Facilitating the Creation of Enabling Environments for Slum Upgrading and Affordable Housing – From Pilots to Programs in Monrovia, Liberia
The purpose of this paper is to advocate for the importance of creating an enabling environment for slum upgrading and affordable housing, to support urban development and the design and implementation of comprehensive urban programs that have impact at a community, market/sector and policy levels.
Housing is at the heart of the New Urban Agenda and contributing towards resilient and sustainable urban development requires targeted community, market/sector and policy level interventions that contribute to improved living conditions for low-income household and secure tenure; increased access to finance for low-income households; enabling land, housing and planning policy environments; and building community, public and private sector capacity to support the implementation of these interventions.
A systematic methodology has been developed to analyze the housing market conditions, the housing policy environment and the hazards and vulnerabilities that impact on low-income households and communities to determine what community, market and policy interventions are best suited for any particular context. Partnerships - people, public, private - are essential for the successful implementation of these interventions.
Facilitating the delivery of adequate and affordable housing and the upgrading of slum settlements and increased tenure security is a core component of achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements, as envisioned in the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). However, cities face many challenges in trying to achieve this goal. In this paper, we look at the key constraints and offer a set of interventions that can facilitate improvements in the enabling environment for slum upgrading and affordable housing in greater Monrovia from a policy, market and community perspective. The key findings of the assessments conducted indicate that new interventions that support slum upgrading, increased security of tenure, incremental housing and affordable rental housing are essential for improving the living conditions and quality of life of low-income households in greater Monrovia. Accelerating self-managed and incremental construction solutions to increase the affordable and adequate housing supply at scale requires adequate policies, markets for the poor and capacity building support. A significant expansion of the affordable and adequate housing stock is needed to address these inadequacies, through appropriate interventions that take into consideration existing weak public-and private-sector capacity; low affordability levels; and contextual dynamics around access to land, environmental risks and hazards, infrastructure, finance, and construction materials and services. The housing mandate needs to be consolidated, funded and prioritized to support slum upgrading and affordable housing. Greater Monrovia requires a holistic and integrated urban planning approach that takes into consideration all of these contextual challenges. The identification of land for affordable housing and the regularization of slum settlements are key issues that need to be addressed. Interventions to improve basic services and city infrastructure need to be addressed as part of the entire city development strategy, as they require large investments and will have an impact on the entire city infrastructure, in addition to a direct impact on the ability of the private and public sectors to deliver affordable housing.
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