Housing clusters for densification within an upgrading strategy : the case of Kampala, Uganda

Abstract: The process of urbanisation in the urban centres of most sub-Saharan African countries has been brought about by numerous factors including rural to urban migration, natural increase in population, and in-migration. In Uganda due to these factors the capital city Kampala is growing rapidly.The present research examines past and present urban planning and housing trends in Uganda. The theoretical framework for housing at appropriate residential densities, good spatial qualities and usage, and the role of planning is analysed. Appropriate houses and house types are discussed and recommendations given about housing design and housing policy.In Kampala planned housing has not been able to accommodate the growing urban population, since it is small in number or simply unaffordable. The low-income households can neither afford to build their houses in the   "permanent" materials recommended by the building regulations, nor can they afford to seek professional guidance to help them to plan there houses and sites favourably.Most of houses for the low-income households have been self-constructed. These are usually detached one-storey houses which have contributed to low densities. Even though a few documents have mentioned the problem of urban sprawl, low-density housing and inappropriate houses in the informal settlements, building professionals have not come up with appropriate house types that can help solve these problems. Most   "low-cost" housing design proposals developed in the past are merely smaller prototypes of higher income housing designs.New land is encroached upon at a fast rate because of the fact that residential development is basically horizontal. The sprawling nature of the predominantly horizontal development of housing leads to longer distances to job opportunities and is expensive due to increased lengths of services and infrastructure. This can be otherwise avoided by building at higher residential densities. The low-income households have been badly hit by this situation since the medium- and high-income households can provide for themselves some of the basic services and infrastructure.If urban sprawl is to be checked new house types which increase residential densities but maintain good spatial qualities within the housing clusters need to be developed. These new house types should consider the existing patterns of relationship and identification for different groups of households.The author‘s Licentiate thesis aimed at identifying different house types within the informal settlements of Kampala. The different house types that were identified have been the foundation from which new housing proposals are developed in the present thesis. This thesis deepens the analysis of factors behind urban sprawl and develops new cluster types to be implemented within the framework of upgrading with an enabling strategy.This research aims at developing new house types that can be appropriate for low-income households. These are house types that can reflect both poor people‘s present-day needs and political realism. The thesis shows that house types can reduce infrastructure and transport costs, at the same time as preventing encroachment on agricultural land.

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