Organized self-help housing as an enabling shelter & development strategy. Lessons from current practice, institutional approaches and projects in developing countries
Abstract: The aim of this study is to develop better understanding on organized self-help housing as an enabling shelter and development strategy to overcome poverty and build more resilient communities. The study addresses organized self-help housing from three different perspectives: a) current practice in developing countries; b) institutional approaches; and, c) the organized self-help housing process. Firstly, the current practice has been established through studying the state of the arts of OSHH after year 2000 in developing countries implementing an international survey (See Paper 1). Secondly, different institutional approaches have been identified; and the NGOs FUPROVI and SADEL, which worked in Costa Rica and Tunisia respectively, have been selected as case studies (See Paper 2). Thirdly, at the project level, the thesis argues the importance of dweller-control over the OSHH process through analyzing the case study Hogar de Nazareth in Guayaquil, Ecuador (See Paper 3). The research strategy follows a critical social science research paradigm; and case study methodology was implemented due to the multi-layered nature of reality of this research paradigm. Results show that the tendency of the post-millennium OSHH projects is planning medium-rise buildings up to four or five storeys for in-situ slum upgrading,relocation, reconstruction or new housing projects. OSHH projects should consider that the settlement might increase its density up to five times in a 35-year lifetime,as was the case in some sites-and-services. The study has identified different institutional approaches to organized self-help housing: a) people-centred OSHH; b) mixed-model OSHH; c) co-operativist OSHH; d)volunteer-assisted OSHH; and, e) community-empowered OSHH. As an enabling shelter and development strategy, organized self-help housing contributes to improving ‘the spatial’; and ‘the social’. High degree of dweller-control over the OSHH process is key for enhancing the capabilities of the deprived. Due to mastering the OSHH process, the poor enhance their individual capabilities for planning, decision-making and self-management; and develop collective attributes such as spatial agency, collective efficacy and empowerment. CBOs with the support of NGOs, the academia, mutual-help housing cooperatives and governmental agencies can remove unfreedoms for slum dwellers to access adequate housing. Political will and the shift to a ‘housing as a process’paradigm will lead to planning paradigms that could address better the shelter needs of the poor. From a capability approach perspective, organized self-help housing has the potential to strengthen and empower communities. Therefore,building ‘the spatial’ whilst building ‘the social’ are essential for shifting to more ‘just cities’ in the South.
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