Quick Guide 02 – Low Income Housing: Approaches to Helping the Urban Poor Find Adequate Housing in African cities

This guide describes several ways of addressing low-income housing in African cities at the programme and project level. It focuses on well tried methods of improving the housing and living environments of people living in slums and informal settlements, and providing adequate housing for future generations of urban poor.

The concept of “adequate housing” is slowly but surely becoming internationally accepted as a basis for policies and programmes aimed at addressing the needs of low-income communities. The first part of the guide presents concepts essential to understanding low-income housing, and explores the reasons behind the serious lack of decent, affordable housing in cities – and hence the problem of urban slums. Key approaches to addressing the housing needs of the urban poor are outlined next, by examining alternative strategies for what to do about existing slum conditions and informal settlements, and how to avoid future slums through the production of new housing. Finally, the guide examines the main considerations needed to address the improvement of informal settlements and production of adequate and affordable low-income housing on a city-wide scale.

This guide is not aimed at specialists. It aims to help build the capacities of national and local government officials and policy makers who need to quickly enhance their understanding of low-income housing issues in cities. The focus of the guide is on the urban context in particular, since the housing situations and needs of rural communities are often quite different from those of city dwellers.

Download the rest of the series below, as well as the Facilitator Guide that comes with it: