Deriving Lessons for Urban Planning and Housing Delivery from the Resilience of Informal Housing Systems in Zambia

  • Howard S. Chitengi

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The study explores the factors that sustain urban informal housing resilience to draw lessons for enhancement of housing provision. This is in response to the challenge in housing provision evidenced in the burgeoning informal housing delivery system that characterise most developing countries. Using a case study approach, involving two informal settlements in Lusaka City, Zambia, the study examines the push and pull factors that influence the resilience. This is premised on the argument that identification of the factors sustaining the resilience holds the key to making the planning system reflective of the context in which housing needs, demands and access abilities are embedded. To this end, grounded on both literature and empirical interrogations, the study shows informal housing resilience is sustained by several factors of which the following are pertinent.
    The study demonstrates regulatory frameworks, land property rights, contractual practices and fiscal policies which shape the general context of housing development to be influencing factors of the informal housing resilience. In this regard, the study suggests provision of housing that meets the needs of different groups and attainment of sustainable neighbourhoods, can mainly be reached through flexibilities in standards and adaptive governance approach that blend in social-cultural financing and contractual practices, building methods, innovations and land delivery systems. Besides the study shows informal housing resilience to be sustained by urban planning frameworks which are not amenable to contemporary approaches like partnerships, participation, collaborations and decentralisation for housing finance provision. In this view the study suggests new changes and approaches to housing governance anchored on these planning principles.
    The study further shows that informal housing resilience is influenced by location and internal structuring of residential areas which are incompatible with local dwelling contexts. Accordingly, the study demonstrates the common strategies of eviction, demolitions or relocations employed by planners and policy makers as a display of obliviousness to the realities that make people reside in particular localities considered ‘unauthorised’. In regard of this, the study suggests new changes and approaches to the planning of human settlements to include adaptation of local and social-cultural dwelling contexts and proximity concerns in lay out plans and patterns.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsZambia Ministry of Local Government and Housing
    SupervisorDumiso Moyo (Supervisor), Robert Kirk (Supervisor) & Peter Cockhead (Supervisor)

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