Unit 6: City Solutions:
A Healthy Urban Future
Housing Enablers: Shelter
A report released by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) suggests that one way to improve housing problems is to depend less on the government to build and carry out housing schemes. Instead, government should become an enabler, helping private citizens construct and improve their own facilities. The Community Contracts System developed by the National Housing Development Authority in Sri Lanka is an example of an enlightened governmental approach to squatter settlement upgrading that not only generates improved housing and infrastructure but creates economic opportunities for the residents as well.
Through Community Contracts, residents construct their neighbourhood's physical infrastructure. They build footpaths, drains, wells, toilets and other basic necessities, transforming slums into well-maintained communities. Maintenance and repair is better and easier because the people who do the work also reap the benefits. The Habitat report concludes that the role of government must change in the urban environment if the needs of the population, especially its poorest members, are to be met.
Neither the government nor the private sector on their own are capable of managing our cities, says Dr. Wally N'Dow, head of Habitat.
Clearly, both are necessary.
(Extracted and adapted from: Backgrounder 2, published by the UN Department of Public Information)
SEE ALSO ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH, WASTE DISPOSAL, URBAN
VIOLENCE AND SAFETY, AND WOMEN AND COMMUNITY-BUILDING
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