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Housing in Africa

Patel, K; (2018) Housing in Africa. In: Binns, T and Lynch, K and Nel, E, (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of African Development. (pp. 426-436). Routledge: London, UK. Green open access

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‘Housing’ is a concept, and so means much more than a structure that we call a house, flat, apartment, bungalow, condominium or room. Housing is closely related to ideas on basic standards of living (such as the services that ought to accompany a structure, including water, electricity and security of tenure); quality of life (i.e. does housing enable access to amenities, including schools, parks, places of employment and transport services?); and a family’s future prospects (i.e. can property be bequeathed and how do property markets affect the value of homes as assets?). The concept of housing, reflected in housing policy, includes some or all of these related ideas. Correspondingly, policies on infrastructure, transport, public services, education, economic growth, and rural and urban planning are relevant to housing. Therefore, housing is best seen as a cross-cutting issue that affects improvements to people’s health, safety, livelihoods, wealth, assets, and overall sense of well-being (Patel, 2013). In the African context, housing is typically approached through a development lens and framed as a means to alleviate poor living conditions and improve the current and future economic prospects of individuals and households living and working in African towns and cities. This particular conceptualisation of housing is apparent in the dominant discourses in national housing policies and the policies of international development agencies. Although, by focusing on individuals and households, such policies risk overlooking the ways in which housing helps to construct urban space and life for all residents. Where housing is located, the form it takes, the materials it is made from, and who is able to live in it affects land use (amid competing commercial and public interests for urban land), environmental sustainability, and spatial and economic equality (as who lives where is heavily influenced by a person’s income, wealth, class, and in some countries their race and ethnic identity). This makes housing a political issue of great social importance across the continent.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Housing in Africa
ISBN: 1138890294
ISBN-13: 9781138890299
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4324/9781315712482-32
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315712482-32
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052160
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