their number is likely to increase alarmingly unless urgent steps are taken to deal with the situation.

In the last few decades in particular, an increase in world population from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 5.2 billion in 1991 has caused housing problems to escalate. In addition, increasing rates of urbanization, growing economic problems, and rapidly growing rates of unemployment and underemployment have compounded the problem, especially in developing countries. One third of the population of such countries now has inadequate shelter. Over half the population of some cities in the poorer countries consists of residents of squatter settlements.

A useless quest for a single magic key

Overwhelmed by this exploding population, professionals, researchers and governments have searched for a long time for an effective supply method - a single magic key - to solve the shelter problem, believing that the solution was purely technocratic. Country after country tried to develop various building materials, components and forms of equipment. Comprehensive codes, standards and procedures for construction were assembled. Extensive plans for regional and urban development were carried out, with strict rules for the intensity and the quality of the use of land. Public agencies sought to provide shelter on a massive scale.

Technological innovations alone did not produce more affordable dwellings. Isolated master plans raised the value of the land within city boundaries, stimulating illegal settlements in the periphery. Standards generated extra costs that made houses and flats unaffordable for those most in need. Public agencies were overwhelmed by the huge unmet demand and by the even bigger number of households in desperate need of shelter yet lacking the ability to pay. Informal settlements grew, in some cities accounting for 75 per cent of the new dwellings built. Their inhabitants had to sacrifice education, health, transport and food priorities for shelter.

In the financial dimension, ingenious systems for collection and cost recovery were devised - with fixed, variable or indexed instalments. Intarest rates were subsidized and construction contracts were granted to inefficient developers who were only able to remain in the market because of the hidden subsidies involved. Nevertheless, adequate shelter is still unaffordable for the poorest groups surviving in the informal sector, who have patterns of income and expenditure different from those employed in the formal sector, for whom these reimbursement systems were all designed.

A multidimensional response

Step-by-step, a need for change in approach was gradually perceived by governments. It was understood that the shelter problem has multiple dimensions and that its solution cannot be purely technocratic, simply legal, or merely financial. It was also understood that the State cannot solve the shelter problem alone and that it needs the cooperation of the private sector, formal and informal, of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and of the communities themselves, with new game rules.

So it was found that there is no single answer to the shelter question, that there is no isolated and magical solution. It was concluded that the key to shelter for all is made up of a cluster of interwoven approaches that form a multidimensional response. Many successful examples all over the world, such as the ones described in this publication, do exist but, unfortunately, are not well-known or have not been replicated widely.

The new rules of the game, the new roles of the government and the private sector, and abundant successful examples led to the creation of a new approach to shelter all: an enabling environment.

The Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1988, pulls together this global experience and displays it in a comprehensive document that provides guidelines to all countries interested in the formulation of new policies to meet their shelter needs. It sets a goal: shelter for all by the year 2000. It determines the actors: the public and private sectors, working jointly. It lays a mode: an enabling system - applied through strategic planning and constant monitoring of the shelter sector to update and readjust policies, programmes and projects.

Strategic planning for better shelter

The Strategy has a global orientation, since shelter problems are universal and warrant global concern. A common set of global principles are set forth - to be applied in individual countries through their national shelter strategies and in line with their national development aspirations and economic plans.

The recommendations of the Global Strategy fall naturally into three areas of concentration:

Political and participatory,
Fiscal and financial,
Physical and spatial.

The key to shelter for all is made up of a cluster of interwoven approaches that form a multidimensional response. The Global Strategy for Shelter calls for action on several fronts; political and participating; fiscal and financial; physical and spatial.

Three areas of concentration

Political and participatory Issues

In this area, the Strategy stresses the need to link the shelter sector to the economy when development plans are formulated, because it plays a more important role in national development than has been recognized.

Participation at both the planning and implementation stages, within the national context of decision-making should also be promoted and sustained.

As laws, decrees, regulations and standards for the shelter sector in themselves can be obstacles to facilitate shelter for all, shelter legislation has to be revised with care. Coordination of the various actors of the shelter sector is a key element of the Strategy: between the public and private sectors, between the various levels of government and their different agencies; between central and local governments, between NGO workers, business people and informal builders.

Decentralization - transferring responsibilities as well as financial and human resources to the local authorities - should be supported, to enable them to perform their new tasks successfully.

Community participation - either individual or collective - is needed not only for the construction of dwellings, installation of infrastructure or provision of services, but for planning and decision-making. However, this should not be imposed on the men and women concerned, but should depend on dialogue between the community and the government.

To facilitate the role of these actors, it is necessary to revise and update standards of infrastructure and construction. Their economic impact should be assessed and, if necessary, more realistic and flexible codes and minimum standards should be established in low-income areas, for gradual improvement later.

Low-income households have constructed a considerable number of dwellings in illegal settlements, in spite of and in many cases in defiance of State regulations, often without legal land tenure. Programmes for legalizing ownership in informal settlements must be implemented, complemented by projects to improve housing and infrastructure. In this way they can be integrated into the formal housing process.

To sustain political decisions, it is necessary to be able to get sufficient information about the state of the housing sector, both formal and informal. It is therefore important to use shelter indicators to assess the performance of the shelter sector.

Fiscal and financial issues

The Strategy makes important recommendations in this field. A key objective should be the mobilization of financial resources for the production, improvement and maintenance of infrastructure and shelter.

The financing of infrastructure must be a public responsibility, because networks of roads, water-distribution, drainage, sewerage, and communications are used by everyone. Therefore, the institutions in charge of providing these public services must have a stable financial base. Basic infrastructure should precede urban development, assuring right-of-way to the networks before the shelters themselves are built.

New measures for recovering the cost of public infrastructure, such as added value taxes which acknowledge the increased land value generated by development need to be put into practice.

The financing of shelter ought to be considered as part of a wide effort to develop the whole finance sector - mobilizing savings, reducing costs, improving the effectiveness of the financial intermediaries and promoting the free movement of capital.

The cost of housing finance should be reduced to a minimum level based on sound financial and economic principles. Official regulations, which can greatly increase these costs, should be reviewed to make credit more accessible to increasingly larger sections of the population.

However, financing should not be directed only towards owner-occupied housing. Rental housing meets an important and rising need in the rapidly expanding cities of the developing world. Rental housing for all income levels must be financed by ensuring that it is sufficiently profitable to attract investors. Ultimately, an increased supply of rental housing is the best way to achieve lower and fairer rental costs for tenants. Rent-control regulations should not only benefit some privileged tenants but rather the majority of those requiring rental housing.

Lines of credit to upgrade housing considered to be "sub-standard" are needed. A moderate investment will restore them, making good use of the investments made previously by their occupants.

To maintain a steady flow of finance for housing development, whether owned or rented, systems for recovery of loans must be improved, and the percentage of debts in arrears reduced substantially. There is also a need to review the performance of collection systems and, in many cases, to carry them to the level of the community itself.

A well-designed system of subsidies for housing has to be compassionate, equitable and efficient. Shelter subsidies should form part of a general strategy for meeting the needs of the Door and the destitute.

Physical and spatial issues

The physical spatial plan has three basic components: land, infrastructure and construction materials. As land is the fundamental resource in any housing programme, security of land ownership is the condition sine qua non for investment in shelter. However land can only be used adequately when infrastructure is present.

The supply of urban land to groups with few resources should be increased either by recognizing the practical importance of informal land markets an removing obstacles impeding their development, or by implementing viable alternatives to the informal process of land supply in the cities, with various types of stimulating public intervention, from "land banks" to free market supply.

The procedures for registering land titles and land sales and purchases should be improved, to obtain an efficient distribution system of this scarce resource. Land acquisition by government is usually a time-consuming and costly process that does not succeed in satisfying demand. It is therefore wise to establish incentives and sanctions both financial and administrative - to increase land supply by the private sector.

Possession of land in illegal settlements should be guaranteed, by means of a gradual process of legalization. This will stimulate the inhabitants of informal settlements to improve their houses and their neighbourhoods.

The high standards for infrastructure and construction - responsible in many countries for informal urban settlements -should be revised since they raise the price of urbanized land so much that it is placed out of the reach of an increasing proportion of the urban population.

Another obstacle to the supply of land is, in many countries, the complex process of approval of urban developments and building. It is necessary to simplify the formalities for building and obtaining subdivision permits, in order to reduce costs and stimulate the supply of land and shelters.

Urban and architectural design must be more efficient, utilizing land rationally but without abusing it. Both low-density and high-density housing may pose vicious land use situations. In the first case, urban dispersion raises the cost of networks and of transport. In the second, the high-rise buildings permitted not only lower the quality of life, but artificially raise the value of land such that it is often placed out of the reach of the poor.

Appropriate technology for shelter and infrastructure in developing countries may be placed between modern imported technology and improved traditional techniques.

Local technology for construction and infrastructure, adapted to the national context, is more appropriate than trying to transfer foreign technology.

These recommendations are listed in the following matrix, together with page references to the Global Strategy for Shelter document, and markers which show when that recommendation has been used in a particular country, as described in the respective case histories. For instance, a reader who is looking for information on land-registration systems will be guided by the matrix to the Bolivia case study. Another, concerned with subsidies, will be guided to the case studies of Chile and Colombia.

The 22 success stories that form the greater part of this publication have been selected because they illustrate the Global Strategy effectively in action in developing countries around the world at the present time. They portray it not as an academic or theoretical document but as a dynamic and responsive approach to generating more and better shelter and infrastructure. The Global Strategy for Shelter is essentially action being applied by and for the people.

GSS in action - success stories


Experiencing rapid urbanization and moving from traditional village life, Senegal is

increasing land supply

delivering more low-cost housing

upgrading existing shelter units

mobilizing financial resources for shelter

developing more realistic building codes

Despite immense problems, Somalia is

increasing building materials production

training women to work in the construction sector

building demonstration houses

The women of Masese shanty town in Jinja, Uganda. have

obtained security of tenure

upgraded existing dwellings

gained employment through

Community participation has also been building-materials production the key to the upgrading of Namuwongo squatter settlement in Kampala, Uganda, where

developed social services

security of tenure was obtained

existing homes are being upgraded

infrastructure was improved with community participation

user charges were efficiently collected

Malawi is trying to increase affordability by building core or small houses that can be later enlarged and upgraded by their owners. Called "The house that grows ". the scheme can:

improve traditional architecture

use local materials more efficiently

develop a rural housing credit scheme

give building materials as loans

train local builders

Housing has been a priority in post-independent Zimbabwe leading to

the adoption of reasonable standards

community participation through building brigades

the production of building materials

the mobilization of private-sector financial resources for low-income shelter




118,484 sq km

Population (1990)

8.4 million

Average rate of population growth 1985-1990

3.3% p.a.

Estimated population by the year 2000

11.7 million

Average population density (1990)

71.1 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1987)

$US 160

Capital city: Lilongwe u.a.¹³ 1990

0.5 million

Other cities:




As 85% of Malawi's population still lives in the rural areas, improvements were needed to their traditional homes. Through a rural credit scheme , " the house that grows" is now becoming a reality. Built with durable materials and with flexible designs, the building can be added to, as and when the owner wishes.

The "house that grows"

The traditional rural house in Malawi is a simple building constructed from materials found in the locality. The walls are of mud and wattle or unprotected mud bricks with no stable foundations, and a roof of poles or bamboo, thatched with grass or reeds. The floor is of rammed earth. There is no running water nor other facilities.

This type of house has a number of serious disadvantages. The materials are not durable and need to be replaced or repaired at frequent intervals. As the materials from which they are built are becoming increasingly scarce, many of the traditional houses are not kept in a good state of repair. They may be uncomfortable because of leaking roofs or even unsafe because of falling roofs or walls.

Traditional materials are no longer easy to obtain because the land from which the grass and poles are harvested is increasingly used for cultivation to feed Malawi's growing population. Materials may be available further afield, with growing transport costs. Although such building materials were originally inexpensive, with growing scarcity prices are now tending to rise. These traditional homes are also attacked by termites and can therefore collapse without warning. They are frequently damaged by torrential tropical rains.

As 85 per cent of Malawi's population lives in the rural areas, facing these perpetual housing problems, the Government of Malawi launched a Rural Housing Project in 1981, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNCHS (Habitat).

The project was based on the concept of "the house that grows" an idea that had already been used successfully in other countries to increase affordability. A simple housing design for a core unit would initially be built on the understanding that, as money and circumstances allowed, the building would be extended.

The first experimental houses consisted of a 20-square metre room plus an adjacent smaller room that could be used as a store. The plans were prepared for the addition of a living room, more bedrooms and a verandah. The house would "grow" as and when its owner could afford it.

Developing house designs was one aim of the first phase of the project (1981 to 1983). With a small water storage tank and an improved brick pit latrine, a core unit would cost about Kwacha (K) 600. (K 1 = $US 0.60 in 1983) The second stage of house construction would incorporate a living room and second bedroom. Stage three, costing around K 1130, offered a number of options, one of them a 2500-gallon brick water-storage tank. At stage four, the house would have three bedrooms and a separate kitchen. At the final stage, the "house that grows" would have acquired four bedrooms, as well as a living room, a latrine, a brick-water storage tank, and hot water from another tank served by a solar panel. The final cost would be about K 1800 for a seven-room unit with good facilities.

The versatility of "the house that grows" was achieved through the flexibility of the designs. Extra rooms could be added to the existing structure with no alteration to the brickwork, whenever the owner was able to move on to the next stage of construction.

The first phase of the project as well as developing appropriate house designs, improved some indigenous building materials found in the rural areas, developed low-cost construction methods, trained local builders and artisans, and constructed six demonstration houses at training centres in each of the three regions of the country: Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

These houses showed the different stages of development of the "the house that grows", plus the techniques involved. Also at these regional training centres, artisans and builders were given on-site training.

Phase two moved ahead in late 1983 and early 1984, to develop and expand the project. The three regional centres were assisted by 24 district centres and a number of subdistrict centres, so that the project administration could spread to all parts of the country. Training was extended, both to artisans and builders requiring skills in low-cost building technologies and techniques for materials production, and at the administrative level so that Malawi nationals can take over when the United Nations input is phased out. Members of the community are reached and involved by extension workers who address village meetings and give information about the project and how people can be involved

An essential component of phase two was the development of a rural housing credit scheme which would help local people to improve their homes. An innovative scheme was developed with financial assistance from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and a Credit Revolving Fund has been set up. This system has been designed to allow low-income rural farmers to benefit from the system. Under the scheme, local people receive building materials such as cement, roofing sheets and similar essentials as credit, with a repayment period of up to 15 years. Interest charged on the loan is below the market rate.

In addition, to encourage production of building materials, the project offers materials and tools as medium-term loans to local artisans to encourage them to become entrepreneurs and start small-scale businesses in building-materials production in the rural areas. Women in particular are receiving help and encouragement in this sector.

About 1500 families are benefiting annually from the credit scheme. In general, people are advised that the larger the house, the greater the cost will be, and consequently the harder it will be for them to repay the loan. Participants are therefore encouraged to start their home on a small scale and then, as circumstances allow, to add to and develop "the house that grows".

The Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) of the United Kingdom honoured this remarkable project with the BSHF 1986 IYSH award, stating: "This is the best human settlements project of the year - offering low-cost housing to the poorest sector of the population together with sustainable futures to the residents. In addition, the project displays practical and imaginative solutions to diminishing energy resources".



196,722 sq km

Population (1990)

7.4 million

Estimated population by the year 2000

9.7 million

Average population density (1990)

37.5 inhabitants per sq hen

Urban population (1990)


Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)

2.7% p.a.

GNP per capita (1988)

$US 630

Capital city: Dakar 1990 u.a.

1.5 million

Other cities:


St Louis



Senegal's goal for the next five years is to deliver 50,000 serviced plots to keep pace with population growth. Shelter production will be increased through private enterprise and housing cooperatives. Self-help construction will be stimulated through a revolving fund.

Increasing urban housing and land supply

Life in Senegal is largely centred around its 13,000 villages, many of them very small, which reflect the cultural life of the different regions of the country. Each village of this Sahelian country has grown up close to a reliable source of water such as a well, a spring or a small stream. The mosque is the hub of this social unit, and its religious leader, the marabout, has power and influence within the community. Each village also has a shaded meeting place where people gather to talk or where the chief holds meetings with the people of the village.

The Wolof villages of eastern Senegal are small units of about 100 households. The simple homes are made of locally available materials and can be moved easily from place to place. The village lies at the centre of three concentric zones of vegetation, an area of kitchen gardens, followed by a belt of groundnuts (Senegal's major export, which are often grown on impoverished soil), and, beyond that, fields of cereal crops such as sorghum and maize, cassava and beans.

The villages of the Malinke people in Senegal are even smaller, housing no more than a few hundred people, living together in rather crowded compounds that protect rigid lines of rectangular huts. Stock raising is important to these people, who bring their cattle inside the walls of the village at night.

In contrast to these tiny villages, the Dyola people have large settlements of 5000 people or more. They live in the wetter south of Senegal in the Gambie and Casamance valleys, and their villages are often perched on the side of a plateau from where they can overlook their wide areas of rice fields. These Dyola homes are the most permanent and substantial of Senegal's dwellings.

Senegal's oldest towns are products of the colonial era. Saint Louis dates from as early as 1633 and Dakar from 1857. New towns have sprung up as a result of the groundnut trade.

Although agriculture and village life has long been the way of life for three quarters of Senegal's people, the movement of people to the towns and to the groundnut producing areas in the west of Senegal are now causing some of the rural areas to be seriously depopulated and causing headaches for the urban administration.

Dakar, for example, with a population increasing at 6-7 per cent per year, will, if such a rate of increase continues, double its size every 12 years. Migrants to the towns need housing but they are not able to provide their own homes as they did in the rural areas. Senegal's housing need therefore focuses on large numbers of low-cost homes for low-income migrants who recently left the rural areas.

As 12,000 dwelling units are needed each year to match the urban population growth, Senegal's target is to deliver 60,000 serviced plots during the next five years, through several agencies, in Dakar, Thi Kaolack and other main towns. This supply will prevent the urban housing deficit from growing.

Shelter policies in Senegal can be grouped into three main periods. From 1960 until 1973, huge housing programmes were carried by out by two public promoters 4 supported by external credit from France. Demand and supply were almost balanced by the production of 15,000 dwelling units, which now represent 60 per cent of the new formal housing stock.

From 1973 until 1981, international credit became scarce with the global economic crisis. The urban population in Senegal grew rapidly. To respond to these problems, the Government created a special fund for financing land subdivisions, (FAHU) and started an ambitious programme of sites-and-services, delivering 12,000 serviced plots in Dakar and 1200 in Thi

Since then, shelter policies aimed at consolidating the system of production for low-cost dwelling units, mainly through a housing bank, the Banque de l'Habitat du Senegal. This specialized credit institution, using funds from private savings and public resources, had financed 7126 dwelling units and 3016 service plots by the end of 1989, built mainly by private enterprises.

However, supply has not yet met demand. The reasons include an accelerated urbanization process, a low level of affordability and increasing building costs. If urbanization trends continue, by the year 2000 Senegal will have an urban population of 4.5 million, representing 42 per cent of the total population.

Other problems found in the shelter sector are the growing proliferation of spontaneous settlements, cumbersome procedures for land transfer, and inadequate mobilization of private savings, due to low incomes and the lack of adequate financial intermediaries. To solve these problems and to facilitate shelter for all by the year 2000, Senegal has recently taken a number of bold measures to increase land supply, to regularize and upgrade spontaneous settlements and to increase the production of low-cost dwellings.

Informal settlements are going to be regularized and upgraded, with an investment of CFAF 1.5 billion ($US 6 million approx.) in Dakar and CFAF 1 billion in other regions. A new line of credit has been created to enable squatters to buy the plots they are now occupying.

Shelter production will be increased with the help of private enterprises and housing cooperatives. Already more than 160 cooperatives exist today, with 35,000 members and savings of about CFAF 5 billion. From now on the Government wants to rely on the private and community sector to shelter its citizens. Incentives to stimulate self-help construction and private-sector building, such as revolving funds for housing, have been set up.

In addition, shelter standards are now being revised to increase affordability. Architectural and technological research are also being encouraged, for a better use of local resources, including indigenous building materials.

Finally, to increase the quality of the dwellings, shelter workers and professionals are being trained, a shelter handbook has been produced and technical assistance is being granted to self-help builders.

These and other enabling strategies will help Senegal to facilitate shelter for all by the year 2000.



637,660 sq km

Population (1990)

7.5 million (estimate)

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)

3.3% p.a.

Estimated population by the Year 2000

9.8 million

Average population density (1990)

11.8 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 170

Capital city: Mogadishu

0.7 million

Other cities:




Women are playing an important role in Somalia's shelter sector. By being trained to produce building materials and by playing a vital role as construction workers, women are helping to reduce the country's massive housing deficit which has been accentuated by drought, famine and internal strift.

A new role for Somali women

In Somalia, most people have until recently pursued a nomadic way of life. As pastoralists, they would move from place to place seeking grazing for the camels, cattle and goats on which their survival depended.

Their traditional home was a simple structure or aqal, a framework of bent sticks covered with skins or cloth. This was folded and carried by the camels when the nomads moved on, and erected again when the family found grazing and made camp.

Yet life was hard. The small scattered grazing lands of the country's marginal and semi-desert environment offered little hope for a better way of life. People were forced to remain at subsistence level, yet the Somali nomads were proud and tended to cling to their timeless life-style.

Two events brought serious changes to Somalia. One was the drought that cut a wide swath across Africa in the 1970s, from the Horn to the Sahel, taking a toll in millions of lives. This drought brought traditional pastoralism to a virtual end in Somalia, as livestock died and starving people moved away from the drought-stricken rangelands. Since the ecology of the fragile marginal land had collapsed, the pastoralists could not return there in their previous numbers. The Government acted by translocating large numbers of people from the camps into which they had been temporarily accommodated to new areas to learn a new life-style. Some people were moved to the fishing zones of north-west Somalia, others to the agricultural areas of the Lower Shabelle Region.

The area lying between the rivers Juba and Shabelle has most of Somalia's arable land. Here, subsistence farmers grow millet and maize for home consumption and bananas as an important cash crop. Fruit and vegetables are grown for the local market. Of the 15 per cent or so of Somalia's land that is arable, only 1 per cent was used, so the potential for settlement and agricultural development was great. The new arrivals could turn to cultivation to feed their drought-ravaged country.

The other event that brought massive changes to Somalia was the Ogaden war. In the 1970s, Somalia was at war with Ethiopia over a vast disputed desert territory, the Ogaden. As a result, refugees moved into Somalia, which was already ravaged by drought, famine and poverty. Of the 1.5 million refugees who arrived on foot from the Ogaden, most were women, children and the elderly. Somalia welcomed these people, whom they considered to be their kin, and they were accommodated in refugee camps that sprang up in various parts of the country.

The Somali way of life had to change. Settlements were the only solution, and the Government formally encouraged the nomads to set up permanent communities and to abandon their nomadic way of life. In settlements it would also be easier to improve social conditions. To provide potable water, health care and education for a population of wandering nomads is a virtual impossibility.

This, then, was the background to Somalia's massive housing need in the 1980s. The trend towards a settled life-style brought with it a huge demand for low-cost housing and UNCHS (Habitat) became involved in Somalia early in the decade. Then, with UNDP, and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, a low-cost housing pilot project was set up. The Government allocated land for 500 low-cost houses in Mogadishu as well as sites at Kismayu, Beleweine and in northern Somalia.

However, Somalia's problems were not yet over. The country has been torn apart by internal conflicts which have made housing progress slow.

Yet, some progress has taken place at the inland urban centre of Baidoa, where a small building-materials' production centre has been set up and demonstration houses have been erected. At the coastal village of Coal Jaalla, another such centre has been successfully established and now provides materials to upgrade 200 rural housing units in the Lower Shabelle Region.

One of the most successful aspects of this project has been a component to train women for building-materials production. Whereas some Somali men may still hanker after the nomadic way of life, the women have adapted well to a settled way of life and new employment challenges. In the housing sector, women have proved to be invaluable in both building-materials production and as construction workers.

As an example of their resourcefulness, women community leaders convened a training workshop in Merca in January 1990 in the Lower Shabelle Region. Of the participants, most were farmers or traders in the informal sector and a few were training to become teachers.

Lectures were given on a wide range of housing topics: low-cost technologies, housing design, sanitation and solid-waste disposal and other issues that linked shelter to health and the environment. Practical "hands-on" training was given in techniques of making mud blocks, blocks from stabilized soil and cement, roofing sheets and tiles. Low-cost, locally available materials such as sand, soil and fibre were promoted during the course. The women learnt how to use screeding machines to manufacture tiles and roofing sheets as well.

These practical community leaders then returned to their home areas taking with them new information and ideas as well as the skills to prepare building materials for roofs and walls, all at low cost. In ways such as this, the women of Somalia are playing a major role in Somalia's low-cost housing sector.

The project, although beset by turbulence in the country, adheres to the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter. This it does by linking shelter to development, particularly rural development, by promoting low-cost and indigenous materials, and through the training and participation of women to prepare materials, and build and upgrade shelters.



235,880 sq km

Population (1990)

18.4 million

Average rate of population growth 1985-1990

3.5% p.a

Estimated population by the year 2000

26.3 million

Average population density (1990)

78.2 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


GNP per capita (1988)

$US 250

Capital city: Kampala u.a. 1990

0.7 million

Other cities:




Community participation, mainly by underprivileged women, has transformed the squatter settlement of Masese into a thriving suburb. A factory to produce building materials has been set up, decent homes and community facilities built and small businesses established. A series of loans to finance the factory as well -as housing and small business loans to members made it all possible.

Masese women lead the way to shelter for the poor

At the point where the River Nile flows out of the massive inland sea, Lake Victoria, to start its long journey north, the town of Jinja has grown to be Uganda's second largest city. Its growing industries served by a huge hydro-electric power scheme at the Owen Falls Dam, it has served as a magnet to people from the rural areas and rapid urbanization has taken place over the last 20 years. As a result of years of internal conflict, people have also migrated to the comparative safety of the towns. There has been the inevitable growth of squatter settlements around the city, one of which is the slum area of Masese, with a population of several thousand people.

A few years ago, a glimpse at this shanty town would have revealed great hardship. It is a village largely composed of women, since many men have been killed during the years of civil war. These women heads-of-household are solely responsible for the raising of children, since their temporary male partners tend to come and go. Some women carried out small-scale trading but others, faced with no job opportunities, were forced into petty crime in order to make ends meet. The brewing of illegal beer was an important source of income, as was prostitution. The growing number of street children at Masese and mounting juvenile delinquency are of national concern. In addition, the entire settlement has to face problems of poverty, malnutrition and ill health, against a backlog of inadequate housing, poor social facilities and a lack of services. What was needed at Masese was a programme to reduce the movement of people in and out of the settlement, improve homes and Iife-styles, and give people hope for a better life.

These changes have been introduced by the Government of Uganda with the support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and Shelter-Afrique, through its African Housing Fund (AHF).

A project based on self-help and the introduction of income-generating activities was set up in cooperation with the Masese Women's Cooperative Group, a society of about 700 members. The project set out to build better homes for its participants as well as to upgrade existing homes still in reasonable condition. The establishment of income generating activities was to be based on the production of building materials for the community's own use and for sale, as a source of income. It was planned from the beginning that other businesses would be set up and community services established.

The project got underway with the acquisition of land. The Government of Uganda provided the project with 10 hectares initially, and a further 10 hectares later. The members of the community then organized themselves, with assistance from the participating organizations, into a number of committees and sub-committees (e.g., for housing and social welfare). With assistance from Shelter-Afrique in training, credit and other types of support and with the cooperation of the Government of Uganda, finance from DANIDA and training from NGOs, the project was ready to move forward by late 1990.

The first major problem was that of water supply. The nearest water tap was two kilometres away, too far to be of use either to homes or industries. The Jinja Municipal Council agreed to extend the water supply to Masese town and to their planned factory, if the women could pay for the pi pest The AHF came up with a loan for the pipes, and the first problem was solved.

The factory was the next priority, since it was to produce building materials for use within the project. The Masese women volunteered their time and energy to clear the site, in a spirit that was to show their determination about this project. At first a simple factory was built with the understanding that, as time and money allowed, a more elaborate building would be produced. Space was left on site for this planned expansion. As power failures tended to occur from time to time, and water shortages could be a problem, the women had to construct water tanks for storage and also plan for equipment that could run from car batteries at times of power failure. Once underway, production must not be allowed to cease or slow down. The women of Masese were determined to overcome their problems.

They did this with the help of a number of skilled and concerned Ugandan women professionals, all fluent in the language most commonly used in southern Uganda, Luganda. The professionals were committed people who used their knowledge of the area to help the community. One senior sociologist had served the Jinja community for over 20 years. Another was a trained nurse, midwife and experienced community-development officer. Legal training was provided by a woman magistrate. It touched on business management, loan agreements and leasehold of land. Social training incorporated the guidance of street children, solutions to delinquency, health problems and the support of the handicapped, the elderly and the destitute within the Masese community.

Training in the production of construction materials was started in 1989. Masese women visited similar AHF projects in neighbouring Kenya, such as the Huruma Women's Groups in the Nairobi squatter settlement of Mathare Valley. Not only did they learn to produce wall blocks, roofing tiles and the like, they also saw poor women successfully managing their own affairs. The women of Kenya were warm, hospitable and determined. The Masese women returned with renewed self-confidence and, with the guidance of several very experienced Kenyan women, they settled down to learn and produce a significant selection of building materials.

Initially, of course, the women had to acquire skills, but by January 1990, the factory was in full swing, producing a range of building materials including roofing tiles, floor tiles, hollow blocks in different sizes for wall construction, as well as blocks for water tanks and pit latrines. These were used in the project and sold outside it.

By September 1990, the women had produced 65,000 six-inch wall blocks, 10,600 fourinch blocks, almost 30,000 roofing tiles plus other items. These materials were sufficient for the walls of 90 houses and roofs of 60. In all, 119 women are now working full-time at the factory.

The members of the Masese Women's Group, with the help of the AHF Technical Training Team, came up with housing designs which included basic infrastructure needs. 1 August 1990 saw the first foundation stone laid, and by 10 September, 10 demonstration houses were underway.

The layout plan included 197 residential plots each 19 x 12 m, a factory plot, and plans for facilities such as an open-air market, a day-care centre and a school. In 1991 it is planned to have a construction department established and working which can seek construction contracts in the open market, and thereby draw a substantial income into Masese. The women are acquiring skills and training which will enable them to obtain paid employment in the future. By September 1990, the project had produced 59 people skilled in the production of building materials and 15 construction assistants, while a large number of women were still being trained.

Construction workers were organized into groups of four. At full production, it was planned that each group would build one house per week, with the family concerned providing labour. With each group producing four houses per month and about seven groups working, the goal of 30 houses per month could well be met.

Social welfare in the community has improved, with progress being made on health problems, malnutrition and juvenile crime. Traditionally, the women of Uganda worked hard in the fields in a system where they lived together as a clan. The support they received from the family included child-care. With urban growth and years of internal strife, the social traditions have broken down and women of the shanties now need an alternative form of child-care. At Masese, a day-care centre for 50 young children was set up. It was originally held beneath a large and shady tree until a permanent building could be constructed. Progress in child-care and improved nutrition have been achieved through the contribution of an American NGO, JDC, which provided Masese with trainers.

All these achievements could only be made possible with appropriate financial arrangements. Loans to establish the factory and purchase a seven-ton lorry were first negotiated between the Masese Women's Cooperative Group and the AHF. A loan of USh 42.5 million was to be given a six-month grace period and then a 54-month repayment time at 10 per cent interest. Training incorporated the importance of managing and repaying a loan. Both its factory and its lorry are now making profits.

Housing loans to individual members are made in the form of building materials such as cement. The interest rate is 8 per cent and loans can be repaid over 72 months with repayments being collected on a regular basis or being deducted from salaries. A construction team of several families will remain as a credit group after the construction phase is over. The group may then wish to apply for a loan to set up a small business, such as trading in charcoal or fuelwood, setting up a small shop, or workshops for welding, carpentry or handicrafts. The lorry, being managed as a separate business and not just a source of free transport for the members, has been a great source of inspiration to the business-minded. By the end of 1990, it had made a clear profit of USh. 403,560 which showed the women of Masese what can be achieved with proper management.

The Masese project is still moving ahead. It is a massive exercise in community participation, an aided self-help programme which uses the skills and energies of poor women. By the introduction of on-the-job training and income-generating activities, the project has changed the lives of hundreds of low-income women and their children, along the lines of the Global Strategy for Shelter that works towards shelter for all by the year 2000.

To show its interest and confidence in the Masese project, the Government of Uganda celebrated World HABITAT Day on 1 October 1990 at Masese. This day is celebrated annually to focus attention on housing issues. By convening the celebration at Masese, Uganda recognized that this project is an endeavour of national significance and even international importance. The women of Masese are looking forward to a brighter future.

Low-income settlements benefit as Uganda reconstructs

The shanty settlement of Namuwango in Kampala has been upgraded to a planned urban area. It now has adequate infrastructure - water pipes, electricity, drains, pit latrines and new roads. All this was achieved when security of tenure was awarded to the tenants, residents were trained to produce building materials and financial arrangements were designed to help them.

Decades of internal strife in Uganda encouraged rural people to move into towns and cities, accelerating the rate of urbanization. Spontaneous settlements sprang up around the urban centres, which may have offered some security from the conflicts. One of these is the shanty settlement of Namuwongo, which grew up on the outskirts of Uganda's capital city, Kampala. The settlement was an area of unplanned, sprawling slum dwellings owned by as many as 180 different absentee landlords. Its residents were condemned to a low standard of living and poor health as a result of their appalling housing standards.

The upgrading of Namuwongo was started in 1986 as a cooperative project between the Government of Uganda, UNDP, UNCHS (Habitat) and Shelter-Afrique. The first major upgrading and low-cost settlement project in Uganda, it is being carried out in such a way that it follows the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, and will serve as a model for other low-income housing improvement projects in the country.

Today, the planned settlement is occupied by 1000 on-site houseowners. The residents in many instances have already received title deeds to their plots of land, a fact that will enable them to be committed to the development of their homes. The improved settlement will provide adequate shelter 10,000 for people living and working in the major industrial area of Kampala, thus making a significant contribution to the urban economy of the city.

The project now has a project team consisting of 25 staff from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, staff of the Kampala City Council, and some community leaders to organize the implementation of the project.

The private sector has made a valuable contribution to the success of the project. Three civil and building contractors plus nine local building-materials suppliers, together with a housing cooperative society have worked closely with the people of Namuwongo to upgrade homes, construct new buildings, and improve infrastructure. The community has participated in construction and upgrading aspects of the work through building brigades, aided self-help schemes and building cooperatives.

As the Namuwongo project aimed to provide shelter at prices that could be afforded by low-income families, it set out to develop and implement affordable infrastructure and building standards. New standards have been introduced for housing, roads, drains, sanitation and water supply, which can be realistically achieved in low-income settlements.

When the project is complete, about 600 existing shelter units in Namuwongo will have been upgraded and a further 400 new shelter units will have been built. In all, the settlement will provide shelter for a population of up to 10,000 people.

The settlement is now a planned urban area with adequate infrastructure and social services. Namuwongo now has about 8 kilometres of new roads, storm-water drains, and a water-supply network based on over 7 kilometres of pipes and 50 water stand pipes, one for each group of about 20 homes. Electricity has been provided to homes, and the settlement has street lights. Each house has its own private ventilated improved pit latrine, over a thousand in all, and the residents share 20 large refuse containers. The community also receives the benefits of a primary school, two improved markets, and a health centre. More facilities are being planned.

The Namuwongo community will pay for all the capital development costs plus interest, for land, infrastructure and building materials. Recurrent costs for infrastructure, (e.g., water rates, cost of refuse disposal, and charges for street lighting) are collected by the relevant public works authorities, such as the Uganda Electricity Board. User-charges were collected by the three administrative local authorities that serve Namuwongo, each of which is headed by an elected committee member who collects the money. In relation to water consumption, for example, charges at a rate of USh. 5 per 20 litres of water are collected and used to pay bills received from the national water authority. This system is to be applied to other user-charges in future.

Very little can be achieved in upgrading schemes unless security of tenure is guaranteed to the people involved. Without this, people will be reluctant to invest their energy or savings in a home that they might lose. The Namuwongo project solved the problems relating to land early on, so that the low-income participants would invest their time and energy. The project compensated about 180 landlords (some absentee, others on-site) and in this way acquired about 60 hectares of land. This was then sub-divided and the deeds given to some 1000 households. Another 500 households were allowed to be legal subtenants on these plots, so that in all the land problems of 1500 families were regularized. People were then willing to become involved.

During the process of land acquisition, compensation, subdivision and allocation, it was realized that existing methods of land registration and recording were out of date. As a result, master lists of landlords and amounts of cess paid have been computerized, enabling the project team to approve the process of land allocation and issuing of title deeds. In addition, a database of key indicators has been developed to store data on socioeconomic details of households and housing units. These include income, employment, skills of residents, quality and quantity of housing units, community services such as health and education.

The project has developed an efficient training programme, which consists of weekend workshops, short courses and study tours together with on-the-job training for residents and community leaders alike. Professional staff (engineers, planners, community development workers and administrators) involved with housing development also receive training. Such training has provided the project with skilled personnel at all levels.

Some of the training has been to develop local building materials using appropriate technology for their production. Sixty per cent of the building materials used for homes, infrastructure and community facilities are either indigenous or locally manufactured within the country. The project is now producing stabilized soil and cement blocks and burnt clay bricks for walls, timber or sisal-cement tiles for roofs, sand and aggregates for foundations, laterite soils (murram) for road construction, quarried stones for drains, and treated timber for walls and window frames. (At present, some building materials are still imported. These include iron sheets for roofing, paint, steel doors and window frames.) Cement is now produced locally and although supplies are insufficient at the moment, they are likely to increase and improve in the future.

The Namuwongo community is benefiting from some helpful financial arrangements which enable low-income families to obtain housing. The Government has acquired and serviced the land, using public-sector resources. The serviced plots are then leased at a price beneath the market value. (The cost per serviced plot is only USh. 1 million while the market value is as high as USh. 2 million.) Loans for building materials are also subsidized. Loans, organized through subsidies of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, are repaid over a period of 15 years with a grace period to enable the householder to purchase a core house.

The rehabilitation of the Namuwongo settlement in Kampala is still continuing, transforming a sordid shanty-town into an organized and pleasant suburb with good social amenities. It has been upgraded following the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000. As a result, the lives of 10,000 people have significantly improved.



390,580 sq km

Population (1990):

9.7 million

Average rate of population growth

3.2% p.a. (1985-1990)

Estimated Population in the year 2000

13.1 million

Average population density (1990)

24.9 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P per capita (1988)

$US 660

Capital city: Harare u.a. (1990)

1.0 million

Other cities:



Zimbabwe is making use of building brigades, aided self-help schemes and peoples' cooperatives to provide affordable housing and create job opportunities. local governments are being strengthened, private-sector production is being promoted and building societies are making sound financial arrangements to deal with Zimbabwe's post independence housing crisis.

Housing becomes a priority in Zimbabwe

At independence in 1980, the majority-rule government of Zimbabwe inherited a system which was based on segregation, both in urban and rural areas. In the rural areas, people had been left alone to build their traditional low-cost buildings which did not have adequate sanitation. Much of the housing for low-income people in urban areas consisted of overcrowded dormitory-style hostels where a bed could be rented. Houses were packed closely together to accommodate the African work force, in contrast to the low-density housing provided for Europeans.

Although the standard of housing, even in high-density areas, was reasonable, the urban population rose as a result of migration to the cities and the high birth rate. The result was severe overcrowding. No shanty towns were allowed to develop around Zimbabwe's cities and as a result, several families would occupy one house, intended for a single person or couple, or even share one room. Many illegal structures proliferated close to the original, cramped dwellings in the low-income areas. In pre-independence Rhodesia, freehold tenure had also been denied to African people, except for a minority of middle income individuals.

This legacy of discrimination was accentuated by a massive backlog in housing which showed, in a 1986 study, that Zimbabwe's housing requirements were very large. This was further complicated by the fact that much of the country's existing housing stock was substandard, as high as 70 per cent in the rural areas.

To make matters worse, the economy of the country has had its problems as a result of successive years of drought, the deteriorating trade conditions of Zimbabwe's major exports in the wake of a global economic recession, and other problems.

Yet despite these hardships and setbacks, the Zimbabwean Government firmly stated that the country was aiming for housing for all in urban areas by the year 2000, and in the rural areas by 2015, in line with the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000.

As the Government could not tackle a challenge of such magnitude alone, it set out to promote a partnership between public and private sectors so that the task of developing housing in Zimbabwe might be shared.

The Government then adopted policy measures which were to become the backbone of the post-independence housing effort in Zimbabwe. The first point of this new philosophy was that there must be no discrimination in housing. All would be entitled to freehold tenure from 1980, and home ownership was to be promoted both in rural and urban areas.

Housing standards were then adjusted to a level which would raise the living standards of the people, yet would be affordable to most of the population.

The Government decided from the beginning that community participation would play an important part and that groups known as building brigades would both build and renovate low-cost shelter units and construct public buildings such as schools and clinics. They would also manufacture low-cost building materials; such as cement blocks, wooden doors and window frames. The use of building brigades would significantly reduce the cost of construction.

In another policy action, the Government set up building cooperatives as an alternative method of building and financing low-cost homes. They would be administered by the national housing movement.

These basic methods of home construction, the use of building brigades, aided self-help and cooperatives assisted Zimbabwe towards achieving its objectives of providing affordable housing, creating job opportunities for local people and making effective use of peoples savings.

The finance to carry out these massive housing programmes was scheduled to come from both the public and private sectors, and led to the development of some successful and innovative schemes. Most public finance came, of course, from the central Government, mainly through its National Housing Fund (NHF) established in 1982, which gives loans to local authorities for housing needs. The loans, at an interest rate of 9.75 per cent, must be repaid over a period of 30 years. This fund is Zimbabwe's most important source of finance for housing development, and in particular, for low-income people in urban areas.

Being used closely with the National Housing Fund is the Housing Guarantee Fund, through which a portion of the mortgage obtained from a building society is guaranteed for repayment by the central Government. Members of the public were entitled to the "90 per cent Fund" which offers a 90 per cent guarantee for properties worth $Z 17,000. This scheme assists about 2000 individuals per year.

Both the National Housing Fund and the Housing Guarantee Fund are administered by the Ministry of Public Construction and National Housing (MPCNH) which, since independence has received much of its available funds from international donors including USAID, the World Bank, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), UNDP and UNCHS (Habitat). For example, in the fiscal year 1985/6, USAID provided close to 60 per cent of the investment funds to the Ministry of Public Construction and National Housing.

Funds transferred from central government funds are utilized by local governments to implement low-income housing schemes, infrastructure and services. Zimbabwe considers that as local authorities are there to provide goods and services to the people, they should not profit from the transactions involved.

Private-sector sources of finance have also made an important contribution to housing in Zimbabwe. Building societies, for example, which formerly offered loans to the middleand upper- income brackets, have now started to provide loans to people in low-income groups.

Zimbabwe has three private building societies which together had, in 1985, over 75 branches throughout the country, concentrated mainly in the urban areas. Together, they hold about one quarter of the total savings deposits in the country.

One building society, the Beverley Building Society, participated in the UNDP/UNCHS financed pilot project at KweKwe, a medium-sized town, and Gutu, a rural growth centre, in the following way: MPCNH made loans from UNDP and UNCHS (Habitat) aid funds available to project participants to obtain building materials to enable them to build their own houses. On completion of the houses, they applied to the Beverley Building Society, which repaid the Government its housing materials loan. The beneficiary then had 25 years to repay the Building Society. This represents effective cooperation between the private and public sectors.

To stimulate the greater involvement of building societies in shelter provision and to encourage the public to invest more in shelter finance, from 1986, Zimbabwe's three building societies were allowed to issue tax-free shares. These were called Paid Up Permanent Shares, generally known as PUPS, which would earn 9 per cent interest for the purchaser. This has encouraged the depositing of money in building societies which are then able to provide more housing loans to people.

In addition to the building societies, Zimbabwe has other finance institutions - insurance companies, commercial banks, merchant banks and others. One of the most popular and widely used is the Post Office Savings Bank, which had branches in 160 post offices in 1984 and a total of 858,000 savings accounts that year. Although it has no lending function, it promotes savings which are often invested in housing.

In addition, employers, particularly from agricultural, commercial and industrial companies provide housing assistance to their employees under the Employer Assisted Housing Scheme.

Zimbabwe's post-independence housing priority closely follows the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter. By enabling the people of Zimbabwe to have access to shelter in both rural areas and towns, the country's development is being given a major push. By coordinating and promoting public and private-sector action, strengthening the role of local governments, setting up helpful financial arrangements - particularly for poor people - by modifying laws and regulations, and through training and materials production, Zimbabwe's ambitious and caring approach to its housing crisis successfully illustrates the Global Shelter Strategy in action.


In Jordan, diverse housing issues are being approached through a National Shelter Strategy which

· promotes the use of locally available building materials
· is developing new building materials and technologies
· gathers data on key services such as water supply and sanitation
· promotes dissemination of information

Oman is moving towards a National Shelter Strategy that will

· mobilize financial resources for shelter
· introduce new institutional arrangements
· monitor the shelter sector
· improve land-tenure arrangements

In the wake of the destruction caused by a massive earthquake in 1982, Yemen has reconstructed Its shattered villages. This project has

· trained local builders in earthquake-resistant building techniques
· disseminated information on earthquake-resistant building techniques
· built demonstration earthquake-resistant houses in the villages

Arab states



89,210 sq km

Population (1990)

4.3 million

Average rate of population growth(1985-1990)


Estimated population by the year 2000

6.3 million

Average population density (1990)

47.9 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990):


GNP per capita

$US 1,500

Capital city: Amman u.a. (1990)

1.1 million

Other cities:




Jordan has based its National Shelter Strategy on the solid foundations of planning, information and training. This will help this country in transition to solve shelter problems that result from a harsh climate, a refugee problem and the Gulf War.

A national strategy to solve the shelter problem

The indigenous people of Jordan are derived from strong and powerful tribes of migratory nomads, the Bedouin, who roamed with their flocks of sheep and camels over the vast deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. After centuries of traditional nomadism, changes have come in rapid succession to encourage the Bedouin to lead a more settled existence. Periods of drought in the late 1950s and 1970s caused the herds on which life and wealth were based to die, and people faced periods of starvation and suffering. When livestock raising, and even their traditional raids no longer supported them, many people were forced to make their way to the towns. To look for work was the only option to escape the poverty and hunger that came in the wake of the loss of their livestock.

For some decades now, many governments in the Middle East, like Jordan have encouraged the Bedouin to settle down. It is difficult, after all, to provide health facilities and education to nomadic people, in addition to which the environment was showing increasing signs of stress. With the advent of vehicles into the lives of the Bedouin, the tendency grew to leave the herds in one place and bring water to them by truck on a daily basis. The result was severe overgrazing and deterioration of the fragile grazing lands - a growing ecological disaster.

Small settlements in Jordan tended to spring up around the new wells that the Government constructed in the desert and also along the oil pipelines that run through the country. New settlements retain the appearance of a traditional camp in many ways. Each house stands alone, or as part of a cluster of houses in the family group, separated by wide stretches of sand from their neighbours. The traditional tent is often erected close by. As people settle, they tend first to build little shacks of wood, of packing cases, or tin cans, which may be covered with brushwood to help the residents stay cool. At a later stage in the evolution of the settlement, houses of mud brick are constructed, with the tent nearby, still in the original family groups to maintain the social units of the desert.

Problems do arise, of course. With lack of sanitary facilities, a shanty-town can soon become an urban slum, especially where the people were used to moving from place to place to maintain a degree of hygiene. Sanitation, especially in a land where water is scarce, is a serious problem in many growing Jordanian towns, affecting some 150,000 people, many of them in the Amman/Az Zarqa area.

Apart from the people of Bedouin origin, Jordan is now home to many Palestinians who moved into the country after the wars of 1948 and 1967. These are displaced people, some in refugee camps, others involved in farming or other occupations. Many of them are very poor. Over 330,000 of them live in official refugee camps,

Over 330,000 of them live in official refugee camps, representing 12 per cent of Jordan's population. Housing densities in the camps are among the highest in Jordan, with an average of 510 persons per hectare - another national headache.

Despite a period of rapid economic growth in Jordan during the 1970s, as a result of liberal economic policies, heavy investment on infrastructure and education, and development of services, many poor families still could not afford their own shelter. 19751980 were boom years in Jordan. Expatriate Jordanians were remitting their salaries home, external aid to the country was high and Jordan experienced an astonishing per capita growth rate of 8 per cent.

Large investments in construction, particularly housing, were made at this time, but were balanced by rapid urbanization and increasing influxes of refugees needing shelter. As a result, prices started to rise - the price of land, the cost of building materials, and, inevitably, the cost of living. Increasing investment at high- and middle-income levels continued apace, yet housing for poor people became increasingly difficult, especially refugees, nomads and the growing numbers of urban poor. Jordan was beset with staggering housing problems as the 1970s drew towards a close.

The Government decided there was a need to develop a national housing strategy and started to work on this in the early 1980s.

In the prevailing situation, the growing numbers of disadvantaged people could do nothing to help themselves as land costs rose. The land regulations dealing with plot subdivisions were inflexible, and the lack of proper institutional arrangements accentuated the problems.

The final shelter document was completed by July 1987 and in December 1988, the Government approved its National Housing Strategy.

Early on in the preparation of the Strategy, a Shelter Unit had been set up at the Ministry of Planning, to which UNCHS (Habitat) provided technical support. This Unit carried out an extensive programme of field research and analysis for each component of the shelter sector. A sound database was developed to incorporate existing housing documents and a primary data collection, followed by a national housing survey. Research into housing suppliers in the private sector, rural housing, estate agents, housing vacancies, housing finance and many other aspects were fed into the database and statistically analyzed. Access to accurate, up-to-date information assisted the decision making that formulated the strategy.

The National Housing Survey provided information on the type and age of housing stock. Much of Jordan's housing stock was found to be of good quality. Almost all of Greater Amman's housing was of permanent building materials, with high percentages in other towns and even in the rural areas. The construction boom is reflected in the fact that 31 per cent of Amman's housing stock has been built since 1975. Figures in other parts of Jordan are even higher 38 per cent in other urban areas and 55 per cent in the rural areas. During the 1980s, owner-occupancy in Jordan rose impressively to 70 per cent and the average size of the housing unit increased correspondingly. At present, over 33 per cent of Jordanian homes have four or more rooms.

The Survey also provided data on key services: drinking water, waste disposal, lighting and heating. Provision of water increased throughout Jordan from 70 per cent in 1979 to 89 per cent in 1987. Sewerage is reasonable and will be improved in the near future. Electricity is almost universal in urban areas, with a national average of 93 per cent. Use of solar energy for heating is widespread and kerosene is used for cooking. Services were therefore found to be reasonably good.

Training needs in relation to the National Housing Strategy was given priority in relation both to the Jordanian housing sector in general, and the Shelter Unit staff in particular. Much of the training centred around computers and included the use of different housing "models". Trainees had access to data from the National Housing Survey and gained familiarity with computer manipulation of data.

In addition, training seminars were held on subjects relating to the preparation of the National Housing Strategy. The seminars covered such subjects as housing problem areas, land for housing, housing supply and delivery, affordability and building technologies.

On these solid foundations of planning, information and training, Jordan's National Shelter Strategy was built. Its cornerstones consist of financial arrangements, affordability, demand, land, materials, institutions, and training, in relation to existing housing and the impact of all these components on the country's economy. The approach of mobilizing the private sector towards shelter development is preferred - with special attention to the individual owner-builder.

The National Shelter Strategy has been designed to assist a country in transition, facing the problems of the 1990s, and a new century not far away. Jordan has a wide array of problems from lack of trained personnel to refugees, from a harsh climate to the Gulf War. To fulfil its national shelter goals, aiming towards "housing for all by the year 2000", the country prepared its National Shelter Strategy. Several implementation measures have been carried out, including institutional reorganization, facilitating access to affordable land, and improving access to housing finance.


Area (including Kuria Muria)

212,460 sq km

Population (1990)

1.5 million

Average rate of population growth

3.3% p.a

Estimated population by the year 2000

2.1 million

Average population density (1990)

6.9 inhabibants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


GNP per capita (1988)

$US 5,070

Capital City: Muscat


Other cities:

Al Khaburah




Sound development projects characterized the modern era in omen with emphasis on housing and infrastructure. Ways in which the poor could benefit more are being looked into and leading towards a National Shelter Strategy, the next milestone in Oman's plans for housing.

Towards a national shelter strategy

1970 brought a new ruler to the Sultanate of Oman and ushered in a new era in the country's history. The new Sultan first called all expatriate Omanis home to share their skills with their own people and boost the workforce resources of this tiny country of less than 1.5 million people.

The new Sultan then embarked on a rapid development course, but although fast, the programme was wise and fair. Forgoing prestigious projects, the new Government concentrated on establishing a solid and sound infrastructural base - no easy task in a country with large areas of desert, bisected by a high mountain range and home to a sparse and scattered population.

Oman pumped revenue from its modest oil resources into sound development projects, and by 1986 had more or less successfully achieved its infrastructure goals. The workforce continues to be a problem and the country relies heavily on expatriate workers, particularly from India and Pakistan, for its construction industry. This is financed by revenue from oil which is exported largely to the industrialized countries of East Asia.

Against this background of steady development progress, a project was set up by UNDP and UNCHS (Habitat) to assist the Ministry of Housing. The project aimed at having national investments fairly distributed geographically, and housing given priority in less developed areas. This would help to reduce the likelihood of urbanization, and reduce the differences in living standards in the different parts of the Sultanate. In addition, human resources would be developed and the economy strengthened by promoting the private sector. Overall, the project aimed to develop long-term strategies for housing in Oman, and contribute towards the development of a national housing strategy, following the general guidelines of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000.

A large part of the project had a research base which enabled the country to identify its housing strengths and weaknesses so that new policies could be designed.

It was found, for example, that the largest proportion of housing investment had actually gone into the Muscat area and been used for high-income housing. Subsidies, where available, had largely benefited civil servants and military personnel. An ongoing problem is the high room occupancy rate that affects many Omanis and needs to be solved in the near future.

The project recommended that a National Housing Planning body be set up to prepare and monitor national housing policies for Oman, coordinate private and public sectors involved in housing delivery, and coordinate training needs for the Sultanate. It was also recommended that researched data be stored in a database and that a new housing and population census be carried out (as information on housing in Oman is inadequate to meet the planners) needs). Both housing and training needs should be assessed and the role of the private sector, particularly owner-builder needs, ought to be examined and encouraged. Ways in which construction costs can be reduced to benefit low-income families should be looked into, as should the effect of existing building regulations on construction costs.

Financial arrangements for housing in Oman are inadequate; new sources or methods of housing finance need to be identified, particularly those which may benefit low income groups. In addition, the current land-tenure system needs to be reviewed together with land prices, land service prices, land-use policies and land allocation methods. In general, all aspects of house affordability need to be more closely examined, particularly in relation to the needs of poorer groups. Moreover, the role of institutions, current regulations and procedures need to be examined to see if the present system could be streamlined.

All these recommendations would be essential components of a national strategy for shelter, following the guidelines of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, which the Government has agreed upon and endorsed. The preparation of this national shelter strategy will be the next milestone in Oman's housing goal as well as being a major development priority.



527,970 sq km

Population (1990)

10.5 million

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)


Estimated population by the year 2000

14 million

Average population density (1990)

19.9 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


GNP per capita (1988)

$US 650

Capital city: Sana'a u.a. (1990)

0.3 million

Other cities:


Al Mukalla



Yemen is using locally available building materials and developing improved low-cost building materials to provide reliable supplies of materials to combat its serious housing deficit. Training and the transfer of information are also receiving priority.

Better building materials to meet the shelter challenge

With their unification on 22 May 1990, the former Yemen Arab Republic and the Democratic People's Republic of Yemen began to face their problems in a united way. The economy of the new Republic of Yemen is still very fragile, as it is based largely on agriculture in a land where soils are generally poor and rainfall unreliable. For example, in the eastern arm of the country adjoining the Arabian Sea, less than 1 per cent of the land can be cultivated, and water supply is largely dependent on the amount of water that flows intermittently down seasonal streams. Yet half the population of this dry area is engaged in agriculture.

The western arm of the country, bordering the Red Sea, has an agriculturally important highland area producing coffee, qat, tobacco and fruit. When drought struck the region in the early 1980s, people left their tiny highland farms and moved to Sana'a and Aden, the coastal towns of Mocha, Al Mukalla and Hodeida and to Taiz in the wetter southern highlands.

This contributed greatly to urbanization and to Yemen's drastic housing shortage. The housing situation became much worse in the wake of a disastrous earthquake that rocked the country in December 1982. As a result of this earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless.

Political problems in the region made matters worse. In 1990 and 1991, housing has been affected by problems faced by Yemenis working abroad, having to leave their employment and therefore no longer being able to remit their salaries back to Yemen. Some of this money had been used for home construction or purchase.

With a serious housing deficit, there is a massive need for reliable supplies of low-cost building materials. A recent project, started in November 1988, aimed at strengthening a building-materials laboratory run by the Yemen Ministry of Construction and Reconstruction. The project aims at promoting the use of locally-available and alternative building materials such as gypsum, lime, bricks, concrete and concrete blocks and aggregates, thereby reducing imports and saving foreign exchange, as well as ensuring self-reliance and quality control.

The building-materials laboratory was then transferred to more suitable premises, which allowed expansion and improvement of its facilities. Four divisions of the laboratory were set up to deal with basic building materials, concrete, concrete products and soil mechanics. Equipment to carry out quality-control tests was installed.

The training of 40 engineers and technicians was carried out at the laboratory. Apart from this in-house training, 13 staff members went overseas for further training under United Nations sponsorship. In addition to being able to conduct tests in the laboratory, staff were trained to carry out tasks in the field. These on-site tests included, for example, testing for chlorides in corroded materials.

Training has moved beyond the actual laboratory staff to a wider audience. In January 1990, a symposium for over 300 engineers was held, during which several recommendations for quality control of building materials were made and submitted to the Government. In addition, a series of four workshops was organized during February 1990 on concrete blocks, concrete technology, concrete construction and ferrocement products. These were attended by about 80 engineers and technicians from both government and private organizations. As Yemen has a shortage of timber and metals, ferrocement rafters were developed during the workshops as a substitute for wooden rafters, and ferrocement tanks were developed to replace steel tanks.

The use of locally-available materials, particularly stones, is being promoted in Yemen, for much of the country consists of stony hillsides. Good building stones in attractive colours are universally available.

Gypsum and lime are also locally available in significant quantities. In many parts of Yemen, for example, large quantities of gypsum are available. Large quantities of calcined gypsum are produced for use in plastering and casting architectural features such as qamariyas (arches above doors and windows) and for ceiling boards. This local production of calcined gypsum reduces the need for imported cement. It is part of an overall effort to promote and utilize locally-available building materials.

At the present time, Yemen is working to prepare codes and standards for use in its construction industry. So far, six technical manuals have been prepared to assist in the preparations of the codes. The manuals cover quality-control tests on cement, aggregates (fine and coarse), concrete blocks, gypsum and fresh concrete. Other manuals, on quality control tests for hardened concrete, structures and concrete-mix design, are being prepared.

Yemen's promotion and use of locally-available materials, its efforts to develop new building materials and technologies, as well as its broad approach to training and the dissemination of information are in line with the recommendations of the Global Strategy for Shelter to promote the goal of shelter for all by the Year 2000. This thrust for better supplies of suitable building materials, plus the training to use them well, is expected to assist Yemen to achieve this goal.

Post-earthquake reconstruction

Following the 1982 earthquake in which 25,000 homes were destroyed and 17,000 severely damaged, Yemen set out to promote earthquake-resistant houses in the affected areas. The communities participated in rebuilding and, in the process, received training in earthquake-resistant techniques.

A massive earthquake devastated Yemen in December 1982. Measuring 5.8-5.9 on the Richter scale, it rocked Dhamar Province in the central highlands and affected other parts of the country as well.

In all, 445,000 people were affected, 25,000 homes were shattered and another 17,000 severely damaged. No less than 1600 people died and al most the same number were injured. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless.

In Dhawran Province, also severely affected by the earthquake, people tended to live in small villages of 200-300 homes, perched high on steep mountain slopes. Many of the houses were badly constructed and inhabited by very poor people with large families. In such a situation the earthquake took a heavy toll of lives and property. The housing shortage accentuated by the earthquake will be felt for many years to come.

The earthquake encouraged people to desert their traditional homes and migrate to the towns, contributing to rapid urbanization in Yemen and at the same time accentuating Yemen's housing shortage. Those who remained in their devastated mountain villages in particular needed urgent help. As a result, a project was set up in Dhawran Province by UNDP, UNCDF and the Government, to be implemented by UNCHS (Habitat) with volunteers from UNV, Finland and Sweden. Dhawran was selected because it was badly hit by the earthquake, and its population was very willing to participate in an aided self-help housing construction programme.

This project set out to build earthquake-resistant houses in 27 of the affected mountain villages. It was intended to produce 280 new homes. In addition, local builders would be trained in earthquake-resistant building techniques so that future buildings might be more resistant to earthquake shocks. The Government's Executive Office for Reconstruction would also be strengthened in its work initially with disaster relief efforts, secondly with reconstruction in the wake of the earthquake and, thirdly, with rural development projects.

The project was based on community participation by the residents of the affected villages. Initially, the beneficiaries were largely involved as unskilled labourers, as they were later trained in building skills, they participated in construction and design.

The villages that were selected were all remote and difficult to reach. Most were about 50 kilometres from Dhamar City, and close to the small town of Ma'ahar which was the site of the project office and had useful shops. The villages were reached by rough stony roads, in mountainous terrain. Some of these tracks were washed away in the rainy season.

New building sites were chosen because it proved difficult to remove the heavy rubble from the old, and also because in earthquake-prone areas, homes should be situated in relation to the topographical features of the area.

Each village first received a model house which served for the duration of the project as an office and accommodation for the project supervisors. The villagers selected to participate in the project had either to engage a trained mason or be willing to be trained themselves as the building got underway.

The participants were given a choice of three types of building materials - stone, cement blocks or a mixture of the two. They were also given a choice of designs, all earthquake resistant, and based on modules of 24 square metres which can be increased by units of 12 square metres to a maximum size of 48 square metres. All the housing options were affordable to the beneficiaries.

Earthquake-resistant features were incorporated into the designs. Beams, lintels and foundations were made of reinforced concrete; corners, T-joints and frames of openings were reinforced with vertical steel; and wire mesh was placed between every three layers of blocks or stones. These special earthquake-resistant materials were provided by the UNCDF who also provided timber joists, plywood sheets, concrete blocks, waterproof asphalt membrane, wire mesh and nails. UNCDF also paid half the transport charges.

The Government of Yemen provided doors and windows, some casual labour and half the transport charges. The beneficiary had to provide water, sand, gravel, earth for roofing, the building site, as well as the services of a mason (the beneficiary, if willing to be trained), as well as labour.

The reconstruction project was successfully completed within three years to assist the earthquake-devastated mountain villages of Yemen's remote interior. The project is on a par with the Global Strategy by playing an important role in rural development, producing new and relevant earthquake-resistant designs and techniques, training both local people and building contractors in earthquake-resistant construction techniques. In addition, the project produced information on building techniques for earthquake-prone areas by means of a manual. Government institutions are also now more fully prepared to cope with problems in their earthquake-prone highland areas. The isolated villagers of Dharwan are now more effectively housed to cope with earthquake tremors in the future through their own participation in a project which enabled them to reconstruct their homes and villages again in the remote areas of the Yemen highlands.


Low-income communities in the Philippines can now obtain housing through a scheme which

grant loans through a community mortgage programme

increases land supply

streamlines building and subdivision permits

coordinates public and private-sector action

In Thailand a system or land-sharing between landlords and squatter tenants has

provided an alternative to eviction in inner city areas

enabled poor urban residents to stay close to their places of employment

resulted in more efficient urban land use

In Bangladesh the Grameen Bank works with poor people and is:

giving small loans to poor people to set up businesses

giving housing loans to low-income households

using innovative methods to recover loans

Acting in an enabling environment urban dwellers in Sri Lanka are benefiting from the "Million Houses Programme "which

strengthened local authorities

upgraded existing settlements

regularized existing settlements

developed social facilities

provided loans for individual home construction and

In India destitute widows in Madipur have benefited from a project which

arranged loans

produced well-designed housing with social amenities

involved women in design and layout

promoted cooperation between the public sector and a women's organization




143,998 sq km

Population (1990)

115.6 million

Average rate of population growth(1985-1990)

2.7% p.a

Estimated population by the year 2000

150.6 million

Average population density (1990)

802.7 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 170

Capital city: Dhaka u.a. 1990

6.4 million

Other city:


Small but important income-generating activities have been set up by poor people in Bangladesh using loans from the Grameen Bank. Some of their earnings are then invested in housing. The Bank also provides a housing loan once the first loan has been satisfactorily repaid.

A bank that trusts the poor

Bangladesh is a small country with large problems. It lies within the delta of the huge Ganga-Brahmaputra river system and is cries-crossed by an ever-changing web of water courses. The area is prone to flooding, particularly during the monsoon from June to September. Only 60 kilometres or so away from the foot-hills of the vast Himalayas, it receives the meltwaters of the snowfields which may help or hinder the agricultural efforts of the area. Deforestation in the Himalayas is also contributing to Bangladesh's problem. Run off is rapid: massive torrents surge from the mountainsides bringing floods and devastation to the delta lands below. In 1987, for example, floods took the lives of hundreds of people and made over 1 million homeless.

The country is poor. With one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, $US 150 per year, the people of Bangladesh are trapped in a self-perpetuating treadmill of poverty. The climate is harsh, and the weather is unreliable for a country dependent on agriculture. With floods one year and drought the next, and even both on occasions in different parts of the country, output of the main cash crop, jute, and the major staple, rice, are unreliable.

Bangladesh also lies in the cyclone belt, and its people and their homes are devastated from time to time by destructive whirlwinds. In 1970, the death toll from a cyclone may have risen to half a million. In 1991, 150,000 people died as cyclone struck the coastal islands and Chittagong. Many were injured, livestock died, and crops and homes were lost. Shortly after this, other parts of Bangladesh were devastated.

With scarce natural resources, Bangladesh has developed few industries as yet. There is even a shortage of stones for house and road construction. People can often be seen baking bricks of new roads. This severe scarcity of natural resources undermines an already fragile economy.

Another aspect of Bangladesh's complex difficulties is its huge population. With the exception of densely populated island States such as Singapore, it is the world's most crowded country, with around 110 million people. The land area in its present state of development could comfortably support a small population of about 20 million people, but with about 700 people per square kilometre, increasing at 2.6 per cent per annum, and almost half the population under 14, Bangladesh's population problem is a nightmare that can only get worse.

Overpopulation, natural disasters, a struggling and weak economy, political turbulence, extreme poverty - these are the parameters against which Bangladesh's housing needs must be viewed.

Yet, despite these setbacks, significant progress in housing has been made, mainly through a system of making small loans available to poor people. This idea, the brainchild of a university economist, Professor Mohammed Yunus, has evolved into a remarkable system of shelter finance, the Grameen Bank. This bank is unique in that it lends only to the poor, particularly women, asks for no collateral and yet experiences a remarkable recovery rate of 98 per cent repayment on loans.

In the words of Professor Yunus, "These millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits could add up to create the biggest development wonder." Millions of lives are certainly being touched and improved by the Grameen Bank. With the philosophy that the Bank must go to the people, not expect the people to go to the Bank, Grameen has now over 300 branches and a quarter of a million borrowers scattered through 5000 villages.

Most loans are very small, the average size being about T 2000 ($US 60) only, and they are given for hundreds of activities which might improve the economic status of poor families. The Bank currently disburses over $US 1.3 million in small loans each month. The largest possible loan to an individual cannot exceed T 5000 ($US 150). However, larger loans can be given to groups for collective enterprises.

The organization of the beneficiaries is interesting. The people are formed into groups of five, which operate together as a team. Loans are initially made to two individuals in the group, who are then under pressure from their peers to repay in good time. If the loanees default, the other members of their group may forfeit their chance for a loan.

The Grameen Bank's objectives are being met: to extend banking facilities to poor and landless people especially women, to reduce the dependence of poor people on moneylenders, and to assist people to create employment opportunities for themselves by replacing the vicious cycle of "low income, low savings, low investment, low income", into an expanding system of "low income, credit, investment, more income, more credit, more investment."

The effect of the Grameen Bank on housing in Bangladesh has been remarkable in a country with more than its share of both urban and rural housing problems. In the towns, 75 per cent of houses are temporary constructions or kutcha, made of bamboo, grass and reeds. Only Dhaka and Chittagong have sections of typically urban built-up areas. In the rural areas 14 per cent of the families do not have any home at all, and of those in existence, 80 per cent of houses are kutcha. They deteriorate rapidly in the humidity, the heat, the torrential rain and as a result of insect attack. Most people in the rural areas do not have access to potable water. They obtain their water from rivers, ponds and streams, which is very detrimental to their health.

Grameen has assisted low-income people in Bangladesh in two main ways. The first is by providing general loans to individuals and groups which has helped them to set up small but important income-generating activities. Loans have been given by the Grameen Bank to finance over 400 different kinds of ventures. Groups have set up larger-scale ventures to make fishing nets, process molasses and other income-generating activities. If a household starts to obtain a regular influx of cash, that family starts to improve its housing situation. Earned income is invested in a home.

The second way that the Grameen Bank is assisting with housing is by providing housing loans for poor people. The Bank feels that for landless people, the home becomes a workplace, and a centre of activities and thus makes a vital input to the economy. The Bank found, for example, that a tin roof, which does not leak during the rainy season, increases both the health and the efficiency of the family considerably.

Grameen Bank members are eligible for housing loans only after they have repaid, and properly utilized, their initial grants which were intended to improve the economy of the family.

The first loan may have been used to buy a rickshaw as a source of income. The same family may take another loan to start breeding pigeons, which provide frequent sales as they breed every two months. If the family sold two pigeons every week, they would earn $US 4 per month, which could be used to pay back the loan.

Beneficiaries, apart from having the means to repay the loan, must own a small parcel of land equivalent to about one twentieth of an acre. A simple pit latrine must also be installed as a loan prerequisite.

In Bangladesh, a simple tin-roofed house 6 m × 3.6 m costs between T 10,000 and 12,000 ($US 300 and $US 360). Loans of up to T 20,000 ($US 606) are repayable over a period of 5 to 20 years at 5 per cent interest.

In such a house, the tin roof is supported by bamboo posts. The walls are of bamboo matting waterproofed with an oil locally called mati thael. There is often a ceiling of bamboo matting to give insulation.

Loans are given in two stages - first for the plinth and the walls, and later for the roof. The centre or group to which the beneficiary belongs is responsible for the erection of the house - and this promotes a feeling of community participation.

The Grameen Bank is also developing building materials. As the cost of bamboo has risen sharply by 400 per cent in recent years, the Grameen Bank is now developing pre-cast concrete poles which cost only T220 ($US 16.50) each and are made by the female members of the Bank. It is also experimenting with a small-scale brick-making factory to produce bricks that would replace the bamboo matting walls.

The effect of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh goes beyond raising the economic status of poor families and their housing. As 75 per cent of their beneficiaries are women, the Bank is helping to improve the role of women in society, and their economic status. Women have been shown to be reliable at repaying loans, sensible about the utilization of their loan and commendable at using the Bank properly to raise the standard of living of their families. Many women use the first loan to establish a small business, the second loan to purchase household effects and the third loan to buy a house.

In addition, the Grameen Bank has changed the attitude of banking systems to the poor. Poor people have been shown to be "bankable", more reliable in fact then some of their richer counterparts.

Bangladesh, a small country with large problems, is actively benefiting from the activities of the Grameen Bank. Its innovative approach to loans for the poor enabled poor households to obtain shelter, to improve their economic status, even their health and position in society. Despite the enormous problems and crushing poverty of their country, the people of Bangladesh are struggling towards home-ownership and better economic status, through the innovative methods of their Grameen Bank.



3,287,590 sq km

Population (1990)

853.4 million

Average rate of Population Growth (1985-1990)

2% p.a.

Estimated Population by the year 2000

1042.5 million

Average Population Density (1990)

259.6 inhabitants per sq km

Urban Population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 330

Capital city: Delhi u.a (1990)

8.6 million

Other cities:





Sita Chaudry now enjoys the comforts of her new home. This was obtained as a result of cooperation between a women's group, a charitable NGO, the city council and the Indian Government. Widows with low incomes received loans to enable them to benefit from the scheme.

Homes for destitute widows in Madipur. New Delhi

The pavements of Delhi are cold at night in winter, stifling hot and dusty in the summer, and wet during the torrential rains. The many homeless street dwellers of India's capital city are well aware of this as they face life with no shelter. One who used to experience the harsh realities of the street is Sita Choudry, a poor widow with four young children whose husband died of cholera some years ago. Sita was destitute, homeless and afraid.

However, Sita's luck changed for the better. She had been registered as a widow with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Slum Wing and was selected in 1985 to be one of the heads of family to benefit from a shelter demonstration project to benefit widows at Madipur, New Delhi.

This project came into being as an International Year of Shelter for the Homeless initiative to demonstrate a new approach to human settlement problems, one appropriate to the life-style of the people. Many different institutions were involved. The Ministry of Urban Development worked closely with DDA and the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), which helped to design the project and also assisted with finance and coordination.

Another vital role in this team was that played by a women's NGO, the All India Womens' Conference (AIWC), a charitable institution interested in raising the status of poor women in society. AIWC contacted the women selected by the Delhi administration, and helped them to set up a cooperative society, the Swayam Sidha Cooperative Group Housing Society, which collected funds from each participant for the running of the Society.

A working committee of 12 members was set up to run Swayam Sidha and also assist members in the day-to-day matters of the project. The widows were given an opportunity to discuss the designs, and plans with the designers and their suggestions were incorporated as far as possible.

Within Indian culture, communities had to live closely together in viable clusters with common social and cultural identities and similar economic goals. This tradition was borne in mind during the design phase of the project, so it was decided to develop clusters of condominium units built around a private area for community use. There would be 18 units, each of about 20 square metres around a central courtyard of 12 square metres, for the exclusive use of the residents.

Sita now occupies one of these units with her children. She has a ground floor room for living and cooking, with a separate room for bathing. A toilet can be reached from the outside courtyard.

The widows requested the incorporation of a staircase which would allow a second storey to be built in the future, a separate kitchen and glass windows. It was not possible to incorporate all these features, as the cost per unit would rise too steeply. However, structural changes were made to allow a staircase to an upper storey to be built later.

Apart from the inner private courtyard for the use of condominium residents, a large park has been provided for the project residents, as well as a community centre.

It was important that no unit should become too expensive, since the project was designed for widows of low income. HUDCO agreed to provide loan assistance up to 85 per cent of the cost, and the total cost of each unit was Rs. 36,675.

The project started in December 1987 and was scheduled to be completed within two years. Over 250 underprivileged women and their children have now benefited from the scheme.

The project illustrates cooperation between Government, a city council and a women's NGO, plus, of course, the widows who were the ultimate beneficiaries. It is an example of a project in which Government enabled low-income people, with the help of an NGO, through a cooperative society and by the provision of loans, to have access to adequate shelter.

India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehnu, once said, "We face the good and bad of India in Delhi." Compassionate, enabling projects like this one at Madipur, New Delhi through its spirit of enterprise and co-operation illustrates the good of India. It also illustrates the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter, the aim of which is to facilitate shelter for all, especially the poor and underprivileged.



300,780 sq km

Population 1990

62.4 million

Average rate of population growth

2.5 p.a

Estimated population by the year 2000

77.4 million

Average population density (1990)

207.5 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 630

Capital city: Manila u.a. 1990

8.4 million

Other cities:





Eduardo Villa thinks back with satisfaction about the new financial arrangements that made it possible for him to buy his new home. Thousands of low-income families all over the Philippines are benefiting from this scheme, the Community Mortgage Program.

Land to the poor through loans for the community

All the banks slammed their doors on Eduardo Villa - an informal salesman of cigarettes on the streets of Manila when he tried to ask for a loan to build a house for his family. The reason? Eduardo could not show a satisfactory proof of his income.

Now, Eduardo owns a core house in a pleasant suburb of Manila. He received a loan of P 40,000 (about $US 1500) granted by the Community mortgage Program, and obtained it thanks to the support of his own people.

This programme - managed by the National Housing Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) - recognizes that asking the borrowers for proof of income, such as a salary slip or income tax return, excluded many of the urban poor from shelter. Now, it is possible to secure a credit on the basis of an income affirmed by a local official or recognized community leader. The programme finances the purchase of unserviced land as well. To benefit squatters, the original loan is provided to the community and not to the individual. The community can then make its own arrangements for repayment and the sharing of the land. The subdivision of the land can take place at a later date.

Who does what in the Community Mortgage Programme


Housing and Land Regulation Board

Revises subdivision layout


Home Insurance Guarantee Corp.

Appraises land value


Home Development Mutual Fund

Source of funds


National Housing Mortgage Finance Corp.

Manages funds


Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council

Registers communities


Originate projects

Private sector

Originates projects


Borrows on behalf of its members

The Community Mortgage Program has three phases: land purchase, for which up to P 30,000 is available; land development, with credits up to P 15,000; and house development, with loans up to P. 45,000. For the majority of the projects, the originators are NGOs.

The new system, part of the Unified Lending Program (ULP), provides affordable mortgage packages based on the families' capability to invest between 20 and 30 per cent in the purchase of shelter - either plot or house. The system delivers different loans, with rates of interest from 6 per cent for the smallest mortgages, to 16 per cent for the largest, thus incorporating cross subsidies: borrowers securing the highest credits subsidize those with the smaller ones.

There are several sources of funding for the lending programme: funds from the insurance systems of public and private employees and from the Pag-ibig, or Home Development Mutual Fund. The programme is managed by a public agency, NHMFC, which is part of the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council (HUDCC). This agency is not a source of primary mortgages, but uses the private sector to provide the initial capital and later buys the mortgages from the banks or provides mortgages on the completed units for the qualified buyers, in the case of developers.

To start the process, the organized community must be duly registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission or at the Home Insurance Guarantee Corporation (HIGC) - one of the key agencies within the Coordination Council - and recognized as a genuine poor community by a Presidential Commission.

In the negotiations for the land, the involvement of the public agencies depends on whether the project is on-site or off-site. In the first case, people living on a parcel can negotiate directly with the land-owner if the price does not exceed P 10 million. In the second case, when a community is looking for land to relocate, HIGC must appraise the value of the plot to establish the value of the loan.

There are several conditions for the purchase of land. The owner must certify his willingness to sell. All the members of the community must also agree to the purchase of the plot. If it is an on-site area, the subdivision layout needs only be a sketch of the existing location of houses, roads and footpaths. For off-site planning, the layout should conform to official regulations for low-income subdivisions and be approved by the regional branch of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

To enable more low-income communities all over the country to have better access to shelter, the Government has been trying to decentralize its key housing agencies. HUDCC has so far created one-stop-shops in four regions. The National Housing Authority is represented as are HLORB, HIGC, HDMF, NHMFC and HUDCC in these shops. The finance corporation is at present not represented but has staff members in charge of groups of regions.

Eduardo Villa is not alone. In the first quarter of 1990 more than 18,000 families received loans from this community programme. It is a big step forward towards housing for all in the Philippines.



65,610 sq km

Population (1990)

17.2 million

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)


Estimated population by the year 2000

19.4 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P per capita (1988)

$US 420

Capital city: Colombo u.a. (1990)

0.6 million

Other cities:





This urban shanty town was improved under Sri Lanka's Million Houses Programme. Apart from the upgrading of buildings, sanitation and water supply were improved. This canal in particular, formally filthy and unsanitary, was dredged, cleared and improved. It is no longer a source of disease and the health of the community has benefited.

A better life with improved infrastructure

The shanty town of Wanathamulla has always been home to Peter Silva. It is one of Colombo's largest shanty areas, situated in an area of swampy and badly drained land, infested year-round with mosquitoes. Malaria and waterborne diseases are rampant.

Peter's small shack was unfortunately located close to a large, open, drainage canal which runs right through Wanathamulla. The sewers from a nearby prison emptied into this, as did many primitive latrines used by the residents. In addition, urban refuse was dumped into the canal, which was frequently blocked and consequently stagnant, stinking and highly polluted. When the canal flooded in the monsoons, polluted water spread over the shanty town, bringing death and disease.

Peter's parents moved into the area and worked on a cinnamon estate leased to a spice producer by the colonial government of the time. When Peter was born in the 1930s, the shanty town was starting to grow. By the time he was a young working man in the 1950s, Colombo and Sri Lanka's other towns and cities were experiencing a period of rapid urbanization, and the shanty town of Wanathamulla received a massive influx of people from the rural areas. Even the low-lying marshy land was settled, as people tried to fill in the swamp before building. Despite this, the area flooded at times of heavy rain, and the drainage canal frequently discharged its lethal wastes over the area.

As a factory worker in the city, Peter earned a modest salary. His wife, Jane Nona, had a small business preparing popular breakfast foods (known as hoppers) which she distributed in the early morning to small local restaurants for sale.

Together, their monthly income never rose above SLRs 960 ($US 38). For this reason, they had no opportunity to move to a more pleasant or healthier neighbourhood. It seemed as if Peter and his wife would have to continue living in their grass-roofed shanty house, with its mosquitoes, flies and germs, for the rest of their lives.

Yet, changes were coming. In 1980, the Government of Sri Lanka launched its "100,000 houses" programme. In that same year, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, proposed that an International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (IYSH) be set up, a suggestion which was taken up and set in motion, to be celebrated in 1987.

In April 1983, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka announced that the "Hundred Thousand Houses" programme would be succeeded by the "Million Houses Programme" (MHP) which would extend over a period of 10 years. It would tackle housing problems in both towns and rural areas, as well as housing delivered by both its public and private sectors.

When MHP got underway at the beginning of 1984, it had a certain philosophy. It would be based on an enabling strategy, that is, the Government would give support to low-income households to assist them in their search for housing. Government support would be reduced to a minimum, simply streamlining the way for local authorities, under a decentralized planning system, to carry out their housing programmes. Loans would be provided to the community - which would play a vital and significant role in all parts of the programme.

The MHP was to consist of a Rural Housing Sub-Programme (See the next article) and an Urban Housing Sub-Programme, within which various projects were developed. In urban areas, shelter upgrading, new house building, and sites-and-services were different options for which loans were given. The maximum loan in the urban areas was SLRs 15,000 or $US 600, to be repaid at an interest rate of 10 per cent.

Wanathamulla was selected as an urban shanty improvement project under the MHP and as a demonstration project for IYSH. The project had two main priorities: to upgrade the standard of the buildings themselves, many of which were poor-quality constructions of poles and palm leaves (cadjan), and to improve the sanitation and water supply, particularly the canal.

During 1982 surveys were carried out and initial plans were prepared by 1983. The first thing to be done was to issue 40 year leases to households so that, with security of tenure, people would be more likely to commit themselves to the shanty upgrading scheme. A large area of marshland in central Wanathamulla was filled in and developed as a small sites-and services project of about 100 plots. These were set aside for Wanathamulla families who were homeless or had to be reallocated because they had encroached on public roads.

Infrastructure improvement needed priority treatment, particularly the drainage canal which runs through the centre of the settlement. This was dredged, cleaned and improved, and, as the settlement developed a garbage-disposal system plus communal toilets, no dumping of refuse into the refurbished canal was allowed.

This was a great relief to Peter and his wife, who had suffered the bad effects of the canal for many years. They were then happy to concentrate on improvements to their own house. With others in the community, they received a loan of SLRs 15,000 for each household, through the Peoples Bank in cooperation with the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA).

With other members of the community, Peter received training in building upgrading techniques and provided labour for the construction of infrastructure and services. With others to help him, a solid stone house was constructed. It had a tiled roof, a shared toilet and access to potable water. The street he resides in will be clean, well-drained and have street lighting. The upgrading of Wanathamulla will improve the life of Peter and Jane and many other members of this low-income community in Sri Lanka's capital city.

Rural architecture is improved

Kanhidigama is a small farming village in northern Sri Lanka, not far from the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura. The people who live there are poor. Each family owns about half an acre of land which is irrigated to grow rice. Many small farmers lease another acre from the Government to grow more rice, and have to encroach on the Government's Crown land for their vegetable plots. Here they raise tomatoes, chillies, beans and other vegetables, together with mangoes and bananas.

One resident of this village is Podi Banda whose income from farming does not exceed SLRs 6000 ($US 200) per year, supplemented by his wife's small earnings from handicrafts. Their original home in the village was a simple two-roomed dwelling with warichchi (a framework of bamboo daubed with mud) walls and an overhanging roof of straw thatch. This gave adequate shade from the sun, but the torrential monsoon rains would wreck the building and the thatched roof would invariably leak throughout the rainy season. In addition, in such a harsh tropical climate and as a result of constant insect attack, the roofing materials frequently had to be replaced.

Cramped in their two-roomed huts, Podi Banda and others of Kanhidigama dreamed of more space, more comforts and the improved amenities that a better-quality home could bring them. On their small salaries, it could only remain a dream.

Yet dreams sometimes come true. In late 1983, the news arrived at the village that there was to be a national housing initiative called the Million Houses Programme of which the Rural Housing Sub-Programme (RHSP) had selected Kanhidigama as the first pilot project on a village scale.

From then on, events moved quickly. By the end of 1983, Podi Banda and other villagers had held meetings, discussed their plans and designs, and learnt about taking a loan and its method of repayment. He and his wife were ready to construct the house of their dreams.

In a climate dominated by long rainy seasons and violent tropical storms, the roof of a permanent house must be solid and well-constructed. Podi obtained wild timber from the nearby forests for his roof, hiring an ox-cart to transport the larger pieces to his home. Smaller branches were carried by himself and his wife during the cool of the evening.

In early 1984, when the November to March monsoon rains finally abated, they started their work. The shell of the existing house had to be strengthened, to bear the weight of a heavy tiled roof. The walls were reinforced by stout posts regularly spaced, and buried to a depth of 2 or 3 feet into the ground. Some walls were knocked down, and others built following the plan they had selected and helped design. Their original simple home of two rooms would become a kitchen and store. A new extension of living room, bedroom and verandah would provide the extra space that the Bandas required.

As the new village sprang to life, one aspect was particularly interesting. All the homes had different and original designs, worked out to the owners' personal specifications and with their needs in mind. When one neighbour needed a room for his elderly parents, this room was incorporated into the plans, and then into the final building. When another villager needed an extra room for two orphans, left when his brother and sister-in-law died, the children's room was planned for and built. The village of Kanhidigama, the home of simple farming folk, is now a community of well-designed, spacious buildings which were planned and built by the villagers themselves.

The architecture of the rural areas of Sri Lanka is being significantly improved by the "Million Houses Programme" - a scheme through which small loans and technical advice are made available to low-income families, within a national enabling environment. This is designed to help poor people to improve their houses with their own energy and their own skills. The MHP, underway until 1993, aims to improve the homes of one million of Sri Lanka's poorest families, in towns and rural areas, following the Global Strategy for Shelter. This aims to facilitate "Shelter for all by the year 2000". Podi Banda of Kanhigidama, and many others like him in Sri Lanka, will finally get the homes of their dreams.



513,120 sq km

Population (1990)

55.7 million

Average rate of Population Growth

1.5% p.a.

Estimated Population by the year 2000

63.7 million

Average Population Density (1990)

108.6 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 1000

Capital city: Bangkok u.a. (1990)

7.2 million

Other cities:

Chiang Mai

Khon Kaen



Nakhon Ratchasima

Surat Thani

Bankok has 1000 slum areas which house over one million people. Land sharing - as was done in Soi Sengki and Klong Toey - is a viable alternative for the upgrading of squatter settlements.

Land-sharinq in Thailand: a working compromise

When Loong Mun heard that his home settlement of Sengki in Bangkok was to be demolished he and many of his co-residents were extremely displeased and alarmed. His home, a house on stilts, one of the few in the area built in the typical traditional Thai style of architecture, had been constructed by his father 45 years ago when he arrived in the area to work in the surrounding orchards.

The house serves Loong Mun well. It is not far from his work in the city and he has a place in this close community of Thai and Chinese people. Above all, it is the family home. Loong Mun was horrified at the thought of trying to find another plot to build on, at a place far from his work. The cost of travelling afar to work could alone destroy him financially. His neighbours were facing similar problems. The slum settlement on Soi Sengki, for all its drawbacks, was a very convenient place to live. The community decided to resist eviction in every way they could and to reject the Baht 5,000-10,000 compensation that they were offered.

The land on which the Sengki slum was built belonged to members of the Thai Royal family, the mother and sister of the present King of Thailand, and was administered by the Crown Property Bureau.

The residents of Sengki first petitioned the members of the Royal Family, and then contacted the National Housing Authority (NHA) to find a solution to their problem. Sengki residents had noticed that at another settlement nearby, Wat Ladbuakaw, the residents and the land-owner had, through the mediation of the NHA, reached a compromise and agreed to share the land. Sengki residents hoped for a similar solution to their problem.

In due course, the NHA initiated a feasibility study for a land-sharing project in the Sengki community. This study produced alternative layout proposals for the settlement and showed that a land-sharing arrangement might well be the solution to the problem. The NHA then decided, on the basis of these studies, to investigate the land-sharing possibilities of Sengki. UNCHS (Habitat) and UNDP agreed to provide support. The project was also nominated as a demonstration project under the 1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless.

Negotiations were set in motion towards the end of 1983, but an offer of sale made in early 1984 by the Crown Property Bureau was not acceptable to the NHA and the residents of Soi Sengki. For the next few years negotiations continued until terms acceptable to both parties were decided upon and an agreement was signed in 1987.

Over 6000 square metres of land were subsequently sold to the Sengki Housing Cooperative, which had been set up in 1984 for baht 734 per square metre. The Crown Property Bureau accepted an initial down payment of 20 per cent with the remainder to be paid over a five-year period.

Before the reciting of the settlement could take place, some very low-lying swampy land had to be raised by a height of 35 cms. The original houses were then demolished and the residents temporarily occupied small shelters while the rebuilding went ahead.

Before the land-sharing project, the Sengki houses had been of different shapes and sizes, scattered and spread over quite a large area of land. After land-sharing, the settlement moved to the rear of the site, and were housed in regular and fairly uniform buildings in tidy rows of shell houses built with common walls and continuous roofs. Owners would complete and add to these shell houses as they were able.

This left a significant portion of the commercially more attractive land at the front free to be developed by the original landowner. The settlers gave up some of their land, rebuilt their homes more densely and in so doing avoided eviction. This new concept of land-sharing has provided a humanitarian solution to the problem of eviction in some cases. It has been used successfully in several parts of Bangkok since the first project, Manangkasila, was implemented in 1982.

In some of the projects, such as Lad Duakan and Manangkasila, the original land-owners have erected high-value shops and houses on the piece of vacant land, which has adequately compensated them for the financial opportunities lost under the land-sharing agreement.

Bangkok has very few squatter settlements, because the Thai laws on the illegal occupation of land are very strict. Instead most low-income families occupy semi-legal settlements, most of them slums, which are built with the knowledge and permission of the land-owner. Bangkok has 1000 slum areas which provide housing to over a million people. At any one time about 20 per cent of slums are under threat of eviction.

Land-sharing in Bangkok cannot be considered to be an automatic alternative to eviction. It is not a panacea for all the woes of low-income settlements. It is a process that needs a lot of time and demands serious negotiation. Yet, in some cases it has proved to be a viable alternative to eviction. Slum communities have not been dispersed and residents have experienced the minimum of inconvenience. They have not had to relocate their families far from their places of work, children have not had to leave their schools, and community ties have remained intact. Land-sharing will not be appropriate in every situation, but in certain cases, it has provided a practical and humanitarian alternative to eviction.


Colombia has recently given new roles to old actors it

- reformed its institutions
- revised existing laws and regulations
- strengthened local governments
- created a subsidy for low-income home buyers

Bolivia, to confront its huge shelter deficit, has made reforms which include:

- new institutional arrangements
- new financial arrangements
- encouraging cooperation between public and private sectors
- increasing the role of the private sector
- increasing the role of local governments

The massive squatter settlement of Aguablanca, in Cali, Colombia, has been upgraded as a result of

- broad participation from the community, an NGO, a bank and the Cali Municipality
- modifying existing building regulations
- increasing the supply of affordable land
- upgrading existing buildings
- producing new housing units
- streamlining legal producers

Costa Rica's bamboo project has made a contribution to that country's housing needs by

- being environmentally sound
- using a low-cost, renewable resource - bamboo - for building
- promoting the use of ingenous building materials
- planting bamboo for future use in building

Low-income households in Chile have benefited from a targeted subsidy scheme which

- gives grants and subsidies to eligible low-income families
- makes loans available to middle - income families
- encourages personal savings

Latin America



1,098,581 sq km

Population (1990)

7.3 million

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)

2.8% p.a.

Estimated population by the year 2000

9.7 million

Average population density (1990)

6.7 inhabitants per sq km

Urban Population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 570

Capital City: La Paz u.a (1990)

1.3 million

Other cities:


El Alto



Santa Cruz


Bolivia is facing a massive housing deficit. To meet this challenge, a number of reforms have been introduced - new institutions set up, new financial arrangements made, private sector participation encouraged and local governments strengthened. These reforms are designed to assist Bolivia to provide adequate homes for both rural and urban noon

Reforms pave the way for a new shelter policy

The high, mountainous terrain of Bolivia was the site of a number of important indigenous cultures that reached high levels of sophistication, social organization and art. Part of the fabled Inca civilization which originated in Peru was located here. With the arrival of Spanish conquerors, Bolivia's rich mineral deposits were looted to support Spain's massive global empire. The town of Potosi in southern Bolivia was the richest source of silver that the world had ever known: it was said that a bridge of silver could have been built from Potosi to Spain, so much bullion was trekked out on llama or mule-back from the mountains to the sea, and thence, by galleon to Spain. Indeed, the ancient volcano by which Potosi stands used to be called Cerro Rico, the Mountain of Riches.

The riches are no longer there. Very little silver is mined, and although tin mining is important, the country is poor. About half the population is engaged in agriculture and survives on a staple diet of potatoes supplemented with a little meat from the llama herds. Their traditional homes are sturdy, stone-built houses thatched with grass in the barren uplands, or huts of grass and totora reeds in the lowlands and around Lake Titicaca, a high montane lake on the border with Peru.

Housing in Bolivia faces a number of challenges. One is to defy the persistent cold found at such high altitudes, as chilly winds blow across a plateau, the altiplano, almost a thousand kilometres long. There is a shortage of building materials in these harsh uplands as well as little fuel for house heating and the preparation of food. In the rural areas, the staple food, potatoes, are boiled over llama dung fires.

Although only 40 per cent of Bolivia's territory falls in the mountains, over half of the inhabitants live in the high Andes. The rest are divided between the more sheltered valleys and the warmer lowlands. There is therefore a rather uneven distribution of people and actual resources, making both communication and the provision of social amenities difficult, especially in the upland areas. The illiteracy rate of people above 15 years of age is close to 20 per cent, but is considerably higher for women.

Bolivia's urban population is growing at a rate of 4 per cent per annum. The current deficit is estimated at 300,000 dwelling units, and it must be recognized that much of the existing housing is unacceptably overcrowded. The true deficit is therefore closer to 700,000 units.

During the 1950s, the country introduced a period of agrarian reform in an attempt to incorporate the rural population into national affairs - no easy task where the population was widely scattered and living at subsistence level.

Since that time there have been periods of political turbulence and economic ups and downs. In 1985 the Government lost control of the economy, and run-away inflation set in at over 24,000 per cent per annum. This period of hyperinflation led to a series of drastic reforms. These reforms, which included rationalizing the tax structure, promoting incentives for private savings and investment, control of public spending and others, quickly brought Bolivia's galloping inflation down to 20 per cent per annum. By 1987 Bolivia had entered a period of sustained economic growth at around 3 per cent per annum.

The election of a new Government in 1989 led to the establishment in the following year of policies which were designed to enhance economic stability and social development. At this time, education, health services and housing all became national priorities, within a system of political decentralization.

In housing, many of Bolivia's policies have developed in line with the Global Strategy for Shelter. New institutions have been set up to serve growing needs. One, of great importance, was the National Federation of Credit Unions and Cooperatives (FENACRE) which has steadily developed to keep abreast of the housing challenges caused by increasing urbanization. In 1990 FENACRE consisted of 215 cooperatives with a total membership of almost 350,000 individuals, 40 per cent of whom are in the rural areas.

A census in 1976 showed that 44 per cent of Bolivia's housing stock was in bad condition. Most of these houses were in the rural areas. Three-quarters were without potable water, adequate sewage disposal and other facilities.

Of significance to low-income families, therefore, was the setting up of new financial arrangements for shelter. The Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda (FONVI) now receives a 3 per cent payroll tax amounting to $US 12 million per annum as well as other sources of cash expected to total $US 60 million per year, in the near future. This will be channelled into a system of lowinterest loans for low-cost housing projects, in cooperation with the Institute for Social Housing (IVS). With sound financial arrangements in place, the poor folk of Bolivia have hopes for an improved housing situation in the future.

The main emphasis in housing reform in Bolivia has been the modification of the role of the public sector and an increase in the importance of the private sector. Although cooperation between the two sectors has been encouraged, private-sector participation in particular has been encouraged. These approaches follow the philosophy of the Global Strategy for Shelter.

Housing policies have also been decentralized with more power to local governments. This reorganization has been carried out by the Bolivian Association of Urban Affairs Organizations, ASOBUR, the diverse members of which come from commercial banks, savings-and-loan organizations, cooperatives, and labour organizations, as well as university and research organizations. Another of ASOBUR's roles is to obtain better representation of its individual members within the policy-making process of the housing sector.

The current annual production of 30,000 units will have to be increased to a level closer to 80,000 if the goal of shelter for all by the year 2000 is to be achieved. If this is so, then the present emphasis on the private sector may have to be modified to include greater participation by the informal sector. Greater cooperation and sharing of responsibilities to meet the special housing needs of this high-altitude, mountainous country may well be needed in the future.

Improved land-registration systems in the Andean highlands

Hyperinflation in the past has caused a tremendous fall in the collection of land taxes in Bolivia, as real-estate values listed in the cadastres - or land registration systems became obsolete. Municipalities did not have the funds to invest in the construction or maintenance of infrastructure and services. In 1986, a self-assessment of real estate was introduced. The landlords, using a cumbersome methodology, declared under oath the value of their estates. Although tax revenues increased substantially, only 25 per cent of the potential collection was attained. A solution was urgently needed to strengthen municipal finances. This was found with the SIS-CAT computerized system.

A single system for land registration

SIS-CAT, a system of cadastral information, starts with aerial photographs of all the districts of the city. They are computerized, digitized and stored in a computer hard disk. This graphic information - which was done in parts can then be integrated, and maps of a district or of the entire city can then be plotted. Following international standards, a code is given first to the districts, and later to the blocks and the plots.

Simultaneously, field research is planned. Survey forms are designed, and surveyors trained through courses and manuals. The survey is done plot by plot, collecting physical data on the size and shape of plots and buildings, and documentary data information about the owner, title deeds and land use. In addition, the state of the roads and services is surveyed. All this information is fed into SIS-CAT for processing. Thus, each plot has its own information file within the hard disk of the computer.

Such information is valuable for the purposes of setting up an urban development plan able to guide the growth of a city, for determining the land uses desired, and for improving and enlarging the different networks, such as water supply and electricity. Land ownership can be precisely stated. This can avoid frauds, for example selling the same estate twice. These are among the advantages of this land registration system in urban development.

To meet shelter needs, local authorities require financial resources that can be obtained through land taxes and by matching the listed values in the cadastre with market prices. This has also been done in the system, following carefully the commercial real-estate transactions in the city. These data are also fed into the main central file, to be processed graphically and analytically to identify the properties and their owners. Data can be quickly updated with this high-tech system to allow the Municipality of El Alto to meet its development needs.

To meet Bolivia's urgent shelter needs, financial resources are needed from land taxes and other sources. To improve the efficiency of revenue collection, a new computerized system of land registration has been introduced. Used first in the expanding city of El Alto, it is planned to extend it to other parts of Bolivia.

The land-registration system, a successful pilot project executed by UNCHS (Habitat) in El Alto has so far surveyed 276 hectares, comprising 5000 plots. It will be extended to cover 1600 hectares, a substantial part of the city.

Once the system is fully operational at El Alto, it will be extended to the whole country, through the office of the Ministry of Urban Affairs of Bolivia.



756,945 sq km

Population (1990)

13.2 million

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)

1.7% p.a.

Estimated population by the year 2000

15.3 million

Average population density (1990)

17.4 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.D.P. per capita (1988)

$US 1510

Capital city: Santiago u.a. (1990)

4.7 million

Other cities:




Maria Sepulveda and her husband relax on the porch of their new timber house. Under Chilie's scheme of compassionate subsidies, Maria's family were entitled to the type of loan aimed at the poorest of the urban poor. People in other circumstances are entitled to other loans.

Subsidies for those most in need

Maria Sepulveda has had some difficult times in her life. Her husband was injured in a logging accident at his work-place near the southern Chile town of Puerto Montt some years ago, and since that time her family has been dogged by financial problems. Yet one thing has gone well for M aria and her crippled husband. They have succeeded in obtaining a fine timber house to shelter them from the high rainfall and the winter snow of southern Chile. This home is now the centre of their world.

It was made possible by the introduction of a compassionate system to help low-and middle-income households to obtain housing. The basis of this recently-introduced system is a number of housing subsidy schemes.

The subsidies are given in a considerate manner to people attempting to purchase their homes. The scheme enables the poorest households to get the maximum subsidy. The system is very important because it allows 88 per cent of Chile's population access to housing.

The Government makes grant awards to eligible families from funds derived mainly from international loans. For example, a World Bank loan of $US 200 million was made available to the Government of Chile for the housing subsidy programme, which covers almost 20 per cent of the total investment. Similarly, the Inter-American Development Bank has put forward a loan of $US 70 million for Chile's Sites and Services Scheme.

Maria's family was eligible for the type of loan known as Marginal Urban, aimed at the poorest of the urban poor. Under this scheme, a household can receive a subsidy of 75 per cent of the total cost of either a core house or a serviced plot. Maria and her husband opted for the core house, which consisted of three rooms. The cost of this core unit was approximately $US 3200.

Other types of subsidies are available to people in other circumstances. The Urban Loan applies to the needs of people in the low- and middle-income sector in particular, and decreases as the value of the unit increases. The loan can be repaid over a 10- to 30-year period, and the property that is being paid for by the loan becomes the loan guarantee.

Another subsidy is designed to suit people in the rural areas or in small settlements of less that 2500 inhabitants. About 6500 subsidies are made per year under this part of the programme to a maximum of about $US 2700.

In addition, there is a special category, targeted again at low- and middle-income sectors which are granted through unions, municipalities and organizations. A total of 15,000 grants are made annually, valued at about $US 1000 each. In 1989, the total number of housing units being subsidized in Chile was 79,000.

For housing transactions, an alternative to the regular currency is in use. This is called the Unidad de Fomento (Unit of Development) or UF. In September 1989, one UP was equivalent to approximately 5100 Chilean pesos, roughly equivalent to $US 17. The value of the unit varies and is examined and assessed on a monthly basis by the Examiner of Banks and Financial Institutions. All savings and financial pledges in Chile are expressed in UFs, as are all housing transactions.

Maria's core house, for example, cost 200 UFs (approximately $US 3400) for which she received a 75 per cent subsidy of 150 UFs.

People who are aiming for home-ownership are encouraged to save and are rewarded when they do so, in two different ways. First, the number of UFs deposited in a savings account are rewarded by points; secondly, points are also awarded for UFs not included in the loan request. The progress of each saver is checked after six months and if the individual has fulfilled his or her obligation, extra points are awarded. The points earn savings bonuses. Long-term savings contracts with cooperatives or institutions can only be signed for periods of 18 months or longer. In addition, the Government guarantees deposits of up to 108 UFs ($US 1944). Points are also awarded for the length of time that money is left in the account. In March 1989,416,000 housing-related savings accounts were in operation in Chile.

Those subsidy schemes have been developed in a difficult economic climate. During the decade starting in 1980, inflation varied between 9.5 per cent and 31.2 per cent with an average of 20.6 per cent. Despite these difficulties the Government has committed itself to the production and sale of housing units for low-income families, subsidizing the transactions, guaranteeing mortgage loans, and encouraging personal and family savings by offering bonuses on sums of money saved'

By these equitable and humanitarian policies based around an easy-to-use subsidy system, the Chilean Government has enabled 90 per cent of its people to have access to adequate housing. This system of subsidies is a recommendation of the Global Strategy for Shelter which is promoting the provision of shelter for all by the year 2000.



1,138,914 sq km

Population (1990)

31.8 million

Average rate of population growth (1985-1990)

2.1% p.a.

Estimated population by the year 2000

38.0 million

Average population density (1990)

27.9 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population (1990)


G.N.P. per capita (1988)

$US 1240

Capital city: Bogota u.a. (1990)

5.6 million

Other cities:





The new housing plan of Colombia recognizes the importance of informal builings and, with an enabling approach, supports families' efforts to achieve access to adequate shelter.

New roles for old actors

In the sixteenth century, conquerors from Spain and one of the German principalities arrived almost simultaneously at the Sabana de Bogota, a high plateau located in the centre of what is now Colombia. They were looking for Eldorado, the golden country. Indian tribes, such as the Quimbaya and Muisca, manufactured beautiful gold sculptures that were used by the chiefs and warriors to decorate themselves and their homes.

Most of the gold was melted down by the conquerors and sent to Spain by ships which departed from Cartagena de Indias, where the gold from Peru and the silver from Bolivia arrived after a long journey by land. On their trip to Europe, the galleons were attacked by pirates, Morgan and Drake among them, who managed to capture some of them. The very few gold pieces that remained can still be seen at the Gold Museum in Bogota.

Eldorado has vanished. There is no longer a golden country. However, what the Colombians inherited from their ancestors - sculptors of gold, stone and clay - is a passion for arts. And of these, architecture is the most important.

Architecture is above all housing design and construction. To express its interest in shelter, Colombia in 1932 founded one of the oldest housing institutions of Latin America, the BCH, or Central Mortgage Bank, to finance the construction of dwellings. In 1939 it created the Instituto de Credito Territorial to provide housing. After the Second World War, Colombia and the Organization of American States (OAS), co-sponsored CINVA, the Inter-American Centre for Housing, where experts from all over the continent were trained. Later, other institutions such as Bouw-centrum de Colombia and CENAC carried out research on shelter.

In 1972, the Government created an indexed system for housing financing, indexing both savings and loans. This-was to mobilize more financial resources for shelter, as part of a strategy that linked construction, and particularly housing construction, to the overall macroeconomic policies for development. One decade later, the country implemented ambitious policies for de-centralization, with popular election of mayors and then transfer of funds from the central Government to the local governments.

All these steps have helped to reduce the quantitative deficit in Colombia, until it is now almost non-existent. However, there is still an important qualitative deficit, which has to be solved by improvement or replacement of inadequate dwelling units. Moreover, at least 100,000 dwellings per year must be built to meet the needs of new household formation in the country.

That is why Colombia has recently formulated a Social Housing Programme. Its main goal is to build 500,000 new houses in four years through. reorganization of the shelter sector, targeted and transparent subsidies, decentralization, community participation, privatesector involvement and increased responsibilities for the municipalities.

Colombia: New Roles for old Actors - Actions of the national system for housing of social interest

The Colombian system of social interest housing includes:

· New dwelling units for households with an income of 0 to 2 minimum monthly salaries;
· New dwelling units for households with an income of 2 to 4 minimum monthly salaries;
· New dwelling units for households with an income of 4 to 6 minimum monthly salaries;
· Priority urban projects,
· Upgrading of housing,
· Slum rehabilitation,
· Urban renewal,
· Financing for dwelling units being resold,
· Legislation of spontaneous settlements.

The housing deficit in Colombia is not caused by a lack of dwelling units but by the subnormal conditions of 1.8 million units, or 29 per cent of the housing stock. Of these 980,000 are overcrowded, and about 380,000 lack services. New households demand 100,000 dwelling units per year.

In the 1980s, Colombia's formal sector built an average of almost 90,000 dwellings per year. It is estimated that 40 per cent of the new dwelling units have been informally built, at a high social cost. To solve these problems, Colombia has started an enabling approach to facilitate the action of all the actors involved in the shelter process.

Actors and actions

The Instituto de Credito Territorial (ICT), the oldest housing agency in Colombia, will abandon its 50-year-old role of provider to become an enabler of the activity of the municipalities and communities. ICT will no longer build or finance shelter, and as the centre of the National Housing System will use subsidy allocations as a tool to guide shelter building activities. It will also support the local authorities and the communities with technical assistance. To assume this new role, its administrative systems will be modernized, and its technical profile readdressed, to be able to support the urban reform by preparing projects, financing, and subsidizing legislation and regularization of spontaneous settlements.

Savings and housing corporations

The 10 private (or public/private) corporations for housing will be enabled to finance lowcost dwellings at low rates of interest because they will be free to determine the interest rates for builders and for buyers of medium-and high-cost dwelling units thus making cross-subsidies. Thirty per cent of their holdings should be addressed to low-cost housing. Law 9 of 1989 has recently been modified to allow these corporations to finance low-cost dwelling units with the social UPAC system, an indexed financial system which can now reduce the annual growth of the instalments from 15 per cent per year to only 8 per cent per year, thanks to the subsidies. Dwelling units financed by the corporations will be constructed by private builders or by community-based organizations (CBOs).

Compensation banks (Cajas de compensaci

One per cent of all the payrolls will be addressed to housing, through subsidies transferred to ICT by the "Cajas de Compensaciamilia", private and public institutions in charge of paying the family subsidy to households of low income.

Municipal funds for housing

These funds will finance housing not only for civil servants but for all the community. Therefore, representatives of the CBOs and managers of the public-service enterprises (water supply, sewerage and electricity) will have a seat in their boards of directors. The funds will be free to grant credits at the interest rates and repayment periods they wish.

Land Development Finance Agency (Financiera de Desarrollo Territorial)

This institution is responsible for the financing of infrastructure. Therefore it will grant credit to the municipalities for integral subdivisions of land used for low-cost housing. These loans include financing for the purchase and improvement of land; construction of roads and drainage systems, of secondary networks (water supply and electricity) as well as the building of community facilities (for education, recreation, health etc.).

The amount of credit needed by the municipalities might vary due to community participation. In most cases, thanks to full municipal support end self-help construction, the long-term financing would be zero, because the subsidy granted by the country to the poorest households would be approximately equal to the cost of the building materials of the less expensive dwelling units (about $US 1000 per unit).

Central Mortgage Bank (Banco Central Hipotecario)

This institution, with over 58 years of experience in financing housing and infrastructure, will usher in a profound change. As an official housing and savings corporation, the Bank will specialize in financing the upgrading of the existing housing stock: granting loans for housing improvements, the subdivision or enlargement of dwelling units, the purchase of used shelter units and for urban projects of special interest.

Agrarian Bank (Caja Agraria)

The fund for rural housing, managed by the CA, will subsidize and grant credits for the purchase, building and upgrading of housing, as well as for co-financing local shelter programmes in municipalities with less than 12,000 inhabitants.

The Housing Programme

A law recently approved by the Colombian Parliament defined the housing programme as follows:

- The central Government will grant direct and indirect subsidies to low-income households for the purchase of dwelling units as a complement to the down payment and the mortgage financing they can obtain from public or private institutions.

- ICT will channel family subsidies for housing to programmes of incremental houses carried out by local authorities and by organizations for popular housing. ICT will also mobilize subsidies for housing the rural population through the Fund for Rural Housing of the Agrarian Bank.

- ICT will grant subsidies to households with incomes lower than 4 minimum monthly salaries that obtain credit with private institutions and certify previous savings. Besides that, ICT will promote local programmes - urban or rural - for construction of low-cost dwellings. It will promote the instruments for urban reform, and legalize spontaneous settlements, subsidizing of necessity the expenses demanded by these programmes. ICT will grant credit to municipalities and local institutions through financial intermediaries. This shelter agency will stop buying land, contracting construction and financing to individuals.

BCH will stop direct execution of projects and will mainly promote urban recycling through mortgage financing of upgrading, enlargement, subdivision, real-estate integration, land readjustment, slum rehabilitation, purchase of used housing and special urban projects.

Housing for the poorest-a study in co-operation in Aguablanca, Cali

The city of Cali, Colombia's third largest city is situated in the valley of Lili, bounded by hills to the west and the river Cauca to the east. During the 1960s and 1970s the city received large numbers of rural migrants and it grew rapidly to its present size of 1.5 million people, mainly as a result of the growth of spontaneous settlements around the edge of the town.

One such area of massive squatter growth was Aguablanca, a district of 300,000 very poor people living in substandard and inadequate conditions on an area of flat land to the east of Cali. Their homes were largely squalid shacks of wood or bamboo, with no facilities or infrastructure. Aguablanca was considered to be the most depressed area of Cali and a social time bomb which could go off at any time. Yet, until the 1980s, the problems of this area had not been faced and its residents continued to subsist in squalor and degradation. Changes were urgently needed for the people of Aguablanca.

These changes came as a result of the social policies of Colombia's President, whose national policy was a "Change with Equity" Development Plan. The 1982 electoral campaign had housing as a key issue, and the Aguablanca Project was born. It was, in fact, a local response to a national policy and grew from a pilot project to a programme on a national scale to solve an urgent housing problem.

The unique feature of this project was the cooperation that developed between the public and private sectors, NGOs, central and local government offices as well as university departments and research centres, all in collaboration with the grass-roots community of Aguablanca itself to solve a problem of urban development, and to assist low-income families with an urgent housing problem. To do this, no less than ten different organizations and agencies worked together to participate in what became an integrated community development project.

At the start, the Banco Central Hipotecario (BCH) or Central Mortgage Bank, the Fundaciarvajal, an NGO active in housing in Colombia, and the municipality of Cali agreed to work with the community of Aguablanca to solve its urgent housing problem by providing low-cost shelter with services, based on sound planning and the rational use of land, materials and designs.

The role of the Central Mortgage Bank, BCH, a national financing institution for shelter development, was to solve problems in housing finance both for individuals and NGOs involved in the programme. It set up a Special Programme Bureau to co-ordinate community participation to solve national housing problems while BCH set out to reach and involve the poorest members of society. It provided resources for both housing and infrastructure and set up financial mechanisms that would assist low-income people with housing problems.

The second major participant in the Aguablanca project was the Carvajal Foundation, an NGO which had done a lot of good work in poor neighbourhoods before the onset of the project. Their new role was an important one - to organize supplies of construction materials, to train artisans to produce building materials, to channel BCH funds to small businesses concerned with producing building materials and to work closely with the community to involve them urban design and other matters of community participation.

Interlocked L-shaped houses use narrower plots which reduce the cost of infrastructure, by decreasing road length and increasing density. However, the width of the interior spaces is not affected.

The Municipality of Cali, would, through the Shelter Institute of Cali, INVICALI, provide the land required for the Programme and the installation of services (once the designs and plans had been approved by the Department of Municipal Planning), obtain legal authorizations to collaborate with the city's public services and authority to speed up installation of services, cooperate with other agencies to promote the implementation of the project.

Thus, from these agencies, an "Inter-institutional Agreement for a Pilot Urban Development Cell in Popular Settlements" was set up in January 1983, and was signed with the President as witness.

It was agreed from the very beginning that other agencies would also be involved to offer their expertise in different fields and make valuable inputs in different ways. These were the Instituto de Crto Territorial, (ICT) contributing experience and expertise in housing problems in Cali; the Centro Nacional de Estudios pare la ConstrucciCENAC) contributing architectural and city plans, and giving advice on budgets; and the Universidad del Valle, through its Faculty of Architecture, working on architectural and urban designs suited to the needs of the people. In addition, the National Statistical Department (DANE) produced information on the socio-economic situation of poor areas of Cali, the National Apprenticeship Service (SENA) trained small businessmen and builders and the Instituto Colombiano de Normas Ticas (INCONTEC) was involved in producing technical information on construction techniques and materials. Finally, the Corporaciare la Recreaciopular de Cali was required to incorporate recreational plans into the programme, particularly the design of a park.

The programme was managed by a governing council consisting of the Mayor of Cali, the Directors of BHC and the Carvajel Foundation and three others. In addition, two professional women were involved at the top level of management, as part of the executive secretariat to coordinate between the grass roots and the management.

The Aguablanca programme was developed within the framework of Cali's Integral Urban Development Plan (PIDECA). As the local housing deficit was estimated to be around 90,000 units, the project's first objectives were to legalize and upgrade squatter areas and, in addition, to introduce sites-and-services schemes to promote new building.

These aims were set in motion by legalizing building on unlicensed sites, producing plans to upgrade substandard dwellings, modifying existing building regulations to more realistic levels and designating a further 900 hectares on the edge of the city for low-cost housing development.

The success of the Aguablanca project depended on the introduction of "enabling strategies" which would assist ordinary people to have access to shelter. This is the main tenet of the Global Strategy for Shelter which advocates "Shelter for all by the year 2000." This project produced some innovative enabling strategies, not least of which were the financial arrangements made by BCH. For the first time in Colombia's history, a main financial institution moved into the low-income settlement areas of a city. By opening savings branches in Aguablanca, families were able to easily open savings accounts and make mortgage payments, i.e. to have access to the formal financial sector.

Other enabling strategies followed. EMCALI streamlined the installation and connection of water and electrical services; the municipal office approved the plans of a particular building within 24 hours, and the FFDU and BCH financed the upgrading of infrastructure. This project was determined to cut through the "red tape" that slows down housing development.

The project was originally planned to be involved with three parts of Aguablanca - Poblado I, an existing area of shanties which was to be upgraded, and at Vallado and Mojica where new settlements would be built. Because of legal entanglements, the Mojica area did not benefit from the project, but impressive achievements have been attained in the other two areas in the last six years.

The district of Poblado I has been significantly improved by upgrading of squatter's homes. The settlement now has a construction supply centre which produces an impressive range of building materials. It also benefits from a network of small shops and a BCH branch office. In addition, the Carvejal Foundation's medical and dental supply services have improved, and a system of recycling refuse has been introduced. Roads and pathways have been paved by cement-block paving stones which are now easily transported by wheelbarrows produced by a small business in the area.

The residents of Poblado I now benefit from the community and public facilities that include a school, a recreation centre and park, and a Family Attention Unit which focuses its attention on young people and the elderly as well as providing training courses for those who need them.

Demonstration houses that were built early on in the project to show people designs and building techniques have now become community facilities. One is now a health centre nun by the Carvajal Foundation and the other is a Children's Home, looked after by the Faculty of Social Work at the Universidad del Valle. This is a vast improvement from the original scenario, where almost 800 hundred families eked out their existence in cambuches or wooden shacks with no amenities at all.

Impressive improvements have also taken place in the El Vallado district, which now has over 2000 houses constructed under the agreement with appropriate infrastructure and services. Financial arrangements were made easy with families being asked to pay 30 per cent of their incomes for mortgage repayments under a 1 5-year loan arrangement.

In El Vallado, innovative house designs produced by the local planning department - based on a proposal done by CENAC when redesigning the district - cut the costs of infrastructure and building. These were designed around an L-shaped plan which would interlock together. As costs were cut, more people could then afford the houses.

Based on this original L-shaped design, a number of house plans were produced which served to give the people what they wanted. Original skepticism about the appropriateness of the design disappeared when the community built their homes easily and enjoyed living in them. Residents had a choice of having a wide street frontage with a verandah, or a rear garden or open space. Some preferred one option; others selected the alternative. The huge shady Pisamo trees that grew in the locality were left as they were and became a feature of the new residential area, offering shade to homes and gardens.

The Aguablanca project is a study in co-operation between the Government of Colombia, the community of a poor district of Cali, and the private sector. Despite the fact that cooperation had to be developed between 10 different agencies plus the community, initial problems were overcome and the participating agencies learnt to speak "a common language" that led them to a highly successful project with relevance to other cities and other parts of the world.

The project illustrates many of the recommendations from the Global Strategy for Shelter which aims to provide housing for all by the year 2000.

Costa Rica


51,100 sq km

Population (1990)

3.0 million

Annual rate of population growth (1985-1990)


Estimated population by the year 2000

3.7 million

Average population density (1990)

59.0 inhabitants per sq km

Urban population


G.N.P per capita (1988)

$US 1760

Capital city: San Jose u.a 1990

1.0 million

Other cities:


Puerto Lim/TD>


Bamboo as a light-weight building material has many advantages - one of which is the protection of the environment. The rain forests of Costa Rica are being felled at an enormous rate and the planting and utilization of bamboo can take pressure off the forests in a country where timber is the traditional building material.

Bamboo for shelter to protect the environment

The tropical rain forests of Costa Rica are disappearing at an alarming rate. If present trends continue, little will remain by the end of the century. Thus wood, the traditional building material in the rural areas, is a commodity which is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive.

Costa Rica has the highest rural population density in Latin America, with many housed in rough, dark huts which do not permit a decent standard of living. The country also has a serious housing deficit of about 130,000 units and needs 20,000 units per year to serve its growing population and to replace old buildings. These figures represent an enormous demand for building materials, both at present and in the future. Hence the need for a renewable supply of building materials which will not deplete the forests.

The answer has been found - fast-growing species of bamboo are now being used to alleviate Costa Rica's rural housing problems and to take pressure off the country's most pressing environmental problem - deforestation. Bamboo is providing an environmentally sound solution to an urgent housing problem.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the housing sector was severely affected by Costa Rica's economic crisis, which prevented the country from producing the number of housing units it had planned. In addition, the public sector, which assists low-income families, was forced to reduce its contribution by two-thirds of its previous targets. By 1984, therefore, the housing shortage in Costa Rica was critical and was as high as 25 per cent of existing housing stock.

Bringing together all these requirements, Costa Rica urgently needed a new approach to low-cost housing. To meet this need, the Government of the Netherlands, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, UNCHS (Habitat) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) set up a five-year project to look into the qualities of bamboo as a potential, renewable, low-cost building material for rural housing. During this preparatory phase, four building sites were set up, technicians were trained in bamboo construction technologies, and seedbeds of bamboo were planted which could provide a continuous supply of building materials for the future. This pilot project led to the development of the Proyecto Nacional del Bambational Bamboo Project) now ongoing, under the directorship of a lady architect.

Bamboo, a building material with many useful properties, is used in the construction of traditional homes in many parts of the world, from Central America, through Central Africa, to East Asia - where bamboo is an indigenous plant.

Some of the many species of bamboo found worldwide can produce stems up to 30 metres high and of great tensile strength. Research within the project has identified two species, Guadua sur and G. atlantica - originally from Brazil and Colombia - as particularly appropriate species for building. Plantations of these two species are now being established to provide building materials in the future. At present, this environmentally sound project has developed almost 200 hectares of bamboo plantations and more will be planted.

Reafforestation with species other than bamboo is also being promoted by the project. This will reduce soil erosion in Costa Rica, which, as a result of forest loss, is causing arable land to be eroded, rivers to be silted up, dams and other development structures to be choked and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs to be destroyed by sedimentation. The loss of forests is also causing water shortages, especially in the San Jose metropolitan area.

Apart from its valuable environmental component, the project is producing pleasant, low-cost homes for rural people. The houses have a timber balloon frame, filled with a plastered mat of bamboo, which supports a roof of corrugated iron sheets. In total, a house uses less than 1.5 cubic metres of timber, thus substantially reducing the need for this scarce building material. Research on bamboo roofing sheets will follow in the near future, and research to develop a house that is built entirely from bamboo is in progress at the present time.

Bamboo is an excellent building material, provided that it has been adequately preserved. It must be cut at the right season so that the starch and water content of the wood are as low as possible to reduce the likelihood of decay. The stems must be stored in a dry place where there is no contact with soil so that the wood cannot be attacked by insects, particularly termites. The house must be designed so that the structure of the house is kept as dry as possible; an overhanging roof, for example, will protect the walls from rain. Bamboo is a useful building material in areas prone to earthquakes. During December 1990 Costa Rica experienced several serious earthquakes, and the bamboo homes remained intact. Their walls did not crack because of the flexible nature of bamboo. The seismicresistant properties of bamboo as a building material were established at this time.

In addition, bamboo can be treated with preservative chemicals. As it was not possible to find a locally available chemical preservative, boron is now being used. This is a relatively inexpensive substance harmless both to people and domestic animals and environmentally safe. Houses built from bamboo which has been preserved in these ways can last for more than 20 years.

In Costa Rica's National Bamboo Project, women are involved at every stage. Both men and women participate in the design, as well as in the construction phase, for bamboo is light to use. This project is therefore making full use of the talents and energy of all members of the community.

Community participation has been a feature this project from the beginning. Serving to help the indigenous communities in some remote areas of the country (e.g., the Terrabas Indians in the Talamanca Mountains), the recipients have been involved since the project's inception. At the very beginning, a workshop was held for local people, who were given the opportunity to say what they wanted in relation to their home. This participatory design workshop enabled designers to produce building plans in accordance with the wishes of the people. Now, in place of the dark, badly-ventilated homes that they have traditionally occupied, Costa Rica's poor are enjoying light, pleasant, well-ventilated homes with the facilities to improve their quality of life.

The project started in 1987 and is now being extended for a six-month period. A second phase will then run until 1995.

During the project, attractive, easy-to-read information and training materials have been produced, among them the periodical Bambusetum, to keep people up to date about recent developments and progress.

The project is having several important spin-off results. One is that research and technologies developed in the project are being disseminated throughout the Central American subregion and may serve to solve housing projects in other tropical centres. Secondly, it is contributing to the economic development of the subregion, as people are learning to produce handicrafts and fumiture in bamboo and are establishing incomegenerating activities.

The project has many features which are recommended in the Global Strategy for Shelter. It is environmentally sound and is based on the planting of bamboo which can be harvested six years later for building purposes. Its reafforestation strategy is reducing soil erosion and related environmental problems.

Essentially a rural development project based on the sustainable use of locally-available materials, the project involves broad participation within the community, especially input by women; has led to the development of appropriate technologies, improved rural architecture, and training and income-generating activities within the community.

How to develop a national shelter strategy

Virtually all countries already have national housing policies - adequate or inadequate. A national shelter strategy, formulated along the lines of the Global Strategy for Shelter recommendations, would use their enabling principle to facilitate the participation of the three main actors in shelter delivery - governments (both national and local), the private sector (formal and informal, as well as NGOs and CBOs), and the community - working together in three main areas of action:

Political and participatory aspects

Reorganization of the shelter sector

Economic and financial aspects

Mobilization and allocation of resources

Physical-spatial aspects

Shelter production and improvement

Rationally, changes in policies and strategies should start with well-identified needs. Shelter strategies should aim at improving the performance of the shelter-delivery system, in order to attain adequate shelter for all by the year 2000.

This need can only be thoroughly assessed by analysing the performance of the shelter sector and understanding its behaviour under current policies and strategies. If its performance can be improved, strategy alternatives towards this aim should be considered. The main stages of setting up a national shelter strategy are:

- Evaluation of past and present policy performance of the shelter sector;

- Research of new alternatives to meet shelter needs, including the policy lessons learnt from many countries and elaborated in the GSS;

- Information exchange on new approaches, to create a more favourable environment for policy change;

- Policy formulation of new, enabling strategies;

- Training, at several levels, on new strategies and on ways and means to implement them;

- Strategic implementation of the policies;

- Evaluation of the actions and their results.

These stages form the shelter development cycle. The feed-back, given by the evaluation, sets the course for further development of the strategies.

The knowledge of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, the familiarization with successful experiences from other countries - such as the ones described in this document - and the assessment of the performance of the national shelter sector could be a starting point of this shelter development cycle, which should over time improve the shelter-delivery system in every country.

Action at the national level

Countries all over the world are acting now, studying, formulating and implementing new shelter strategies. Most of them have UNCHS (Habitat) support, through technical cooperation projects. The following overview shows national activities being carried out at the start of 1991.

Afghanistan has commenced the formulation of a national shelter strategy. The Government is also under taking a project (AGG/86/033) with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance to improve the output of in digenous building materials, improve affordable waterproofing of traditional roofs, and disseminate building techniques through pilot low-cost housing projects. A comprehensive plan for solid-waste management in Kabul has also been prepared with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (AGG/86/024).

Algeria has an ambitious programme to construct 200,000 housing units in the 1990s. UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance in Algeria is focused on assessment of raw materials and resources for its building industry, and research and training activities for the development of local building materials and construction labour. (ALG/80/013 and ALG/88/018).

Angola organized a national workshop on shelter and services with UNCHS (Habitat) collaboration. A variety of legislative and administrative reforms are being initiated to encourage the involvement of the private sector and the Government has set up a multi-sectoral Housing Committee for the formulation of a national shelter strategy. A re quest for technical cooperation in national shelter strategy formulation is pending.

Anguilla has enacted legislation on land development and has upgraded the existing Building Ordinance and Regulations in an effort to encourage orderly development of housing.

Argentina has established a National Committee for Habitat made up of governmental and private organizations, with the objective of implementing the guidelines contained in the Global Strategy, within the concept of sustainable development, with special emphasis on the integration of the shelter sector with economic development, improvement of living conditions, and efficient planning and management of settlements.

Australia has established a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Housing Access which will provide a focus for directing particular attention to ways of dealing with homelessness and inadequate housing, en courage cooperation among NGOs working in the housing sector and formulate non-government sector views on policy issues relating to the objectives of the strategy.

Bahrain has adopted a comprehensive National Land-use Plan for the year 2001 which has been prepared with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (BAH/87/002). The Plan will channel development into areas which are most suitable and also reduce negative environmental impacts. It will enable the formulation of policies to achieve a balance between pressures for development and the need to protect finite resources.

Bangladesh has developed mechanisms for the issue of housing loans without collateral to enable the poor to first increase the material base and then improve the essential parts of a relatively permanent house through the Grameen Bank Housing Programme. It has also effectively involved community groups. NGOs and private-sector firms through a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted development project (BGD/86/044) in Chittagong and is implementing a municipal services and environmental improvement programme in Dhaka and Chittagong with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance.

Refer to: "A bank that trusts the poor"

Barbados has prepared a National Housing Plan which broadly outlines the strategies to achieve the overall goal of improved shelter conditions. The Plan calls for expanding the private sector's role in the provision of housing and decreasing the Government's role in housing production, increased resources for maintenance and upgrading of existing housing stock; and a shift from expensive subsidized housing towards developing sites and services and low-cost housing with maximum cost recovery

Benin is implementing a project with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance for the provision of communal infrastructure in rural areas (BEN/07/001). The project has established a decentralized technical assistance institution to: assess local needs with regard to infrastructure; design innovative solutions; select small-scale enterprises for public works; control of execution; surveying, mapping and identifying methods to achieve partial cost recovery and substainability of operations.

Bhutan has created a solid foundation for physical planning with the of an operational planning facility in the context of a UNCHS (Habitat) -assisted project (BHU/84/024) . A policy framework for the urban housing vector is currently under review while a rural housing improvement programme through artisan training and the construction of prototypes based on indigenous architecture is being advanced in each district. A special programme is also being implemented with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (BHU/87/004) to develop a cadre of skilled civil servants with its capability to plan, execute and evaluate all braining programmes.

Bolivia has undertaken an assessment of past and current programmes, projects and activities in the human settlements sector through a recent UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project (BOL/90/HSS). With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, a project was set up to build up the country's institutional and technical capacities in the housing sector (BOL/84/001). The project's proposal for strengthened planning and monitoring of sectoral capacity have been incorporated in the Executive Decree for Economic Reactivation, under which the National Housing Fund and the Social Housing Institute were created. It has also prepared the legal framework and methodologies and training activities for a new cadastral system and has produced the guidelines for the formulation of a national housing plan.

Refer to: 'Reforms pave the way for a new shelter policy" and "Improved land-registration systems in the Andean highlands

Botswana is implementing its national housing policy with gradual improvements to facilitate the involvement of nongovernmental actors. It has adopted the New Land Allocation Policy for Urban Areas to facilitate the availability of land to shorter developers. It has also investigated the existing practice in planning and design of plots, infrastructure standards and construction practices and has adopted a number of cost-saving design and construction standards.

Brazil is setting up a major revision of its National Housing Policy to set up a new national housing system capable of responding to the needs of all strata of society, with priority given to the needs of the poorest. The new national housing system will address the estimated housing deficit of 10 million units and will be fully integrated with national economic and social development plans. With a target of 4 million housing units for 19901995, about 30 per cent of the current deficit and accumulated demand in that period is expected to be met.

Brunei Darussalam has introduced various incentives in order to on courage people to build their own houses. Housing policies and strategies are currently being reviewed with special emphasis on promoting the involvement of the private sector and NGOs.

Bulgaria is undertaking a number of reforms for the introduction of a market economy in the housing sector. These include the sale of municipal rental housing, provision of loans for home purchase and lifting of restrictions on the price and exchange of individually-owned housing.

Burkina Faso In this country, the shelter policy has had two main lines of action: land reform to increase land supply and increase investments in housing, and construction of infrastructure by the public sector. Through a pilot project (BKF/87/010), UNCHS (Habitat) has supported the reinforcement of the institutional framework at the municipal level, assisted in the preparation of physical plans and provided training in improving urban management A now project has also boon launched with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance to improve urban management and the implementation of a shelter strategy based on the enabling approach of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (BKF/90/006).

Burundi is implementing a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project with emphasis on strengthening its institutional and technical capacity to orient the development of secondary cities (BDI/85/010). The country's national shelter strategy focuses on mobilizing finance for urban and rural shelter, supporting the private sector and strengthening the institutional framework for shelter, infrastructure and finance.

The Byelorussian SSR is encouraging cooperative housing societies to adopt free market practices. Individual licenses for land occupation are being granted, and new legislation is planned to introduce the concept of land price.

Cameroon has started to promote the creation of private land-development companies in order to increase the availability of house sites. A programme of decentralization is placing more responsibilities upon the municipalities for the development of sites-and-services programme. Standards for land development and infrastructure are being lowered in order to increase the number of sites available for occupation. Canada has undertaken several initiatives to broaden ac cess to affordable housing for all sectors of the population including the Accessibility and Choice Today (ACT) programme. The ACT programme permits municipalities, the building industry and the third sector to work in partnership to demonstrate how regulatory modifications can improve the affordability and choice of housing.

Cape Verde is undertaking a UNCHS (Habitat)-assisted project to improve access to basic infrastructure to three urban areas - with the bulk of construction activities for roads, drainage, water and electricity supply being undertaken through community participation.

Chile has increased the variety of housing solutions for low-income housing during 1990. The programme includes 19,000 basic houses, 15,000 houses for a special workers' housing scheme, 6000 rural houses and 3800 houses under settlement upgrading programmes. During 1991 an addition al 10,000 basic houses and 10,000 programme houses are planned.

Refer to: "Subsidies for those most in need"

China is increasing the scale of housing construction and is undertaking a variety of reforms to its housing policy, particularly in the legal and financial areas, in order to encourage private ownership of housing.

Colombia has formulated a Social Housing Programme to build 500,000 new houses in four years through reorganization of the shelter sector, decentralization, community participation, private-sector involvement and increased responsibilities for municipalities. With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (COL/89/006), it has implemented monitoring and assessment methods for the National Housing Policy and has designed manual and computerized procedures for administration of financial issues within the sector. The Land Credit Institute, renamed INURBE, will stop providing houses and will manage the subsidies from different sources. House construction will be taken over by the private sector and CBOs, acting together with local authorities.

Refer to: "New roles for old actors" and "Housing for the poorest - a study in co-operation in Aguablanca, Cali"

Congo has commenced the preparation of a national shelter strategy with UNCHS (Habitat) assistance (PRC/89/FO1). The first planned activity is a shelter needs assessment using the shelter sector performance indicators developed by UNCHS (Habitat) (Habitat). Then five studies are foreseen - dealing with institutions, housing finance, infrastructure, land and the building industry, with the objective of analyzing bottlenecks and providing guidelines for realistic improvements.

Costa Rica is implementing an ambitious housing programme as part of a new housing strategy. The UNCHS (Habitat)/FINNIDA Support Programme (COS/88/004) assists the Government in the consolidation of this strategy. The main focus is on institutional coordination and development of appropriate technologies and standards for upgrading deteriorated housing and construction of low-cost, self-help housing.

Refer to: 'Bamboo for shelter to protect the environment"

Cd'Ivoire undertook a human settlements sector analysis during 1990 which will be the basis for further work on, inter alia, the preparation of a national shelter strategy.

Cuba has prepared a programme for housing up to the year 2000, which, inter alia, includes repair and maintenance of existing housing stock by neigh bourhood groups, the increase of housing construction by the State and cooperatives, and promotion of self-help in housing by the provision of land, credit and building materials.

Czechoslovakia has undertaken reforms to encourage private construction and ownership of houses - which has resulted in an improved quantity and quality of housing, better standards of infrastructure and maintenance.

Denmark has taken action to integrate construction policy with the newly adopted strategy on energy entitled "Energy 2000, Plan of Action for Sustainable Development. "This plan states that energy needed to heat new buildings should be reduced by 25 per cent by 1993 and later by 50 per cent. Recently, building materials have been improved and adapted to the requirements of sustainability. By the year 2000, Denmark expects to increase the housing stock to a level that corresponds to the number of households.

Djibouti has, with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, prepared a comprehensive sectoral urban analysis and development programme for its short and medium terms. The completed studies include a report defining an efficient sectoral policy of urban development and housing; ena bling measures to be adopted by the Government; analysis of agencies envisaged to contribute in urban investment; analysis of the existing housing stock and the infrastructure; and an investment plan for 5 and 10 years.

Ecuador has recently initiated action towards formulating a national shelter strategy with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (ECU/89/003). The overall goal of the project is to create a self-sustaining system for the delivery of shelter and urban services to the poor. As a prelude to the formulation of a national shelter strategy, Ecuador has started to review the housing sector's operating norms as well as resource management within the relevant institutions.

Egypt is undertaking the following major actions to improve the housing situation: (a) provision of land suitable for construction outside arable zones by developing 12 new cities in the desert areas and building 10 residential agglomerations around Greater Cairo; (b) replacing dilapidated housing stock and building 1.5 million housing units under the five-year plan (1987-1992) with 60 per cent to be produced by the private sector and 40 per cent by the public sector; (c) provision of building materials and training of labour; (d) development of new low-cost housing models; (e) installation of wade-disposal and drainage systems to serve 70 per cent of the population by the year 2000; (f) amendment and modifications of housing legislation in harmony with market mechanisms

Equatorial Guinea As a first step to formulating a National Shelter Strategy, a sectoral study on human settlements was prepared with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (Habitat) in 1990. It showed that the country needed external technical assistance to improve the performance of the shelter sector, and more studies on housing finance and on rental housing.

Ethiopia In recognition of the crucial role played by building materials in the reduction of construction costs, UNCHS (Habitat) has recently started to extend technical assistance to Ethiopia in the development of low-cost building materials and technologies (ETH/87/004). The outputs of the project will include an inventory of imported building materials that can be locally produced, proposals for import-control mechanisms for building materials, standard designs for low-cost buildings and three types of demonstration houses.

Fiji has recently initiated action towards preparation of a national urbanization/housing policy with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (FIJ/89/001). Within the context of this project, a housing needs study has been completed and sectoral studies have been initiated in urban land markets, urban infrastructure, housing finance, municipal management and legislation.

Finland is implementing some fundamental reforms, including a complete overhaul of the financing system. The National Housing Fund, recently established, mobilizes resources from the commercial market, leaving budget funds to be used only for indirect subsidies. A system similar to a graduated mortgage payment has been adopted to increase affordability of loans in the first critical years. At the international level, Finland continues, in cooperation with UNCHS (Habitat), with support programme for preparing national shorter strategies (GLO/87/F02) and has provided support for the Global Strategy for Shelter subregional seminars (GLO/89/F15) and for the development of shelter indicators.

France is placing emphasis on, inter alia, the social equilibrium of cities through specific programmes in the fields of housing and urban development. Now legislative and regulatory measures are being developed in order to extract a contribution from the beneficiaries from land-value appreciation to be used towards urban development.

Gabon has drafted new shelter policies that call for the reduction of building and infrastructure costs, maximum cost recovery from beneficiaries, development of self-sustaining housing-finance systems and reorganization At the institutional framework.

The Gambia has prepared a national housing policy and is following up with a reorganization of the existing institutions in the shelter sector. It plans to set up a suitable housing finance system.

Germany has been continously improving its housing policies and programmes, increasing private-sector construction for ownership and rental, modernizing old stocks, executing urban renewal plans and liberalizing the general tenancy law. Measures taken to address the new housing needs, arising from the reunification and the influx of migrants from neighbouring countries, include: tax incentives for private investors in the form of increased depreciation rates; public subsidies, granted to investors in housing in return for limiting rent levels; and upgrading of existing housing.

Ghana is now reformulating its shelter policies. Emphasis will be on increased access to land, infrastructure and finance, reformulation of building standards, development of local building materials and strengthening of shelter institutions. In collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), K has started a project (GHA/87/023) to develop and evaluate policy options and to strengthen the operational capacity of housing-sector institutions. Ghana, along with other countries, is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of shelter-sector performance indicators (GLO/90/F08).

Grenada has commenced a programme of housing repairs and has formulated a series of recommendations for avoiding scattered settlements, reducing conflicts in land uses, developing sites close to existing settlements and reducing the space requirements of dwellings.

Guinea is strengthening the organizational, management and planning capacities of the economic sectors, including housing and urban develop" meet. This project (GUI/88/001) implemented in collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), includes an evaluation of the role of the shelter sector in overall economic development and the preparation of a national housing development strategy. A major programme to provide 1040 plots equipped with infrastructure and social facilities is being implemented with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance; the evaluation of this project is expected to assist the Government in the formulation of a national shelter strategy.

Guinea Bissau has undertaken a policy of encouraging the private sector through deregulation of the housing sector. The establishment of a housing bank is under consideration.

Hungary has been undertaking reforms gradually to transform the housing sector to a market economy. These include the sale of existing rental housing stock as well as newly-constructed housing. Hungary, along with other countries, is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of shelter sector performance indicators.

India's housing policy has been under review. Meanwhile a number of national-level initiatives have been undertaken. Special provisions to protect the tenurial security of women have been introduced. India's National Housing Bank, has opened a housing account for public-sector agencies and a land development and shelter programme for public agencies. A number of regional housing finance institutions have also been established. The Delhi Rent Control Act has been amended in order to promote investment in rental housing. The Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council has been set up at the national level in order to strengthen the technology transfer mechanism.

Refer to: "Homes for destitute widows in Madipur, New Delhi"

Indonesia The UNCHS (Habitat)/FINNIDA Support programme (INS/88/FO1) assists Indonesia in developing a shelter strategy for the Province of Central Java as a pilot exercise prior to the formulation of a national shelter strategy. A project (INS/89/014) on decentralized provision of essential urban infrastructure executed in collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), will develop sound infrastructure investment and management practices in at least 30 local governments, create guidance, monitoring and assistance capabilities in at least six provincial governments and train approximately 350 local and provincial government managers and staff. Indonesia is implementing $US135 million infrastructure project as part of the Integrated Urban Infrastructure Development Programme (IUIDP).

The Islamic Republic of lran is strengthening the research capabilities of the Building and Housing Research Centre in Tehran, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat). The project (IRA/89/020) is designed to support the Government's efforts to reconstruct war damaged areas and accelerate housing development, through institutional research in building materials and the introduction of new technologies from abroad.

Israel has established a special housing programme to provide shelter for immigrants, including both temporary and permanent housing. A revision of the Building and Planning Law was approved by the Knesset in 1990 to deregulate the housing sector and stimulate rapid construction. National policy measures are under review, including mortgage schemes, the promotion of rental options, increased access to building lands and the continuation of urban revitalization programmes.

Jamaica's National Shelter Strategy is being implemented in stages. Issues currently being addressed are the development of a facilitator role for the Government, upgrading squatter settlements, home improvement and the development of a Land Information System. In collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat), Jamaica has also undertaken a review of rent-control legislation to encourage rental housing production by the private sector (JAM/90/FO2).

Japan is addressing the land price problem as a matter of high priority and has taken the following measures: (a) adoption of the Basic Policy on Land at the end of 1990, to prevent the continuing rise in land prices; (b) implementation of policies to decrease land prices; and, (c) reforms in land taxation. Besides, the country continues a very tight financing policy against land speculation.

Jordan has prepared a national shelter strategy and developed the institutional framework for implementing the strategy. With UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance, it has also undertaken a demonstration project (JOR/84/F01) on low-cost sanitation technologies in rural settlements.

Refer to: "A national strategy to solve the shelter problem "

Kenya a national housing strategy for Kenya was prepared by a Government of Kenya task force with the assistance of UNCHS (Habitat). The document presented policy options which are being considered by the Government. With UNCHS (Habitat) assistance, Kenya is also implementing a project (KEN/80/020) that is designed to establish a community-based credit scheme for low-income families.

Kiribati has prepared a preliminary shelter strategy and a proposal for a comprehensive, long-term housing policy is under consideration.

The Lao People's Democratic Republic has recently initiated the formulation of a national shelter its successful experience with the construction of low-cost demostration houses using local building materials such as soil blocks, rice-husk-ash-cement and fibre-cement roofing tiles.

Lesotho has prepared a national shelter strategy as well as a national human settlements policy to develop a balanced national settlements structure, to improve the management of natural resources and to provide a framework for distributing capital investments to promote balanced regional growth. Within the context of a UNCHS (Habitat) assisted project (LES/86/003), a new set of building codes and regulations have been prepared and training courses have been organized for the staff of the newly-established Maseru Municipal Council in the capital city.

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has prepared the Draft National Physical Perspective Plan (1990-2010), set up a comprehensive urban information management system and a programme of evaluation and coordination of regional and master planning with UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (LIB/76/X72).

Madagascar's national shelter strategy, currently under formulation, sets up a financing system and real-estate agencies, drafts urban development codes, promotes small- and medium-sized building enterprises and redefines the responsibilities of the executing agencies.

Malawi's shelter strategy is focused on the Rural Housing Project under which small farmers receive loans in building materials to build step-by-step simple shelter units, popularly known as "houses that grow". (MLW/82/C03). A National Physical Development Plan and three district physical development plans have been prepared to provide a spatial framework for the coordination and implementation of sectoral programmes and development projects. The country is setting up a monitoring and evaluation system to cover the physical development plans.

Refer to: "A house that grows"

Malaysia is implementing a national housing policy based on strong financial institutions which support action by the state governments, local authorities and an active private sector, which allocates 30 per cent of all its housing development for low-cost housing. Developers achieve this through cross subsidization in projects and through benefits from a package of incentives. A Management In formation System for the Ministry of Lands and Regional Development has been set up with the support of UNCHS (Habitat), UNDP and the Government of Finland (MAL/87/007).

Maldives is approaching the problem of shelter provision through strategies such as integrated urban planning, growth centre planning and development, urban decentralization and model island development supported by UNCHS (Habitat) technical assistance (MDV/88/006). UNCHS (Habitat) is also assisting Maldives to develop a solid-waste management system that will replace current disposal practices that have had adverse environmental impacts (MDV/89/007).

Mali has decided to formulate a national shelter strategy which will improve coordination of public agencies, promote decentralization by transfering responsibilities to local authorities, increase land supply, encourage use of local building materials and support private-sector initiatives. UNCHS (Habitat) has assisted Mali to set up a research centre for the development of indigenous building materials (MLI/80/001). A Seminar on National Housing Policy was conducted in Bamako at the end of 1989 with UNCHS (Habitat) and UNDP support. As a follow-up, a project document (MLI/90/005) was prepared and approved by the Government and UNDP a year later.

Mauritania's national shelter policy has identified priority areas for implementation. These include urban planning and an increase in land supply for now settlements, scaling-up of housing-construction activity, supporting private-sector developers by streamlining purchasing and building permit procedures, promoting the use of local materials and mobilizing savings for shelter.

Mauritius has introduced a range of incentives to encourage construction and housing development companies to build for low- and middle-income households. These include a reduction of corporate tax, exemption of import duty on construction equipment and loan facilities from the Development Bank of Mauritius.. The National Housing Corporation has been privatized and will operate as a building society. The housing vector will obtain $US 23 million annually from the National Pension Fund during the period 1990-1993.

Mexico has increased the coverage of public shelter programmes for the poor through the creation of conditions for intensive cooperation between the public agencies, the private sector and the NGOs. The Government's capacity as a facilitator has been strengthened through improved coordination in the national housing system, modernization of the shelter finance system, updating of the production and distribution of building materials and increased land delivery. Other specific actions include the introduction of financial mechanisms for private-vector investment in rental housing, strengthening rural housing programmes, decentralization of administrative procedures and a national programme to support housing research.

Montserrat has carried out analyses of the housing demand and supply and identified specific bottlenecks in access to land and credit.

Morocco will formulate a national land policy based on the regional development plan, studied with the sup port of UNCHS (Habitat). its goals are to avoid further regional disparities and to encourage public participation in development (MOR/88/014). The country has developed new mechanisms to involve all actors: private-sector intervention has been liberalized through incentives and local governments are playing an in creasing role, while the public sector is responsible for the improvement of inadequate shelter and squatter settlements.

Mozambique has decided that housing should be given high priority in national development and is preparing a comprehensive national policy, with technical cooperation from UNCHS (Habitat) (MOZ/86/005) and the World Bank. Training for physical planners has been provided with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through project MOZ/86/026.

Myanmar has undertaken a human settlements sector analysis as the first step towards the formulation of a national human settlements policy and a national shelter strategy.

Namibia considers housing as one of the four priority areas of development. It has undertaken a preliminary study on shelter polices and strategies, and will prepare a national shelter strategy, with the sup port of UNCHS (Habitat).

Nepal has started to develop a national housing policy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (NEP/88/054), establishing, as a first step, a public/private Land Management Development Company. Several new land-development companies have been created, thanks to policies supportive of private developers. The Housing Development Finance Company has been set up to mobilize capital for long-term housing loans.

The Netherlands has reviewed its long-term housing policy and prepared strategies that will be implemented during the 1990s. A wide-ranging review will be made in 1995. The housing stock is expected to increase from 5.4 million in 1986 to more than 6 million in the year 2000. New initiatives include granting greater autonomy to municipalities and housing associations; targeting housing subsidies; a focus on special groups; a better turnover of housing; liberalization and deregulation in rent policies; encouraging home-ownership and improving the town as a residential environment.

Nicaragua is formulating a national shelter strategy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through projects NIC/87/F01 and NIC/89/019 - to support the ongoing decentralization process and to strengthen the regional and municipal authorities.

Niger is promoting the social-housing sector by increasing densities, giving incentives for housing investment, revising credit mechanisms to attract private savings, codifying tenant status, and encouraging public/private partnerships.

Nigeria has undertaken reviews in the housing sector with a view to selling rental housing to sitting tenants. It is also finalizing a new national housing policy based on greater participation and a strengthened institutional framework.

Norway published a White Paper setting out the framework for the housing policy to the year 2000. Among the goals of this policy are active use of subsidies or affordable housing loans for the poor, enhancing local-level initiatives in housing finance, meeting the needs of special groups and new legislation for protection of consumers in the housing market.

Oman has undertaken an assessment of the current shelter situation, including finance, subsidies, delivery systems and housing programmes, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through project OMA/87/025.

Refer to: "Towards a national shelter strategy"

Pakistan has made substantial progress in the formulation of a national housing policy. The provision of small short-term loans for home improvement or construction is the cornerstone of a number of successful shelter programmes for the poor. Studies of selling rental housing to sitting tenants are going on. A computerized urban database and a land use demand-and supply model have been set up to assist planners to focus allocations using varied policy assumptions. Detailed urban development plans have been prepared for secondary cities in Sindh Province, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (PAK/86/015).

Papua New Guinea is implementing a national integrated shelter development plan to develop customary land for housing in partnership with the traditional owners, to mobilize housing finance, to develop the building industry, and to improve human resources. A national body of NGOs has been formed to address a variety of problems in the shelter sector, including the rights of squatters.

The Philippines has formulated a regional shelter strategy with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) through projectPHI/88/F01/ which is now being implemented. Based on this, a national shelter strategy is being developed further reviewing and analysing the constraints in the housing-delivery system in three regions. The newly-introduced Community Mortgage Program enables poor families to meet requirements for housing loans by providing credits to the community which mortages the land as collateral. The Philippines is cooperating with UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank in the development and application of the shelter-sector performance indicators. Refer to "Land to the poor through loans for the community.

Poland is proceeding with the privatization of the rental housing sector, the establishment of liberal pricing in housing and limitation of subsidies, provision of credit for housing investment and more responsibilities for local authorities.

Portugal has taken a number of measures to improve housing delivery. These include greater support to the private and cooperative sectors which together produce 96 per cent of the total new housing; reforms to encourage the production of rental housing; and rehabilitation of old housing areas close to employment sources.

The Republic of Korea has adopted a programme of "permanent rental housing" to provide low-rent public rental housing to the bottom 10 per cent of the urban population.

Romania is proceeding with a range of transformations in the housing sector which include transferring resources and responsibilities to local authorities and the private sector, privatization of large sections of state-owned housing, simplifying the procedures for planning and building approvals and relaxation of the banking system in order to diversify credit availability.

Rwanda's new shelter strategies include: regional planning to achieve a more balanced urban structure; strengthening urban institutions based on local responsibility and cost recovery, increasing supply of land and basic infrastructure; and a system of savings for housing.

Sao Tome and Principe undertook an analysis of the housing sector; a national shelter strategy is to be prepared as a follow up action. Senegal has established a unit to promote cooperating housing and with the assistance of the Government of Germany, has embarked on a pilot project with five cooperatives.

Refer to: "Increasing urban housing and land supply in Senegal'

Seychelles has set a target of 500 now houses a year in its National Development Plan 19901994. It has placed emphasis on acquiring suitable land for the five-year programme. The private sector and NGOs will be encouraged to play an active role.

Sierra Leone has considerably improved the operation of the Housing Corporation, creating a Savings and Loans Bank with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (SIL/83/002), and has developed innovative lending techniques for low-income earners

Singapore has developed a computerized land-information database to support shelter policy formulation, with the technical assistance of UNCHS (Habitat) through project SIN/87/003.

Somalia has successfully established a materials production centre in which the training of women has been particularly successful for the upgrading of 200 rural housing units. This project is a model for a wider programme to be developed.

Refer to: "A new role for Somali women"

Sri Lanka has launched the One and Half Million Houses Programme, which demonstrates many aspects of the application of the enabling strategies. An extensive, country-wide programme of community groups and individuals building houses with basic assistance from public agencies, is under implementation. The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has developed new construction techniques to lower construction costs by promoting greater use of previously underublized building materials. The quality of traditional materials has also been improved.

Refer to: "A better life with improved infrastructure" and "Rural architecture is improved"

Swaziland has established a Human Settlements Authority to ensure the orderly development of future urban and rural settlements and establish a mechanism for ensuring the supply and maintenance of improved shelter and infrastructure.. It has also established a National Housing Authority.

Sweden has adopted a new housing system to increase access to housing by lower-income and other special groups. Other recent initiatives include the introduction of Regulations for New Construction, the implementation of the new Planning and Building Act and reorganization of state administration at the county level.

Thailand has successfully encouraged the formal private sector to undertake medium and low-cost housing. As a result, private housing developers are now producing some 70 per cent of all formal housing in Bangkok. The Government is also attempting to involve the private sector in the efficient provision of urban public services with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (THA/89/020). Thailand is establishing a national housing information system, to support the formulation and implementation of shelter and development plans.

Togo reviewed its shelter problems at a national workshop and has subsequently undertaken a sectoral study of human settlements. The formulation of a national shelter strategy is under consideration.

Trinidad and Tobago is promoting well-integrated and socially active settlements as one of its main requirements. The Government has established a Squatter Regularization Unit within the National Housing Authority and has commenced a programme to release State lands. Some 100 sites covering more than 3000 hectares will be developed, to yield 15,000 plots.

Tunisia has set up an Inter-Ministerial Commission to review the housing sector and to formulate a national shelter strategy, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (TUN/88/F03). It is also studying methods to reduce construction costs.

Turkey's National Housing Policy is based largely on the guidelines provided in the Global Strategy for Shelter, including: new schemes for land and shelter delivery, private-sector contribution for employee housing credits, training of technical personnel of the local communities and municipalities, and instruction for housing construction in disaster-prone areas.

Uganda is now formulating a viable national shelter strategy to enable the full participation of local authorities, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (UGA/88/F01). The Government has produced new building codes and regulations, following the recommendation of the Global Strategy for Shelter, and has set up a database on the shelter sector.

Refer to: "Masese women lead the way to shelter for the poor' and "Low-income settlements benefit as Uganda reconstructs"

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is planning major transformations in the construction sector, with improvements to the quality of prefabricated construction panels, production of local building materials such as bricks and cellular concrete, and the construction of more low-rise, energy-efficient buildings.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic issued a Presidential Decree in May 1990 setting out the major strategies for public and private investment in housing, the new qualitative parameters and the approach to legislation. During the period 1991-2000 it is planned to increase the existing housing stock by 50 per cent and the target is to provide an adequate house or flat for every family at an average rate of 18 square metres per person. A number of reforms required to transform the housing sector to a market economy have been initiated.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has made substantial progress in facilitating the of transfer of ownership of public housing to sitting tenants and has taken new financial and institutional initiatives to address the problem of the homeless. Partnership arrangements have been Ireland facilitated between local authorities and private investors, and private finance has increasingly participated in the subsidized rental sector, through new revised private/public funding mechanisms. The responsibility for providing new subsidized rental homes is gradually shifting from local authorities to independent housing associations.

The United Republic of Tanzania is placing emphasis on its sites-and-services and settlements-upgrading programmes. In cooperation with the Waste Foundation of the Nether lands, Tanzania has developed a manual plot-emptying technology (MAPET), in the un planned areas of Dar-es-Salaam. Private plot emptiers have been trained to operate the technology which consists of a handpump through which the sludge is pumped into a drum for disposal.

The United States of America has a twofold focus: a careful examination of policies for sheltering its low-income populations and their programmes for implementation; and increased efforts to work with the governments, private sectors and NGOs of developing countries to help improve their ability to serve the shelter needs of the poor. Recent policy initiatives lie at the heart of the Global Strategy for Shelter. They rely on the private sector to produce housing, with the government playing a facilitative role. The United States' experience has shown repeatedly that centralized, paternalistic and top-down programmes rarely work well. This is no less true in developing countries, where the United States supports limiting the role of government to the provision of loan and infrastructure, leaving housing finance and construction to the private sector.

Uruguay has strengthened the Sectoral Housing and Construction Commission -with support from UNCHS (Habitat) through project URU/88/F01 - towards the sustainable and balanced development of the housing and construction sector.

Vanuatu has reviewed its housing policies with emphasis on land markets, shakier finance and building regulations prior to major investments sector.

Venezuela enacted new legislation on housing policy, the objectives of which are to define the roles of the public and non-governmental actors in the shelter sector, coordinate and plan the production of shelter through national plans and policies, develop integrated shelter programmes and mobilize low-cost resources for shelter. The goal is to meet the shelter needs of 3 million families in 15 years.

Viet Nam is addressing specific issues in order to remove critical bottlenecks in shelter and services and is undertaking research and trial production of indigenous building materials. A new methodology for planning rural settlements is being developed with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (VIE/861020).

Yemen has undertaken a survey of local materials, set up the necessary building materials laboratory facilities and provided training to 40 engineers and technicians in quality control for wide use of local building materials, with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (YEM/88/009).

Refer to: "Better building materials to meet the shelter challenge" and "Post-earthquake reconstruction .

Zaire is implementing an infrastructure-and-services upgrading project, affecting three areas with a total population of 900,000, with the work being decided by the communities themselves and implemented by NGOs or small entrepreneurs under the supervision of the Government of Kinshasa and the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZAI/88/001 ).

Zambia has established the Zambia Housing Development Fund with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZAM/80/003) to address the specific problems associated with shelter delivery to low- and middle-income groups. The operations of the Zambia National Building Society have been improved and coordinated with those of ZHDF.

Zimbabwe is preparing shelter strategies in four typical provinces and several local authority areas prior to launching a national-level exercise with the support of UNCHS (Habitat) (ZIM/89/FO2). Simultaneously, studies have been initiated on the promotion of low-cost building materials and provision of affordable infrastructure solutions for the poor. More than 75 officers have undergone training in shelter strategies in three workshops conducted in the provinces. Zimbabwe carried out a pilot project in the application of shelter-sector performance indicators and is extending this exercise to a wider area.

Refer to: "Housing becomes a priority in independent Zimbabwe"


Country statistics

Population; Estimated population by the year 2000; Average population density; Average rate of population growth; Urban population and Population of cities all from World population prospects, 1988, United Nations DIESA, Population Division and Demographic Yearbook Statistical Office.

Area from FAO Production Yearbook 1988.

G.N.P per capita from The World Bank Atlas 1989.

Selected references for case histories

General reference: United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), The Global Shelter Strategy to the Year 2000 (Nairobi, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat),1990).


Pennant, T., "Malawi", in The Africa Review (Saffron Waldon, The World of Information, 1989), pp 143-146.

Rural Housing Project, "Better houses for Malawi's rural poor", (Lilongwe, Malawi, Department of Housing and Physical Planning).

The Third World Guide (Montevideo/Rio de Janeiro/Lisbon, Third World Publishers, 1990).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "Rural housing programme, Malawi", in Project Monograph (Nairobi, 1988).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Project Information Report 1989.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Selected Shelter Projects.


Encyclopedia Britannica.

"Senegal", in The Africa Review (Saffron Waldon, The World of Information, 1989), pp. 171-174.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Project Information Report, 1989.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Seminar on the Global Strategy for Shelter for Francophone African Countries, Ouagadougou 1990.


Hilsum. L., "Somalia", in The Africa Review, (Saffron Waldon, UK, The World of Information, 1989), pp. 181 -1 83.

Sabri, F. A., "Women community leaders in Merca", a brief report.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Project Information Report 1989.


African Housing Fund, a progress report. (Masese, July/December 1989).

African Housing Fund, a progress report. (Masese, January/September 1990).

Chania, T. S., "Namuwongo upgrading and low-cost housing project, Kampala, Uganda" (Communication to United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), 1990).


Amos, F. J. C., "Proposals for the training of planners in Zimbabwe" (Institute of Local Government Studies, commissioned by United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)).

Ministry of Public Construction and National Housing, "Housing the poor: an experience in low-cost housing provision in Zimbabwe", The Third International Shelter Conference, Washington D. C., 1990.

Mutizwa-Mangiza, N. D., "Financing urban shelter development in Zimbabwe, a review of existing institutions, problems and prospects" (Nairobi, 1989).

United Nations Development Programme/Government of Zimbabwe, "A national, spatial and physical plan., technical report (Development Planning Unit, 1986).

Wakeham, S., Technical report to the Ministry of Public Construction and National Housing, Zimbabwe, on a national housing upgrading policy and pilot upgrading project.


Fischer, W. B., "Jordan: physical and social geography", in The Middle East and North Africa (36th edition), (London, Europa Publications, 1990), pp. 537-566.

Jansen, G. H., "Jordan", in The Middle East Review, (Saffron Waldon, The World of Information, 1988), pp 105-111.

Kay, S., "The Bedouin", in This Changing World (New York, Crane, Russell & Co., London, David & Charles, 1978).

"The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan", in Technical Assistance for Developing the Shelter Unitand Preparing a National Housing Strategy, (Ministry of Planning Inception Report, April 1986).

The Shelter Unit with assistance from Padco Inc., The Urban Institute, U.S.L. International, "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ", in Technical Memorandum No. 22, Draft final report, Executive summary (July 1987).


Ministry of Housing, Sultanate of Oman, "Final report on Assistance" (1987).

Whittingham, K., "Oman", in The Middle East Review (Saffron Waldon, The World of Information, 1937), pp 143-149.


Owen, T., "Yemen Arab Republic and Yemen People's Democratic Republic", in The Middle East Review (Saffron Waldon, UK, The World of information, 1988), pp 221-231.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "Post-earthquake reconstruction in Dhawran Region, Yemen Arab Republic",

United Nations Centre for Human settlements (Habitat), "Human settlements and national disasters", Project document (1989).

United Nations Centre for Human settlements (Habitat), "Yemen - building materials", Terminal report (1 988)

United Nations Centre for Human settlements (Habitat), "Yemen - North-west Dhawran post-earthquake rural housing reconstruction" (1989).


United Nations Centre for Human settlements (Habitat), International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, "Breakthrough in Bangladesh. A professor helps to house the poor", in Information Pack, World Habitat Day, 1990.

United Nations Centre for Human settlements (Habitat), International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, "Group-based savings and credit for the rural poor: Grameen Bank, Bangladesh", International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, information programme on the role of non-governmental organizations and community-based groups active in human settlements projects in Asia.


Jonglekar, M. N., "Multi-institutional coordination in facilitating the shelter provision - a case study of IYSH national site and shelter demonstration project at Madipur, New Delhi" (New Delhi).

Munjee, N. M., Gupta D., Mehta D., and V. Hutheesing, ''The evolving structure of housing finance", India case study, The Third International Shelter Conference, Washington D. C., 1990.


United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Selected Shelter Projects with Innovative Features (Nairobi), p. 73.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), National Human Settlements Institutional Arrangements, Selected Case Studies, (1987).

Sri Lanka

Brava, R., and C. Clarke, "Reaching the village", (National Housing Development Association and M17 research project).

Pickett M., "The formulation and implementation of housing policy in Sri Lanka: the origin and implications of the "Million Houses Project"" (Sectorial activities working papers).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "Shelter for low-income communities: Sri Lanka demonstration project" (case study, Part I) .

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "Supporting community-based housing: Sri Lanka demonstration project", (case history, Part II).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "A study of housing finance in Sri Lanka with particular reference to Government's million households programme".


Angel, S., and Y. K. Sheng, "The Sengki land-sharing project: a preliminary evaluation" (UNCHS (Habitat), 1 988).

"Housing markets of Bangkok: strategies for public sector participation".

National Housing Authority: Asian Development Bank, The Bangkok land management study" (Planning and Development Collaborative International).

Tanphiphat S., and P. Simapichaicheth, "Private sector housing production at scale: land, finance and development", The Third International Shelter Conference, (Washington, D.C., 1990).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Demonstration of Land-sharing Strategy, Selected Shelter Projects (1989), p 201 .


"Bolivia", in The Third World Guide (Montevideo/Rio de Janeiro/Lisbon, Third World Publishers, 1989/90), pp 189-192.

Knight, P., "Bolivia", in The Latin America and Caribbean Review (Saffron Waldon, World of Information, 1 989).

"Reorienting housing policy: would the private sector respond?", Bolivia case study, The Third International Shelter Conference, Washington, D.C., 1990.


Viel, V. D., "Chile - the housing finance system and participants of the housing market", Chile cave study, The Third International Shelter Conference, Washington, D.C., 1990.


United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Selected Shelter Projects.

Departamento Nacional de Planeaci"Programa de vivienda social", Documento DNP2.484-UDU, (Bogota, 1990).

G-Villa, O., "Politicas de vivienda en Colombia: 1972-1989" (Nairobi United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)) (unedited).

G-Villa, O., and Inde Brill, Politicas de Vivienda en Bogota: 1990-1992, (Bogota, Cra de Comercio, 1990).

"Manual de gestie proyectos de asentamientos humanos" (Bogota Consejeria pare el Desarrollo Social de la Presidencia do la Repa.).

Rosas, L. E., "Financing housing under inflation: the Colombian case", Colombian case study, The Third International Shelter Conference, Washington, D.C., 1990.

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Mobilization of Financial Resources for Low-income Groups (Nairobi, 1989).

Costa Rica

"Costa Rica", in The Third World Guide, Facts/Figures/Opinions, (Montevideo/Rio de Janeiro/Lisbon, Third World Publishers, 1989/90).

Espindola, R., "Costa Rica", in The Americas, (Saffron Waldon, World of Information, 1990).

Espindola, R., "Costa Rica" in The Latin American and Caribbean Review, (Saffron Waldon, World of Information, 1990).

Janssen, J. J. A., "Bamboo housing in Costa Rica, Report No. 4", (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, "Bamboo housing in Costa Rica, Report No. 6", (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven).

Sojo A., "Social policies in Costa Rica", Cepal Review, No. 38.

The World Bank, "Costa Rica", in Country Economic Memorandum (1988).

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), "Aprovechamiento del bambla construccie viviendas de intersocial", Project Information Report (1989), p. 105.

Technical Cooperation Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (Nairobi, 1989).