Housing in Developing and Rapidly Urbanising Countries

The discussion in this chapter, and the examples given, mainly relate to the mature industrial and post-industrial countries of Europe, North America and Australasia, although there have been some references to countries in transition from socialism and some ‘southern European’ countries where the transition to developed urban status is perhaps less complete. We are acutely conscious that some of the greatest challenges for housing in the world today are faced in low- and middle-income countries which are often experiencing very rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, whether in Latin America, Asia or Africa. We believe that some of the principles and approaches to planning and managing housing development discussed in this book are relevant to many of these cases as well, but it is beyond our scope and resources to cover these in terms of detailed case studies. It is also clear that, particularly in the lower-income rapidly urbanising countries, there is a major phenomenon of informal housing which does not exist on a significant scale in the countries featured in detail in this volume. Traditional European approaches entailing large scale direct state provision of social housing do not have much traction in many of these cases, whilst equally planning regulation typically does not impact much either. Key challenges are often around provision of basic sanitary infrastructure, land rights and titling, displacement through development and the engagement and empowerment of poorer communities in processes affecting them. In this book, we do not attempt to provide a general account of or prescription for such situations, common though they are.

However, in some of the country case study chapters we do recognise legacies from past informal development and attempts to manage it, and offer some reflections on how lessons about policies get transferred, adopted or adapted in countries currently experiencing major urbanisation or urban upgrading.

 
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