|Roles, Responsibilities and Capabilities for the Management of Human Settlements - Recent Trends and Future Prospects (HABITAT, 1990, 70 p.)|
|I. ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND CAPACITIES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: RECENT TRENDS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS|
In the developed market-economy countries, changes in the balance of responsibilities between the public, private and community sectors have been associated with corresponding changes in economic conditions and shifts in governmental policies. In general, this has resulted in recent prominence for the non-governmental sectors. In nearly all countries, policy shifts have given emphasis to experiments with new forms of partnership and co-operation between the public and private sectors. Local governments have been allowed and, often, encouraged to turn over housing and service provision to commercial market operations, and private enterprise has been deregulated. Planning and development controls have been reduced or made flexible: negotiation has been introduced in many instances. Experience has highlighted the advantages of decentralization and local participation in housing and services provision, and non-governmental voluntary bodies have not only been recognized but been encouraged and assisted to take responsibility for components of the development, operation and maintenance of human settlements.
In some countries among those with centrally-planned economies, refashioning of the roles of organizations involved in settlements only began in the early 1980s. Formerly, the planning and financing of settlement development were the responsibility of central government bodies. However, in some instances even in the early 1970s, the community sector was given a role in housing: later, the importance of local government, supported by locally raised resources, was much enhanced. There was also a considerable increase in co-operation between central government, co-operatives and local councils in the joint development of infrastructure and the provision of services. Voluntary work, supported by local authorities, has also become important. Until the 1970s, the private-sector role in most countries was small, but it is becoming prominent in housing and, even, in the supply of water and gas. The most common form of private involvement is in joint ventures, for example, with co-operatives for housing. On the eve of the 1990s, the pace of change has quickened dramatically.
The developing countries, since the mid-1970s, have been subject to a variety of pressures on their financial and organizational capacities. The often-reluctant response has been to open up the field of human settlements provision and maintenance to non-governmental organizations and enterprises. Particularly amongst low-income groups, this has given an opportunity for growth and consolidation of non-governmental and community-based organizations. Thus, to a varying degree, it is becoming accepted that the public sector cannot and should not attempt to take a monopolist position in meeting the needs and satisfying the aspirations of the whole population. Acceptance, if not recognition and support, is increasingly being given to the spontaneous and, often, unregulated investment of energy and resources by the formal and, particularly, informal branches of the private commercial sector in the development of shelter and the delivery of services. The local community sector is increasingly being supported by international non-governmental organizations, with the approval of governments.
These shifts of emphasis have been given international recognition in the policies pioneered by the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements, in the form of the enabling strategy which is a prominent feature of both the New Agenda for Human Settlements (1986) and the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (1987). International aid agencies are also beginning to respond to the changing needs in this area.