Subsidized housing projects in developing countries are constrained by important challenges. Up-front subsidies are often insufficient to solve the housing needs of beneficiaries and subsidized units are considered too small. However, the delivery of ‘finished’ units might be neither necessary nor desirable. The qualitative examination of two subsidized housing projects in Colombia and South Africa shows how the challenges related with the size and quality of the units can be efficiently faced adopting an approach based on incremental growth of housing units. In South Africa, the project emphasized the participation of beneficiaries from construction to occupation, while in Colombia the project assumed an incremental housing approach. In the Colombian case, beneficiaries were not early involved in construction activities, but instead, the project anticipated user-driven additions and upgrading, recognizing the role of beneficiaries during the post-occupancy phase. The comparison of the two projects shows the advantages of optimizing the investment of up-front subsidies in an incremental construction. It also highlights that the size and quality of units depend, in reality, on early decisions made during the planning and design of the project, which have a considerable influence on the participation of stakeholders during the post-occupancy phase. Even though much attention is often given to the participation of beneficiaries during project construction, the results suggest that the success of a subsidized housing project is strongly related with the appropriate coordination of formal and informal stakeholders after the occupation of units.
Habitat International – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2011
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