‘Pro-Poor Housing Policies: Rethinking the potential of assisted self-help housing’

In developing countries, the prime actors in the shelter delivery processes are the households themselves. Massive numbers of people practice incremental self-help housing because other options are out of their reach. Official strategies to support the self-help efforts of the poor have developed since the 1970s through small-scale sites-and-services schemes combined with some form of assistance for self-builders. In many developing countries, the main housing practice has been through self-help, strongly propelled by massive rural to urban migration. Since the 1980s, international research and policy agendas focused more and more on a broadened habitat approach and attention for self-managed house construction gradually declined. Yet, self-help housing is still a widespread phenomenon, although mostly unattended or even ignored by governments. This paper stresses the importance of self-help housing and makes a plea for a revaluation of ‘assisted self-help’ as part of national and local housing policies. In view of the urgency of the urban housing question, new pro-poor housing policies are to be developed that actively support self-build initiatives. Assisted self-help housing has to be put central on the urban development agenda. (abstract) Continue reading

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