Habitat International

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0197-3975
Publications
Article
PIP The population of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing rates in the world at 2.5-3.5%/ year. The estimated population was 101.11 million in 1987 and by 2015 is projected to be 280 million. Nigeria was the 10th most populous country in 1985 and by 2025 it would be 4th. The average number of children for each woman is 6-7 and the death rate is 16/1000. A recent government policy has restricted women to 4 children. 47% of the population is under 15 years of age. Goals of the government include reducing the growth rate, improving the standard of living, and balancing the population distribution between urban and rural areas. To do this they will need to promote awareness of their population situation to all citizens, educate young people on family planning, and to enhance development in rural and urban areas by slowing the migration to the cities. Most Nigerians view this policy as discriminatory against women, and ineffective in curbing present growth in population. Religions including Catholicism, Islam and some Christian groups do not promote birth control. Although many groups oppose this policy, most realize that the country is over populated and that with the present economic situation, a reduction in growth is needed. A more acceptable policy would restrict Christians, who marry only 1 wife, to 4 children and Moslems, who can have up to 4 wives, could have only 1 child/wife or 4 children for the man, in each family. A better method would be to encourage 3 children/family because of the young age structure in the population. Even if the fertility would decline to 2 children/family there would be substantial growth for many years to come.
 
Article
PIP The intricate interrelationships between population and development in sub-Saharan Africa are examined and the prospects are considered for converting the abundant human resources into an effective development asset. The demographic trends that characterize the sub-Saharan region at this time differ markedly from what is happening in other parts of the developing world. In Africa, death rates have come down slightly (17/1000 in 1980-85 in contrast to 20/1000 in 1970-75); there has been practically no change in the birthrate. Consequently, population growth rates are on the rise throughout Africa although there are differences within the regions. The various factors responsible for high fertility in African societies and the consequences of the continuing high fertility often are mutually reinforcing. For example, low health and educational standards are likely to lead women to have large numbers of children, but these conditions are themselves the result of the population growth, which requires an expansion of health care and educational facilities that hard-pressed national budgets cannot provide. In Africa, the growth rate of the youth population is increasing even faster than that of the population as a whole -- from 3.1% in 1980-85 to an estimated 3.4% in 1990-95. The most critical problem posed by such growth rates is an increased demand for food. Countries which cannot adequately feed their growing populations are unlikely to be significantly more successful in satisfying their other basic needs. Whether educated or healthy or not, Africa's growing numbers of children represent major economic problems for countries with a low level of economic growth. There is little hope of effectively absorbing all the new entrants who swell the labor market each year, and the indirect consequences for the economy of rapid demographic growth are no less serious. Presently, Africa is the scene of major and particularly distressing movements of population as the drought has forced people to move long distances in search of food relief. It is too soon to tell whether or how much of the lands left behind can be rehabilitated and again become productive. The question arises as to whether appropriate policies, supported by adequate funds and technical know-how, can convert Africa's millions of young people from being a brake on development into a resource for the future. Policies and strategies that may be most appropriate to this end are: to take sufficient cognizance of the interrelationship between population and development and hence to be prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure that the two remain in balance; to realize that family planning programs mean more than a reduction in fertility but also the possibility of reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity; to back whatever family planning programs governments introduce; to plan comprehensively; and to effectively carry out the development strategies.
 
Article
PIP The author posits that female labor force integration in Jamaica accomplishes little in alleviating poverty and making maximum use of human resources. Women are forced into employment in a labor market that limits their productivity. Women have greater needs to increase their economic activity due to price inflation and cuts in government spending. During the 1980s and early 1990s the country experienced stabilization and structural adjustment resulting in raised interest rates, reduced public sector employment, and deflated public expenditures. Urban population is particularly sensitive to monetary shifts due to dependency on social welfare benefits and lack of assets. Current strategies favor low wage creation in a supply-side export-oriented economy. These strategies were a by-product of import-substitution industrialization policies during the post-war period and greater control by multilateral financial institutions in Washington, D.C. The World Bank and US President Reagan's Caribbean Basin Initiative stressed export-oriented development. During the 1980s, Jamaican government failed to control fiscal policy, built up a huge external debt, and limited the ability of private businessmen to obtain money for investment in export-based production. Over the decade, uncompetitive production declined and light manufacturing increased. Although under 10% of new investment was in textile and apparel manufacturing, almost 50% of job creation occurred in this sector and 80% of all apparel workers were low-paid women. Devaluation occurred both in the exchange rate and in workers' job security, fringe benefits, union representation, and returns on skills. During 1977-89 women increased employment in the informal sector, which could not remain competitive under devaluation. Women's stratification in the labor market, high dependency burdens, and declining urban infrastructure create conditions of vulnerability for women in Jamaica.
 
Article
The discourse on habitat and human settlements is increasingly dominated by that of the global, mega-city. If the aim of those of us in the human settlements field are to improve our understanding of and action on habitat and human settlements, this, often exclusive, focus is a mistake. Our habitat is better understood and acted upon as a network of interwoven settlements and surrounding countryside, large and small, themselves interwoven within our larger ecosystem. In this network the habitat of our smaller settlements (smaller cities, towns, villages) and rural areas and our global village also plays a critical role. The assumption can be challenged that urbanization and the mega-city are the critical issues of habitat and human settlements. Evidence suggests that with some rurbanization there is also counter urbanization, the ruralization of cities, and, perhaps most important, a growing urbanization as city-country interactions intensify. Habitat for all and habitat for a healthy, sustainable planet demands our openness to these new concepts and realities. It demands an integrated, balanced, approach which helps a wide range of living settlement nodes, large and small, to nurture each other. Global City and Global Village must go hand in hand. Our planetary and human health depends on it.
 
Article
PIP Data concerning 624 randomly selected mothers in Ekpoma Region, Nigeria, are used to analyze socioeconomic and cultural determinants of fertility. Factors considered include education, occupation, income, religion, age at first marriage, breast-feeding, and contraceptive practice. The author concludes that the conditions for fertility decline are now in place and that this decline could be accelerated by discouraging early marriage, increasing female education, and promoting contraception.
 
Article
PIP A general review of the literature on urbanization in developing countries is presented. The review covers works written between the 1950s and the present day. Particular attention is given to the various opinions regarding squatter settlements in and around urban areas.
 
Article
Concentration of population in a few metropolitan areas is considered as a serious problem in developing as well as developed countries. Japan is no exception. During the 30 years since the World War II the population distribution in Japan has been shifting toward greater concentration in large metropolitan areas. One of the most striking characteristics of the Japanese experience is the rapidity of the change: during the period of fast economic growth nearly half of the prefectures were losing population in absolute terms due to out-migration to large metropolitan areas. There appears to have been a change in this situation recently however. The population registration record has revealed that none of the prefectures lost population in absolute terms during 1974. This is a phenomenal departure from the past trend which lasted for 18 years. This change has been preceded by a gradual decline in the number of prefectures losing population since 1970. Indeed Japans economy or society as a whole appears to have been undergoing substantial changes since around 1970. In terms of population distribution some observers state that there has been a U-turn phenomenon implying that more people started to migrate from large urban centers back to small urban centers and rural areas than vice versa. In terms of the economic growth of the economy as a whole there has been an apparent slowing down of growth rates. This change has coincided with rapidly intensified public concern with the quality of the environment and pollution. In addition there have been a number of other significant social changes such as an increase in concern over distribution of income and international political and monetary disturbances during recent years. The purpose of this paper is first to examine the nature of the recent change in the pattern of population distribution in Japan and then to identify the factors which are responsible for the change. (excerpt)
 
Article
The Chinese Government has formulated a national urban policy aimed at controlling the growth of large cities. However, this paper reveals that Chinese large cities still grow rapidly and that the control policy has not been well implemented. Economic reforms and rapid growth have been the major forces driving large city expansion. It suggests that the Government should recognize the limitations of government policies and should put more efforts into harmonizing the relationship between urban policy and economic policy, to improving urban facilities, and planning and management of large cities.
 
Article
PIP Most east and south Asian countries will likely experience ongoing urbanization. Approximately 93 million people will be added to the populations of Asian cities over the next 15 years and more than 40% of all Asians are expected to be living in urban centers by the year 2000. Much of the population growth will occur in the largest metropolitan areas. The UN estimates that the number of cities in Asia with more than 1 million inhabitants will grow from 40 in 1960 to more than 175 by the year 2000. Many metropolitan areas in Asia are projected to grow to unprecedented size and will be among the 30 largest cities in the world by the end of the century. This paper looks at the strengths and weaknesses of Asian metropolises, alternatives to metropolitan growth, the adversities of overconcentration in primate cities, potential benefits of a system of secondary cities, the role of secondary cities and towns in national and regional development, and policies for secondary and small city development.
 
Article
PIP The Chittagong Healthy City Project was carried out in late 1994 in Chittagong, Bangladesh. This paper presents findings of an evaluation of the project based upon internationally generated process indicators related to the institutional aspects of the project. The following issues are discussed with regard to project implementation: the institutional organization of local authorities, institutions' conceptual understanding of the project, formal insertion of the project into public authorities' activities, institutional leadership of the project, central-local relations, the lack of interministerial coordination, the project's office, international projects, and community organization. Giving consideration to these issues may help program planners detect problems in forthcoming projects prior to their implementation.
 
Article
PIP During 1965-79, urban growth rates accelerated and continued after Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. For 1960-80, the estimated urban growth rate was 5.6% as compared with the natural growth rate of 3.5% and urban growth rate of 5.0% to 8.1% for the period 1982-92. Gweru, Zimbabwe, had a population of 110,000 in 1990, and as the provincial capital it is an important destination for rural and interurban migrants. Between 1982 and 1990 there was a 4.9% growth rate, resulting in the municipal waiting list for housing to exceed 14,000 in mid-1990. In a large study on migration and rental shelter, 188 tenants were interviewed in high, low-medium density, and periurban areas of the city with the intent of tracing respondents and the nature of migration streams. Regarding origins and connections, only one-fifth of the migrants were born in Gweru, more than half were born in rural areas, and the rest in other urban areas. More than 90% still had rural homes. Two-thirds made rural home visits six times or less a year and one-fourth visited seven times a year to once a month. 40% of the migrants to Gweru originated in larger cities, 24% in smaller urban areas, and 36% in rural areas. 58% moved to high density areas, 34% to low-medium, and 8% to peri-urban areas. The dominant motive was the search for employment and direct transfers, thus economic factors dominated over social factors. Three groups were distinguished according to length of stay: 1) 5 years or less who lived mainly in high and low-medium density housing; 2) 6-15 years; and 3) more than 15 years who lived in low density and high density areas. Regarding the previous two migrations, two-thirds stayed at the previous place for 5 years of less. The reasons for migration were overcrowding, family, and employment. Within Gweru high mobility was typical: one-third initiated one step, 43% initiated two steps, and 27% initiated three steps. Lodgers were the most mobile since one-third were moving three times.
 
Article
PIP This paper describes the situation in Ciudad Guayana, a new heavy industry center in southeast Venezuela, where fertility has fallen in the last 2 decades, from the perspective of the "modernization of fertility" theory. Evaluation of each component of the theory--industrialization, urbanization, education, better health and nutrition and control of epidemic diseases, increased communication and spread of media, erosion of traditional customs and emergence of secular values and belief--shows the people of Ciudad Guayana pointed firmly in the direction of fertility decline. Examination of data from a sample interview survey of 972 households indicates that the theory can account for the considerable variety of factors that are at work in the community; the search for a single necessary or sufficient cause for fertility decline is seen as fruitless. The need to look at a research problem such as fertility in its whole context, as anthropologists do, is emphasized. In this instance, differences in family values of Latin American society from those of other developing areas must be taken into account. After examining a community study of the area, it is concluded that integration of the social survey method with concurrent urban anthropology is a logical next step. The importance of social stratification as a modifying factor on fertility must be taken into account in refining the modernization framework.
 
Article
"The object of this study was to identify the factors that may explain, and help to predict, the direction and intensity of migration flows from rural to urban and from urban to urban areas in Colombia. For this purpose, statistical models were used with a view to obtaining a better insight into the push-and-pull causes of the migration patterns and a better understanding of their consequences."
 
Article
PIP Trends in urbanization in developing countries are analyzed, with a focus on the causes of rapid urbanization and particularly on the role of the division of labor. The impact of urbanization on the process of economic development is described. The role of government and of urban planning policies is also considered.
 
Article
This paper has a narrower title than was originally proposed since it seemed important to seek to establish the link between the urban concern and general priorities of economic development. Too often, the "urban" has been identified as solely an issue of welfare or order, and cities have, therefore, in policy terms, been subject to criteria which are different to those applicable in other sectors of the economy. The paper presents a discussion of the economic justification for taking cities seriously, a section outlining the scale of urbanisation and some of the issues raised, a section that discusses the policy approaches, one that looks at the local agencies for the formulation and execution of policy, and a short final part on some of the implications for aid policy.
 
Article
PIP The relationship between activities in the service sector of the economy and urban growth is examined, with emphasis on how service activities are related to the pattern and speed of urban growth. The study is based on an analysis of 1970 Japanese census data for cities in the Chubu region that have more than 50,000 inhabitants.
 
Article
PIP The author describes the growing housing problem in Nigeria and the effect of the country's rapid rate of population growth on housing needs. Data are from official sources.
 
Article
PIP An analysis of the transmigration program in Indonesia and the Federal Land Development Authority scheme in Malaysia is presented. The analysis shows that the motivations of participants in such programs are primarily economic and are similar to the motives influencing rural-urban migration. The importance of developing infrastructure and providing promised services to settlers to ensure the success of such programs is stressed. The role of settlement projects in encouraging additional spontaneous migration is also considered.
 
Article
The author reviews the Indonesian transmigration program. He notes that over four million people moved in the period from the program's 1904 inception through mid-1986. "Despite considerable success the programme has been plagued by numerous problems. These include inadequate income levels, improper site selection, poor matching of settlement models to the specific sites, environmental deterioration, migrant adjustment, land conflicts and financing." Current efforts to improve existing settlements, encourage spontaneous migraton, and involve the private sector are also described.
 
Article
Provides a detailed analysis of the data concerning urbanization and urban growth in the Third World. The authors begin by discussing the accuracy of urban statistics and show that there is a lack of reliable, contemporary or comparable data on which to make accurate forecasts to the end of the century. They then identify some general trends in Latin America, Asia, and Africa which suggest that the growth of metropolitan centres is actually decreasing in many cases relative to some secondary cities. The central message of this chapter is that future cities in the Third World are unlikely to resemble those currently forecast and that new approaches will be needed to assess trends and develop more appropriate forms of urban management. -from Authors
 
Article
The move toward defining “best practice” in urban development, a search which is central to the preparations for the Habitat II conference, is encouraging and represents a new paradigm in the quest for improvement. This paper examines a number of propositions, hypotheses if you will, related to that change. These propositions focus particularly on the implications of the shift on the meaning of community, the need for transferable tools, the limitation of state-based and market-based housing solutions within this context, the essential nature of networks, particularly the overlapping networks of neighbours, relatives and friends with networks of locally-based production and trading, labour and service providers, and the implications of all of these elements on sustainability.
 
Article
The official recommendations standards and legislation which have been related to the provision of houses in England have made explicit references to the spatial form and use of domestic facilities. For example, the serial of health and housing legislation during the last two centuries has had an influence upon the designs of houses built during that time, and particularly since the publication of the Tudor Walters Report in 1918. This paper studies the intentions of the series of recommendations and legislation from 1918 until the publication of the Parker Morris Report in 1961. The paper shows how the designs of houses in these official documents express specific ideas upheld by members of the architectural profession and civil servants which can be contrasted with public values about the meaning and use of domestic space.
 
Article
Much has been written about housing policy in the developing world. With a few notable exceptions, little is known about policy trends in most developing nations before the 1970s. Even less is known about the influence on national policies of the recommendations of international agencies, including the UN and the World Bank. Published and archival sources show that since 1945, the Thai Government has rarely implemented the programmes advocated by international agencies. It built public housing from the 1950s to the 1970s although it was advised to do otherwise. In the 1960s and most of the 1970s it resisted aided self-help, though this approach promised to be cost effective. When officials conceded the merits of this approach they were held back by politicians. Only when the international emphasis switched to a market-oriented approach in the 1980s did Thai policy apparently fall into step. Future research on policy trends should pay attention not only to issues of housing need, which most writers have emphasized, but also to the varied political contexts in which policy is made.
 
Article
Researchers have identified three phases in the evolution of international housing policy since 1945: public housing (1945–1960s), sites-and-services (1972–1980s), and market enabling (1980s–present). They often fail to distinguish between the policies that international agencies recommended and the policies that national governments pursued. Their preferred chronology does not accurately describe the recommendations of the main agencies, among whom the UN, the World Bank and, in the early years, the British Colonial Office were the most important. An extensive survey of published and archival sources shows that these agencies never endorsed public housing. Although their purposes differed, they consistently endorsed a mixed strategy of self-help and market supports. Self-help was given priority from the mid-1960s to the 1980s, when the balance shifted to market ‘enabling’. We need to know more about what influence their recommendations had upon national governments in the developing world.
 
Article
John F.C. Turner worked in Peru for several periods between 1957 and 1965, and he developed many of his ideas on aided self-help housing on the basis of his Peruvian experiences. His most famous publications on housing policy, several of them co-authored with the American anthropologist William Mangin who also worked in Peru in the 1950s and 1960s, make extensive use of Peruvian examples. This paper describes Peru in the periods when Turner was there, and in the succeeding decade, pointing out distinctive characteristics of the country and its housing, and outlining the major housing policy debates which raged among Peruvians. Publishing in English in major international journals, Turner was able to draw on abundant Peruvian research, ideas and expertise, and to graphically present Peru's urban squatter settlements (barriadas) to a global audience. The contrasting ideas of Fernando Belaúnde, Pedro Beltrán and Carlos Delgado were particularly influential, leading to innovative government programs. Turner drew on all three of them to some degree, but found his own distinctive middle ground.
 
Article
This paper examines the relationship between construction activity and economic development at the provincial level in the Peoples’ Republic of China. It also examines variations in the mix of construction outputs among the provinces as they achieve increasing levels of development. It is argued that the analysis of provincial construction outputs and levels of economic development provides additional insights into the debate on the wider relationship between construction activity and economic development as posited by Turin in his seminal studies during the 1960s and 1970s.Since these seminal works many researchers have also sought to explain the relationship between construction activity and economic development. Turin's model is of this relationship and although some studies only provide qualified support for this hypothesis, it is generally agreed that there is a causal link between construction activity and economic development within countries as they develop their economies. Most of these studies have been based on the use of international cross-sectional data from countries at different stages of development to infer an assumed relationship within an individual country over time.In this study, similar data are analyzed to examine these relationships at the provincial level within a large country, each of these provinces being at significantly differing levels of development. Since it adopted policies of economic reform in the late 1970s, China has realized considerable economic progress. However, this has varied significantly among the provinces and regions. Consequently, data demonstrating developments in China's wider economy and its construction activity at the provincial level can be used to test the applicability of the Turin hypothesis within a country that has undergone significant developments over such a short period of time.
 
Article
This article discusses the recent urban development in Indonesia and the extent to which the current economic crisis and uncertain sociopolitical situation have affected urban development. Until the mid-1990s, urban development fuelled by high economic growth has been characterized by restructuring of physical and economic activities. However, the recent economic crisis has caused economic activities in cities to shrink greatly. Meanwhile, the new legislation of regional autonomy and fiscal decentralization and current socioeconomic and political situation could have significant impacts on urban development in Indonesia in the near future.
 
Article
China's emerging housing market plays a pivotal role in the ongoing economic reforms. The complete abandonment of the socialist housing allocation system in the late 1990s has led to profound changes in housing provision and consumption in urban China. This paper, through analysis of 2000 Chinese census data and other comparable data sets, studies housing trends in urban China and in its four autonomous municipalities in the late 1990s. It is found that urban homeownership increased dramatically and urban housing conditions improved by almost all accounts, while housing gaps were widening. Occupation and education became much more deciding factors in housing distribution. Both intra- and inter-municipality disparities in housing quality were evident, due in part to the differences in the reform measures undertaken. The drastic changes in the housing sector manifest the phenomenal socioeconomic changes as a result of 20 years’ economic reforms. Housing reform seems to be successful in increasing distributional inequality as a way to introduce market-based incentives and improve productivity. However, those who were in power appear to have maintained and extended their advantages in the new system. Therefore, while the market is in the making, demographic and institutional factors instead of economic factors are more relevant in housing provision and residential behavior.
 
Article
This paper seeks to explore the extent to which local building traditions have been retained within modern urban housing development in primarily Igbo-speaking areas of South-eastern Nigeria in the 1990s. Its premise is that there are vestiges of tradition which remain part of the urban fabric in most southern Nigerian towns. It is thought that these traditions can, and should, be developed further to ensure that there is a positive integration of the old with the new, in the physical form, aesthetics and theoretical interpretation of urban design. Also as a development model, this integration approach has considerable relevance to other aspects of Nigerian urban life where there is the need for the accommodation of various cultures and social backgrounds.
 
Article
Temporary housing is a crucial but controversial part of disaster recovery; disaster-affected families who have lost their homes need a private and secure place to restart their daily activities as soon as possible after the disaster, yet temporary housing programmes tend to be overly expensive, too late and responsible for undesirable impacts on the urban environment. The purpose of this research is to recognize exactly what problems exist with temporary housing in the long term (that is after 5 years) and to identify, using the systems approach, the origin of these problems within the project process for temporary housing. Using the Logical Framework Approach to highlight the projects’ outcomes, the investigation focuses on the case study of the temporary housing programme for the 1999 earthquakes in Turkey and on four temporary housing projects in Düzce, one disaster-affected town. It is found that unwanted effects can be reduced through proper facilities management, reuse of the units, and by the initial application of unit designs that are easy to dismantle. Incorporating plans upfront, thus dealing with these problems by anticipation, can minimize negative impacts.
 
Article
The Peruvian Forum of Cities for Life has promoted and worked for the implementation of Local Agenda 21 since 1997. The technical assistance and capacity building support for Local Agenda 21 in Peru's cities has produced many project initiatives and investments plans, has contributed to modifications in local planning norms and boosted the work of environmental NGOs. Over the coming years when the environmental infrastructure projects get implemented all this is expected to show visible impacts for the quality of life and will be seen as the foundation for a continuous participatory and sustainable process of city development and environmental improvements. The weakness of the Peruvian Agenda 21 process has been and continues to be, however, the constrained funding situation for municipal investments.The relevance of the Peruvian Agenda 21 experience can be seen in the fact that it has filled a void in urban planning, has assumed the role of a stimulator of participatory processes and concerted action. Agenda 21 has contributed to a significant rise in environmental and urban consciousness of the local institutions and the general public. The successful application of a combined approach of awareness raising, education, capacity building and technical assistance is the real message of this experience of the Forum of Cities for Life and its Peru Urban Management Education Program (PEGUP).
 
Article
This paper is concerned with two questions: When and how does society at large (through State, intermediary organisations, labour unions, etc.) institute a set of supports to minimise schisms in the labour market?; How exactly do these schisms evolve in response to changing technical standards in industrial production and services many of which are increasingly globally regulated? This paper attempts to sketch some phenomenological features of urban employment in India to address these questions. First, it discusses dualism of the labour market to understand how the division of labour institutionalises certain rules for economy-wide use. Second, it contends that the State is torn between multiple goals and cannot be treated monolithically. Third, it explores how dualism within the labour market is affected by changing global technical standards and the newer forms of industrial relations that emerge. The argument is that for institutions to embrace both efficiency and equity a shared understanding of goals and procedural language is required between actors and a close attention to the everyday work process of organisations and individuals. Technical regulations and standards permeate industry in diverse ways and exacerbate existing tensions between varied State priorities and make more unclear the costs and context for distributing uncertainty and ensuring cooperation around issues such as training and insurance. The paper lists some salient features of the construction sector in Bangalore, India. Finally, it briefly discusses the relevance of this approach of dualism and institutionalisation in the face of technical standards for the Millennium Development Goals and Decent Work agendas.
 
Article
In Texas there are some 1500 colonias housing an estimated 400,000 people mostly in urban areas of the border region with Mexico. Colonias are unserviced or poorly serviced low-income housing settlements in which lots have been sold by developers upon which residents place trailers, construct manufactured homes, or self-build. While many colonias are virtually sold out, the proportion of lots actually occupied varies greatly, with anywhere between 20 and 80% of lots being left vacant. This creates multiplex problems for effective provision and cost recovery of physical and social infrastructure, as well as for effective formation of social capital necessary for active community participation and mutual aid in local development projects. Although recent research has led to a better understanding about the nature of colonias, nothing is known about these absentee owners. Being absent they are difficult to trace. Phone and mail interviews were used to gather data about the reasons for non-occupancy and future plans for sale and/or occupancy, and these preliminary data are presented in order to offer some insights into the reasons and propensity for non-occupancy. We find that a significant number of non-owners have purchased as an investment and as security for the future, often before moving to the north and interior of the US in search of work. Even absentee owners who live locally, often have little immediate plans to occupy their lots. The article concludes with an overview of possible policy directions — incentives and penalties — that may in future contribute to greater lot occupancy and to higher densities in colonias.
 
Article
The federal government of Nigeria developed large-scale public housing to provide living spaces for federal employees in the recently created capital, Abuja. The paper examines the resident satisfaction with public housing and the relationship of satisfaction with specific housing features to overall housing satisfaction. The sample of 1,089 households was randomly selected from residents in 19,863 public housing units in Abuja. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure residents' level of housing satisfaction. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis. The residents expressed dissatisfaction with their overall housing situation; they were dissatisfied with structure types, building features, housing conditions, and housing management. They were satisfied with the neighborhood facilities. Government housing policy should encourage a decent living environment, effective housing management, and construction of high quality structure types.
 
Article
The private production system continues to supply the majority of housing to the population of Third World cities. In Nigeria, statistics show that the bulk of urban housing units is supplied for rent by small-scale private landlords. This paper examines the process of housing production among this category of producers using, as a case study, the peripheral settlements of Abuja, Nigeria's new capital city. A predominance of small-size sole proprietorships is established among the small-scale house building firms, mostly for reasons of maintaining operational flexibility and cost saving. It is also found that the greatest attraction of investing in rental housing by small entrepreneurs is the hedge it provides against inflation and the stability and permanence it introduces into the capital base of economic pursuits. A strong influence of traditional chiefs in land supply is revealed, together with the emergence of a commercialised land market, resulting in speculation and contributing to rising land prices. It is shown that building materials are the most problematic of the key building components to the housing production process. It is argued that small building firms would make more profit if they had access to formal sector working capital and that the practice of using casual workers in project execution has the advantage of enabling firms to survive periods of job drought, but does not encourage growth of the firms, apprenticeship training and skills development in the house construction industry. It is concluded that what is needed to enhance the operation of this category of producers is for government to accept an enabling role that will seek to minimise the financial burden and risks to which they are currently exposed.
 
Article
Studies around the world have shown that there is a significant correlation between young children's development and the neighbourhood environment in which they are brought up. While the neighbourhood environment is a master set of a vast number of inter-dependent and inter-mingled variables, one particular factor, the physical land use environment sometimes tends to be overlooked. In fact, all other environmental variables work inside the framework of the land use settings as all human activities take place on and above land and certainly within some form of physical structure. In this paper, we try to provide some insights into this particular aspect by a relatively quantitative analysis. A major youth survey was carried out and views from the young people on two major aspects of land use settings are collated. In the micro-system, we examine how the physical land use system affects young people and how much they enjoy it. In the macro level, we tally their views on certain land use policy objectives and examine how much they can and are willing to articulate their views. We have found that land use environment in the neighbourhood does impose important effects on young people and they do recognise that. However, young people seem not being able to capitalize the benefits of the “routine activities” due to various reasons, and among them management of public space is a major one. In general, we feel that there is an inadequate government effort in trying to stimulate young people's interest in contributing to the debate of urban land use policy, making most young children rather indifferent on a number of socio-economic land use issues.
 
Article
Water pollution is a problem all over the world and also in Thailand and particularly in Bangkok. The Government of Thailand and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have realised the seriousness of the problem and have started the construction of centralised wastewater treatment systems. The idea of centralised wastewater treatment is new for Bangkok where wastewater is normally treated on-site in septic tanks. The start-up and operational costs of a wastewater treatment system are high. The success and the sustainability of the system require the support of the Bangkok population. In order to gain this support, a better knowledge and understanding of the environmental concerns of the Bangkok population, their willingness to pay for environmental improvements and the acceptability of a wastewater treatment project is needed. The study applied the theory of diffusion and adoption to examine the acceptance of the project by the residents of Bangkok, the contingent valuation method to analyse the willingness to pay of Bangkok residents and the theory of environmental psychology to investigate the factors influencing acceptance of the wastewater treatment project by Bangkok residents. Personal questionnaire interview surveys and the willingness-to-pay were used to provide information on these issues. The Bangkok residents were found to prefer a centralised system, but they had no clear preference for a cost recovery system. The majority preferred the convenience and easy comprehension of a volumetric flat rate system. Two-thirds of the respondents preferred a separate collection system and expressed a preference for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as the fee-collecting agency. Most were willing to pay Baht 86.87 per month or Baht 3.28 per m3 (Baht 25=US$1), while the rate proposed by the BMA is Baht 3.50 per m3. Distance to a klong (canal) and the direct experience of polluted surface water did not have any influence on the preferences. Monthly household income, level of education and environmental awareness were the principal factors that influenced acceptability of various aspects of the wastewater treatment system. However, acceptability declined when direct costs and changes in life style were involved. The conclusions of the study support the claim that the process of acceptance of wastewater treatment in Bangkok is closely related to the concept of adoption. The study found that complex stimuli, such as cost-effectiveness and the convenience of the technology, tend to influence the acceptability of the wastewater treatment project by Bangkok residents. In order to be able to introduce measures that require sacrifices from the population, the BMA should undertake campaigns of public hearings, public education and public surveys to know public opinion and the public's willingness to pay.
 
Article
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Top-cited authors
Xiaoling Zhang
  • City University of Hong Kong
Edwin H W Chan
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Geoffrey Qiping Shen
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Yehua Dennis Wei
  • University of Utah
Martin Skitmore
  • Bond University