Tag Archives: affordable housing

Geoff’s lecturing at Darmstadt Technical University

Geoff was delighted to be invited back to Darmstadt Technical University again this year for four days of lectures and a game as part of the Urbano Mundus programme. The 23 students came from a wide range of countries and reported that they all had great fun. Geoff wishes them all  the best on the course and in their careers.

                                                      Geoff’s lecturing at Darmstadt Technical University

 

                                        Geoff’s class was also carried on outside in Darmstadt’s good weather

 

        During the lectures, four different groups prepared their own project for a pro-poor settlement and                                                                               presented with discussion parts.

                      After the discussions, Geoff summarised his own project and gave his closing speech.


 

Ethiopia Affordable Urban Land and Housing Project

Geoff is now back in Addis Ababa working as the lead land adviser on the ICF International project for the World Bank. He has been undertaking a review of the extensive literature on urban land policy and practice as a basis for identifying options for consideration by central and local  government.


Mongolia Project: Urban Land and Service Area Growth Planning Due Diligence

Geoff returned to Ulaanbaatar in October and November 2017 as the international land expert on the DAI project being undertaken for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The project seeks to understand how urban planning, urban expansion and urban land policy can support the water investment by MCC.


Geoff’s visit in January 2018 to Amaravati, the new capital city of Andra Pradesh, India

Geoff was commissioned by the World Bank to review the plans and land policy instruments being applied for the development of the new state capital after the bifurcation of the state in 2014. Land for the new capital is being acquired by three policy instruments, namely land pooling, negotiated settlements and formal land acquisition. The land pooling scheme is possibly the largest in the world and is the subject of local debate. Geoff’s role is to assess the way the policies are being implemented to ensure that no groups are disadvantaged.

Succeeding in the Sahel

One of the greatest rewards of working on housing issues in rapidly urbanising countries is the opportunity to see how resourceful people are when it comes to obtaining land and housing, even when they have extremely limited resources. The World Habitat Awards, organised and funded by BSHF, provide a wealth of examples of such innovation and I was grateful to be invited by the Director, David Ireland, to visit the 2016-17 World Habitat Awards winning project in Senegal.

A Roof, A Skill, A Market’ was the inspiration of a French mason visiting Burkina Faso in 1998. He saw the vast potential of earth architecture in the arid rural areas of the Sahel and proposed that the Nubian form of mudbrick vaulting be revived as a form of building that would be more comfortable, affordable and environmentally sustainable than conventional reinforced concrete structures. Its unique structural advantage is that by building the arches so that they lean against the end wall, later bricks can lean against earlier arches, making it unnecessary to use wooden formwork until the arch is complete. This means that the system can create vaults of any length and does not need to use increasingly scarce and expensive timber during the construction process.

The program started in Burkina Faso in 2000 with support from the French government and a small team of committed professionals. The Nubian Vault Association has now completed more than 2,000 houses in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal varying in size and area from modest single storey structures to luxury two storey villas.

With a maximum span of 3.25 metres, buildings provide congenial and calming spaces and can either link to adjoining vaults to create different layouts, or include reinforced concrete beams so that large open spaces can be created. In this way, the structural system can be adapted to meet different uses and the program has already inspired local groups to build school buildings, community centres, mosques and maternity centres.

What makes ‘A Roof, A Skill, A Market’ so special is not, however, just the buildings, great though they are. The greatest achievement is that the team promoting it see the approach as increasing employment opportunities for people of different skill levels in a context where population growth has exceeded economic growth, leading to mass migration out of the region. It is also based closely on market costs in order to demonstrate its economic viability compared to expensive and less environmentally efficient imported materials. Being 100 percent carbon free, it has also been accepted by the governments of Burkina Faso and Senegal as part of their national policies in meeting the global Sustainable Development Goals Sustainable Development Goals.

During a short, but extremely productive and enjoyable visit, the project team of Cecilia Rinaudo and Emmanuelle showed us impressive projects in the rural areas near Dakar, the World Heritage town of St Louis and Podor, on the border with Mauritania. A community managing an environmental reserve told us, “we can manage the reserve better now we have a place to manage it from”, while a school that had previously been reporting low examination results became the top performer the year after the new vaulted building was completed because the improved thermal comfort helped students to concentrate. A local entrepreneur told us his neighbors had expected his house to be washed away when the first rains came and were amazed when it not only withstood the rains but coped just as well when he added a second floor! Finally, a medical doctor said he was happy to spend extra hours at work because the clinic where he worked was more comfortable than his own home!

The program has been expanding at 30 percent a year and has ambitious plans to maintain momentum so that the system is accepted as appropriate for different building types as well as housing and can operate without external financial support.

While most buildings using the system are in rural areas where the majority of the population lives, there is considerable potential for urban and particularly peri-urban areas where population pressure is increasing the demand for affordable housing and where labour intensive methods are ideal. The Nubian Vault Association team hope to apply the approach throughout the whole Sahel region from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and from Algeria in the north to Nigeria in the south. They even plan to reintroduce it in the Nubian desert of Sudan where the tradition first started centuries ago, a great example of learning from the past to meet the challenges of the present and future.

The program and the dynamic team managing it are a deserving winner of this year’s World Habitat Awards!

 

This article is published in BSHF webpage

 

Ethiopia Urban Land Supply and Affordable Housing Study

In late 2016, Geoff was invited by ICF Consultants to join their proposal to undertake a major review of urban land supply and affordable housing in Ethiopia. The proposal was successful and Geoff has been appointed as the lead consultant in the review of urban land production and lease transfer, while Dr. Graham Tipple has been appointed the international lead in reviewing affordable housing.  The project will involve detailed studies in three cities, Addis Ababa, Adama, and Mekelle. Geoff will be working in collaboration with the local land expert Dr. Wondimu Abeje and Graham will be working together with Dr. Elias Yitbarek. The project will include a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods including extensive household surveys, semi-structured in-depth case studies, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a review of the extensive literature on the subject.

Enjoying a coffee with Elias and Graham in the country where coffee was discovered

Enjoying a coffee with Elias and Graham in the country where coffee was discovered

The project will be undertaken over an eighteen month period and will include presentations on findings with key stakeholders in Ethiopia and discussions on policy and regulatory options for improving access to affordable, secure and reasonably located land for all those in need and means of strengthening the capability of central, provincial and municipal authorities in urban land management and administration.

Street scene in Mekelle

Street scene in Mekelle (መቐለ)

Local residents in Mekelle

Local residents in Mekelle (መቐለ)

Geoff undertook the first of several missions in March, during which he met key officials in Addis Ababa and Mekelle and visited a range of residential, commercial and industrial developments. A second mission is planned for early May to initiate the key informant interviews.

China – Affordable Housing Technical Assistance

Funding bodies

The World Bank

Duration

January 2012 – June 2014

Objectives

Review of affordable housing in a central district of Shanghai

Activities

GPA was invited by the World Bank to contribute to a study mission to review housing conditions of residents in a central district of Shanghai, including the extent and nature of housing demand and resources for the broader rental market in order that District authorities responsible for meeting official targets can do so in ways which balance needs and resources in the short and medium terms.

The research will propose innovative approaches in land use, financing models, supervision models, distribution mechanism and exit channels for developing affordable housing in downtown areas of metropolises, through in-depth investigation of current obstacles and problems, lessons learned from international and domestic successes and comparison of the strength and weakness of different models. It will offer recommendations on policies, institutional design, operation roadmap, implementation arrangement, issues to pay attention to in the development and operation of affordable housing in downtown areas of metropolises.

Desk review of affordable housing in East Asia and the Pacific region

Funding bodies

The World Bank

Duration

January 2012 – June 2012

Objectives

Desk review of affordable housing in East Asia and the Pacific region

Activities

GPA was commissioned by the World Bank in January, 2012 to undertake a desk review of the literature on affordable and low-income housing issues, policies and outcomes. The review includes the characteristics of existing programs, the constraints countries face in implementing effective programs (e.g., land markets, supply driven programs, poor targeting, lack of financing instruments etc) and innovations introduced. It also includes affordable, low income and social housing programs of both ownership and rental options, together with successful programs from within EAP countries as well as global best practice. The results will be discussed in a Regional workshop with key policy makers in the housing sector, following which a practitioner’s guide or toolkit specifically designed for EAP countries will be prepared.

World Bank Institute International Workshop, ‘Scaling up Upgrading and Affordable Housing’, Udaipur, India

 Geoff was invited to participate in the International Workshop on ‘Scaling up Upgrading and Affordable Housing: From National Policies, to State Programs and City-Wide Slum Free Interventions’, in Udaipur, India. Geoff presented a paper on ‘Land Markets and Regulation: Building Better Urban Futures’. To download a copy of Geoff’s presentation, click here.