Informal Consultations
Committee of the Whole
Thematic Committee
Parallel Events
Parallel Event


Reforming Housing Regulations to Reduce Poverty.

The Launch is being organized by ITDG, Saad Yayah & Associates; DFID and UNCHS, on 8 June 2001 (Tentative). The Executive Director is doing the FORWARD to the Book and has consented to make the Keynote statement. The proposed programme is the following:

Prof. Peter Oberlander, Centre for Human Settlements (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Prof. Patrick Wakeley, DPU, University College, London
1. Welcome Address - Mr. Michael Mutter, DFID, Urban Programmes Alternate - Director General, ITDG
2. Keynote Statement - UNCHS Executive Director
3. Statement by one of the Authors
4. Closing Remarks - World Bank or UNDP Representative
5. Cocktails (provisional)


For the majority of urban poor in developing countries, European standards for housing and infrastructure are inappropriate and unaffordable. But what is the alternative? This was the issue addressed by an international research project within ITDG's Shelter Programme, of which this book is the major output. Since the majority of urban residents in developing countries currently live in unplanned and illegal settlements, there is obviously a need for a new-paradigm, abandoning the colonial inheritance and using a much more flexible approach. Standards need to be revised continuously to accommodate changes in circumstances and technology development. The best source of inspiration for these changes is what is happening on the ground in low-income settlements. A greater participation by the poor in regulating the quality of their built environment, using methods such as community action planning is clearly required. Regulation is not superfluous because it does provide the poor with the security needed to build a livelihood, and it guarantees a minimum of health and safety to the community as a whole. But it should not become an insurmountable threshold; simplicity and flexibility are key factors in making legal housing more accessible to the poor.

This book provides development workers, planners and decision makers with information and advice on the revision of housing standards at the national, local or project level. The current housing standards in most developing countries are inappropriate to the needs of the poor is well documented. And international as well as national housing policies and strategies, including the Habitat Agenda, increasingly argue for their revision. However, there is little accessible information on how this can be done successfully and what various projects and countries have learned from doing so. This book aims to fill that gap and promote the practical implementation of one of the key elements of the Habitat Agenda- affordable shelter for all.


2001 UNCHS