Can we do informal housing better?

Publication: Report

Across the globe, particularly in urban areas, the gap between the demand and supply of affordable and adequate housing is growing rapidly. This is particularly the case on the African continent, which is currently undergoing the most rapid urban transition recorded in our history. Housing, particularly when it constitutes a home, is the cornerstone of our social, economic, and emotional lives.

Having a roof over one’s head epitomizes stability and security for an individual as well as their family. The current COVID-19 pandemic gave housing a new level of importance and also exacerbated inequalities between those with and without adequate housing. In this context, access to affordable and adequate housing is increasingly being recognized not only as a necessity, but rather as a fundamental human right.

View of Maputo, Mozambique. B. Negin/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The rate at which housing needs to be provided now and in the future across the African continent is immense. This briefing argues that governments can intervene at relatively low financial costs with potentially high impact, by reforming regulation to ensure it is locally appropriate and allows for affordable formal housing—including incremental housing—to be built at scale while ensuring safety and livability.

Key interventions include:

  1. Lowering the costs of construction by allowing for the use of locally available building materials, such as in Kigali, Rwanda
  2. Promoting incremental build, such as in Iquique, Chile
  3. Enabling micro-builders, primarily found in the informal housing market, to provide formal housing at scale, whilst improving quality of their housing provision, such as in Cape Town, South Africa

Read the full paper: Can We Do Informal Housing Better?

This policy paper is part of the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality & Exclusion. More information about this initiative can be found here.

More Resources

  • Publication: Analysis May 17, 2023 CIC Perspectives

    Managing Opportunities, Challenges, and Expectations for the New Agenda for Peace

    Ahead of the policy brief expected from the UN Secretariat in June 2023, this piece provides a historical glance at past UN reforms, identifies the primary challenges and opportunities the UN and its member states face as they undergo this process, and looks forward to the key priorities that can be taken up from a realistic and practical perspective. Highlighted is how the New Agenda for Peace “provides a rare opportunity for the United Nations to examine and reflect upon the totality of the peace and security work of the Organization to uncover and better understand the synergies and contradictions of the existing processes and structures.”

  • Publication: Policy Brief April 24, 2023

    Does the Present Interpretation of the UN Principles Cause Harm in Syria and Yemen?

    This policy brief takes a comparative examination of how the United Nations has adopted a paradoxical interpretation of its guiding principles to address the complex humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. It offers approaches that could change the course of international humanitarian operations and protect them from further politicization, weaponization, and diversion.

Stay Connected

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates on our latest events, analysis, and resources.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.