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• Social economic factors influencing housing affordability – equity in housing development sites
and services/-slum upgradation community participation – Rajiv Awas Yojana Crime prevention,
Health principles in Housing.

Social Factors
Man is essentially a social animal. Man has differentiated himself into various groups and communities based upon
various aspects like origin, faith, beliefs and practices etc, and one finds that with passage of time these communities
develops a rich and distinctive lifestyle and characteristic of themselves.

They have their own peculiar way of living, may that be their celebrations, day-to-day activities, culture, traditions or
customs. Building is result of interaction of man and his nature, aspiration, social organizations, worldviews, way of life,
social and physiological needs, individual needs and group needs.

However, today in our culture, “traditions" – which are the regulators – have started disappearing for various reasons and
house is a direct expression of changing values, images, perceptions, and way of life .

A community evolves from the act of living to share a common culture and share a common collective image of life.
Every community has something very special and unique about themselves, which cannot be found within other
The differences between the types of buildings in different area are result of differences in culture, rituals, ways of life, social
organization, climates, and materials and technology available, while the similarities are the evidence not only of areas where
some or all of these factors have coincided, but also of some basic constancies in man’s needs and desires.
The following are those

Territory refers to the sense of ownership,where a person or community is able to clearly identify and exercise control over
a certain space. This gives a sense of belonging and a sense of security/safety that will help in performing day to day activities

Safety is probably the primary reason for man wanting shelter. Saftey is the absence or control of disease and hazards

Access Is the ability of reaching different requirements that meet the needs of people and the quantity and diversity of
them. Access and communication are the central assets of any development.

Control is the degree to which space is controlled by people who use it. There are different rights for people at different
places for example a public place can be used by anybody but nobody can obstruct another from using it where as a in a
private space it is possible. Defining the boundaries of spaces(Territory) is very important to exercise control.

Another social factor that affects housing design but constantly keeps changing is Trend.

Trend is something that prevails for a short span of time and has an immediate effect.
For example the societal pressure of owning a house is the main factor driving the housing market over last 5 to 10
years which was not so much of a factor before turn of the century.
Economic Factors
Housing has been the only industry in recent times which has not only withstood the recessionary pressures, but has also
shown a consistent and healthy growth and if the future is to be interpreted in light of the macro picture, the best is yet to

Housing and GDP (Gross Domestic Products) are interlinked and contribute to each others’ growth. It is, therefore, no
wonder that ‘Housing for All’ is invariably proclaimed as a national priority by all major political parties and adopted as a goal
by the Government of India in the National Housing and Habitat Policy document.

Integrated housing development not only satisfy the basic human needs but also facilitates holistic development within the
parameters of a planned welfare economy.

Safe, secure and affordable housing by any means increases employment and educational opportunities for individuals and
enriches communities leading to a better civil society and better quality of life.

Besides the direct contribution which housing makes to GDP it increases social capital which is intelligible wealth that comes
with good social network at the heart of which lies clean environment, hygienic living and quality housing.
The following economic factors affect housing market and design

Affordability: Housing affordability, viewed as a mismatch between households ability/willingness to pay and the present
market process is identified as a major constraint for market based approach for housing

Housing finance: The reach of formal housing finance institutions is limited and generally is not accessible to the poor.
Moreover rate of interest at which finance is being offered plays a significant role in design of housing community.

Technology and material costs: Ever rising price of conventional building materials affects housing market. However with
advent of alternate/low cost building materials and technological innovation the strain has reduced slightly but there is still a
long way to go before these materials are used regularly /effectively as conventional building materials.

Constraints of Land: Demand for land and the subsequent increase in price of land has affected affordability.

Unemployment and Poverty: Poverty and unemployment are major deterrents to development and are important reasons for
formation of slums which affect housing development in many ways.
Example: If one views the current trend in the housing market, in Chennai,Two bed room apartments which fall within in the
35- 40 lakhs price range are being sold more than any other type. The reason being increase in interest rate which affects
affordability, the design of apartments is affected majorly by a social belief system i.e vasthu.

• A slum is a compact settlement of at least 20 households,

with a collection of poorly built tenements,
mostly of temporary nature,
crowded together with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions.

• Majority of the developed countries, developing countries and less developed countries are facing this problem of
slums and there is no remedy to eradicate the same from the surface of the earth. Slums are universal in character and
no country is able to get rid of them.

• Unplanned urbanization with its attendant evils of solving the fundamental purpose of human society- a secure,
rewarding and happy life- is no doubt a matter of great concern.

• Infrastructure facilities like housing, safe drinking water supply, transport, health care, educational institutions for
children, parks, etc,. have become woefully inadequate and will soon reach a critical stage threatening the civilized
existence itself.
• The overcrowding population, poverty, ignorance, diseases, mal nutrition, etc, must be eliminated and
the society should seek improvement of living standards and quality of life of the people.

• Rapid urbanization while paving the way for prosperity has also been responsible for creation of slums, degeneration
of human society and it is the base for its enhancing character.

• In the western countries the problem of housing and slums came to the forefront after the Industrial Revolution.

• In United Kingdom the rapid establishment of Industrial units and simultaneously mechanization of
agricultural sector, there was a sudden influx from the rural to urban areas. This had resulted in massive level of
migration from the rural to urban areas and earning more income than the previous one at their native places.

• Once the income earning member reaches to the centers of developed area automatically his relatives move towards
the urban centers not only for income earning through working in employment sectors or in informal sectors but also
learning latest development of technology.
• In the present day world especially in developing countries, the growth of slums is usually parallel to the growth of
urbanization. In India is no exception to urbanization.

• In India, one important reason for the migration of the rural population to the metropolitan
cities, apart from the fact that urban areas offer better job opportunities appears to be that the development of
rural areas has lagged far behind, with the result that the rural population is attracted to the
amenities and entertainment facilities which are available in the cities.
• Housing has, without exception, failed to keep pace with staggering rate of migration in to the cities and inevitable result
has been unplanned growth of the cities and the consequent growth of slums
Factors Responsible for Creation of Slums

Various factors influence the creation of slums in most of the developing countries of the world.

Some of the major contributory factors responsible for the growth of slums especially in Chennai during the early periods
can be summarized as follows;

1. In the early phase of industrialization, there is large-scale migration to the cities due to employment
opportunities and other community facilities and advantages offered by the city, which are absent in
majority of the rural areas of developed countries of the world.

2. The poverty which means an income level which is inadequate to maintain a decent standards of
living as judged by the standards of the society and low paying capacity of the migrants, force them to find refuge either in
low rental areas or to squat on the unused land located near their work places.

3. There is a housing shortage in urban areas due to low level of income among the economically
weaker sections of the society, underprivileged sections of the society, etc,.

4. Proximity of their houses, close to the source of employment for economic reasons especially due
to the low level of transportation cost.
5. Due to the high and fast growth of migration especially from all rural areas of Indian territory to the urban centers mainly
searching for livelihood, there
is great strain on the existing transport system and there is absence
of cheap and rapid transport, existing roads are not good for smooth transportation as per the
latest scientific development of the mechanized vehicles to the work place.

6. There is often absence of comprehensive development planning and

if it is there,
it may not have taken in to consideration the existing socio economic conditions and
requirements of the ever growing population belonging to the economically, politically weaker sections of
the society.

7. There is always inadequate and insufficient municipal civic amenities which increase to the
problems of the slum squatters and cause many other problems. In addition to the above mentioned the available municipal
civic facilities are not properly maintained and not functioning at the appropriate time.

8. The high rents accompanied by the even high rates of advance (premium required to be paid to secure
possession) in Chennai, have encouraged occupiers or owners even of average dwelling unit to part with portion of their
buildings. These sub divisions of small dwelling units have further added to overcrowding and congestion.
Characteristics of Slums
On the basis of observation from slums, we can outline its major characteristics, which are given below:

1.Appearance: This may be called a universal mark of the slum; its aspect of neglect and disorder with respect to
building, yards and streets. The appearance is generally
one of dilapidated and
old structures and
a declining trend in respect of amenities.

2.Economic Status: Generally, the people of the lowest income group inhabit a slum; although there may be
occasional buildings of equally run down appearance inhabited by families that are not so poor. However, in general, poor
people inhabit the slum.

3.Over-crowding: We may find that the cluster is over crowded. Most of the buildings / tenements are crowded
with the people.

If the slum is retreating many buildings are unsafe for habitation, but there can be overcrowding in the building
Uninhabited spaces are occupied by undesirable occupants and use it as junkyards.
4.Population: In a slum of a heterogeneous occupancy many of the inhabitants are not welcome in other
residential areas, or they cannot afford to live elsewhere.

5.Health and Sanitation: For understandable reasons when compared with other area of residence, the slum is
characterized by low standards of sanitation. The slum is often most neglected by the public services for
sanitation. For variety of reasons it may also be an area of high sickness and death rates.

6.Morals: The slums may be an area of delinquency, crime but this is more likely to be true of the socially disorganized
slum. While such a slum may not be the habitat of successful criminals, it may be the habitat of marginal types or the
hiding place of fugitive criminals.

7.Way of Life: Slums differ widely with respect to the social organization of their inhabitants. They range from the
slums in which the inhabitants are strangers to one another and wish to be, to the family slum in which there is wide
acquaintance between inhabitants.

8.Social Isolation: Every residential area within the modern city tends to be socially isolated from others, partly by choice
and partly by location, the slum is especially so. It is the area of lowest status inhabited by slum

Rapid growth of urban areas in most developing countries in the last few decades has led to shortfall in many
sectors, primarily housing.

The problem has been two-fold:

on one hand, the

majority of the people moving to the urban areas have lacked the necessary asset
and financial holdings in order to acquire a "decent" house.

On the other hand, the designated government agencies and bodies have not provided sufficient
housing units which are affordable for the poor majority in urban areas. The proliferation of slums and squatter settlements
has been a result of this scenario.

But a growing understanding of the dynamics involved in the development and expansion of squatter settlements has led to a
number of innovative housing schemes in various developing countries to solve the "dilemma“ of housing. Particularly
with the intention of improving the environmental quality of squatter settlements and provide it
with the basic necessary infrastructure, one such innovative schemes which has received wide acknowledgement
and following has been "sites-and-services" schemes.
The realization that providing a "complete" serviced house by government agencies is not
possible or simply cannot be afforded by most low-income families prompted a shift in focus from
supplying a fully serviced house to that of providing only serviced land. The key characteristic of the approach the use of
the beneficiaries' "sweat equity" and other internal resources (community, financial and so on) in the actual
construction and development of the houses.

Sites-and-services schemes became the byword for solving the problem of squatter
settlements. Squatter settlements were and has always been considered illegal and in order to relocate and
rehabilitate the squatters (as a function of "slum clearance"), plots of land (or sites) with infrastructure on it (or services)
were provided, and the beneficiaries had to, in most of the projects, build their own houses on such land.

There are a wide variety of sites-and-services schemes, ranging from the subdivided plot only to a serviced plot of land
with a "core" house built on it.

The genesis behind Sites-and-services schemes is not new: low-income people have always been housing
themselves, "illegally", in most urban areas of the developing world. The key departure from earlier housing
schemes, like low-cost housing or subsidized high-rise housing units, is that it recognized the ability of the low-income
households to build their own house, provided an opportunity was given.

Particularly in face of the failure of the conventional housing approaches, coupled with a number of studies that
pointed out the ingenuity and perseverance of squatters to house themselves, providing sites and services only
was touted as a answer to the problems of housing the poor in developing cities.

Many countries in South America, Asia and Africa took up this concept, and with the World Bank strongly
advocating this approach and providing key finance for a number of projects, the idea received
widespread approval.

Sites-and-services schemes have also faced considerable opposition and failure in a number of projects, primarily due
to a series of assumptions and misconceptions on the way in which low-income families house themselves.

The key components of a housing scheme are the plot of land,

infrastructure (like roads, water supply,drainage, electricity or a sanitary network), and the house itself.
Various inputs that go into them include finance, building materials/technology, and labour.

Thus, the
sites-and-services approach advocated the role of government agencies only in the
preparation of land parcels or plots with certain basic infrastructure, which was to be sold or leased
to the intended beneficiaries.

The next
step of actual house building was left to the beneficiaries themselves to use their
own resources, such as informal finance or family labour and various other types of community participation modes to
build their house.

The beneficiaries could also build the house at their own phase, depending on the
availability of financial and other resources. This adopted the basic principle of the development of a
squatter settlement but without the "squatting" aspect.

Depending on the investment made, resources available, the implementing agency or degree of organization of the
beneficiaries, sites-and-services schemes were activated in a number of differing ways. This variation was a result of the
attempt to strike a balance between minimum "acceptable“ housing conditions and affordability of the beneficiaries. While
following the basic rule of a plot of land (sites) and essential infrastructure (services), the degree of participation and inputs
of the implementing agency on one hand, and the beneficiaries on the other, varied greatly.

They ranged from an empty plot of land and some services (like water, electricity and sanitation connections) to the
provision of a "core" house (consisting of a toilet and kitchen only) on the plot of land with attached services.

Some of the variations attempted in sites-and-services projects include:

Utility wall: A "utility" wall is built on the plot which contains the connections for water, drainage,
sewerage and electricity. The beneficiaries had to build the house around this wall, and utilize the connections from
it. Some projects provided this utility wall in the form of a sanitary core consisting of a bathroom/toilet, and/or a kitchen.

Latrine: Due to its critical waste disposal problem, many project provide a basic latrine
(bathroom and/or toilet) in each plot.
Roof frame/ shell house, core house: The roof is the costliest component of a house and
requires skilled labour to build. Therefore, some projects provide the roof structure on posts, and the
beneficiaries have to build the walls according to their requirements.

Conversely, a plinth is sometimes built by the implementing agency, which forms a base over which the
beneficiaries can build their house. Other variations to this are the shell house (which is an incomplete house consisting of a
roof and two side walls, but without front or rear walls) and a core house (consisting of one complete room).


the intended beneficiaries and the implementing

The two key actors in a sites-and-services project are
agency. In most cases, the intended beneficiaries of the project belong to the lower income
group of an urban area - for example, squatters who have been relocated from their original illegal settlement. They
are characterized by low incomes, informal sector jobs or irregular employment and lack the necessary assets to enable them
to afford a "formal" sector house. With basic skills in construction, many are in a position to build
their own house (there are however exceptions to these features - which have resulted in the failure of many sites-and-
services schemes).
The other principle actor in the sites-and-services schemes is the implementing agency. In most cases,
this is a government department or similar body, like the Housing Boards. Operating from goals and objectives on a city-
wide scale and for all income groups, such
agencies initiate sites-and-services schemes both for the
provision of housing of low-income families as well as removing "eyesores" that squatter
settlements depict.
The basic division of the stages of implementation between these two principle actors determines the type of scheme
being proposed. Several other actors play essentially supportive roles, including various government agencies
responsible for provision of infrastructure, non-governmental or voluntary organizations and so on.

With several assumptions and misconceptions regarding low-income families, sites-and-services projects have been subject to
many shortcomings in its conception, identification of beneficiaries, implementation and cost recovery. Thus sites-and-services
schemes have often been rendered unaffordable or inaccessible for the lowest-income groups by bureaucratic procedures,
institutional requirements and political problems. Some of the constraints have been:

Location: With high land costs in urban areas, most sites-and-services schemes are located on the fringe where such costs
are not very high.
This however causes two problems:

1. The large distance between the site and existing delivery networks, off-site and on-site provision of infrastructure is high
and construction can be delayed.

2. The extra distances that the beneficiaries have to travel (and the consequent extra costs) to the employment centres
would discourage many beneficiaries to take advantage of such schemes.

Bureaucratic Procedures: Selection procedures, designed to ascertain that applicants meet eligibility criteria,
tend to be cumbersome, time-consuming and full of bureaucratic pitfalls, and provide opportunities for
corruption. Besides, for many low-income families, the eligibility criteria are impossible to meet due to informal sector jobs
or low/irregular incomes.
Delay in provision of Services: Due to a lack of coordination between the various implementation agencies and a
"spread" of responsibility of providing the infrastructure and services, there is considerable delay in the final
provision of the services, even after the land has been allocated to the beneficiaries.

Standards: High standards of construction and building quality is set by the implementing agencies making
such schemes unaffordable to the target beneficiaries. Some sites-and-services schemes, for example, prohibit
income generating activities on residential plots, including rental of rooms: they, thereby, limit the opportunities of
residents to earn an (additional) income to pay for their plot and their house.

Cost Recovery: Most sites-and-services schemes are plagued by poor cost recovery. One reason is the high costs
that beneficiaries have to bear shortly after moving into the scheme. They have to pay for the plot as well as
construction of the house, while they might be facing loss of income due to the move to the new scheme. Transport,
water and electricity costs add to the burden which they might not have had before. But some of the main
reasons for poor recovery has been delay in provision of services, inadequate collection methods, lack of sanctions for non-
payment and absence of political will to
enforce payment.

The positive aspect of sites-and-services schemes that deserves support is its recognition of the ability of people to house
themselves, with a little backing from the government agencies. Thus the
role of the government changes
from that of a "provider" to an "enabler". It also enables them to save scarce resources by "sharing" the
responsibility of housing with the intended beneficiaries.

On the part of the beneficiaries, it makes best use of existing/potential resources, both at the household level as
well as the community level.

On a large scale, it enables the low-income families to obtain decent housing and services, at levels that can be afforded by

While sites-and-services schemes are not a blanket solution for all ills of low-income housing, it does provide potential for
future housing, making best use of existing resources, both governmental and household. A number of local conditions
and circumstances determine the type and scale of the scheme to be used.