Housing for all, abstracts

OLANDE ONITIJU (De Montfort University, United Kingdom): Rethinking informality in an African city
Africa is the least urbanised continent but the urbanisation rate at a higher than the rest of the world. According to UN-HABITAT, the continent’s rate of urbanisation soared from 15 percent in 1960 to 40 percent in 2010 and is projected to reach 60 percent in 2050. Increased rates of urbanisation in African means cities are growing but at lower income levels. This results in a low GDP- per- capita which also translates the problems (housing, unemployment, poverty) in African countries would be made more complex to address and mostly difficult to introduce an inclusive and sustainable growth the next 50 years.
Data collected by the Global Urban Observatory shows that urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa is mostly characterised as informal and spontaneous type of urbanisation. Planning African cities in their current state should include alternative that address the 60 % Urbanities living in Informal settlements. Looking at the position of African Urbanism in the world draws the need to rethink informality in the context of the African city. Part of the challenges of such communities is the high level of poverty and basic urban services infrastructure.
Firstly by recognising that this large percentage in informal settlements have a right to the city and should be given a chance to plan and improve their settlement instead of displacing families from these communities. Promoting conscious planning and development techniques by the government supported by research on shelter adaptation on these settlements can help inform the future of housing in African cities. Housing Shortage should be looked at from the perspective of people who live in the harsh conditions some of these settlements such as Makoko fishing community in Lagos, Nigeria. Learning from the community and introducing social and economic infrastructure could become a solution to reducing gentrified spaces in the city and promoting poverty alleviating settlements would help reflect the city as home to these communities.
Keywords: informality, African urbanism, coastal settlements, housing

ANASTASIA SAKKA (ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΑ ΣΑΚΚΑ; University of Edinburgh, Greece): Mass Housing Policies in a Developing World; the case of Islamabad
The mid of the preceding century found the world in a frenzy of development and modernization, the implementation of which had been solidly based on the idea of housing. From the one hand, there have been the actual and consistently augmenting housing needs, originated in a series of definitive events, including the reconstruction of the devastated urban centres due to the World War II, the intense industrialization, which was followed by a respectively intense urbanization and a gradual rise of people's income status, as well as the population's increase per se. On the other hand, housing policies prevailed as the ultimate expression and a solid proof of the attention that masses finally deserved and were about to be offered; a catholic, however, directed agitation, both at a social and economic level was also about to be achieved. In a sense, people would be able of crossing the threshold of modernity, by means of crossing the threshold of their own home.
The present paper aims to explore the idea of social engineering, by means of mass housing policies, taking under consideration the case study of Islamabad, the new Federal Capital of Pakistan. In the aftermath of its gained independence the country needed a new capital city, but most and above all required a new society. The empty grounds of the Potwar Plateau were meant to be the theatre of action for the Pakistani political leadership in order to establish a new social pattern, through the actual pattern of the new urban scheme. Housing policies constituting simultaneously an answer to specific needs and an instrument for modern development had been offered to the Pakistani people as an inseparable entity; and it was certain that they could not resist to the idea of home.
Keywords: mass housing, modernization, social engineering

MICHAEL ASGAARD ANDERSEN (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark): Affordable Housing in Denmark
This paper will explore contemporary affordable housing (sometimes called social housing or public housing) in Denmark. The aim is to explore and unfold the status of affordable housing in the most progressive projects currently being designed and built. The focus will be on architectural and social aspects of the projects’ apartments as well as communal areas.
I will focus the research paper on three projects by leading Danish architects, namely Dortheavej Housing by BIG, The Orient by Dorte Mandrup, and Circle House by Fællestegnestuen (3XN/GXN, Vandkunsten and Lendager Group). Furthermore, I will analyze a recent article by Dorte Mandrup on affordable housing.
With this paper, I would like to contribute to a discussion on contemporary affordable housing in an urban setting – represented by three projects, where regulations are many and budgets are tight. I would like to address what the projects offer in furthering our understanding of what it means to inhabit in a sustainable manner today.
Keywords: affordable housing, sustainable living, contemporary building, Danish architecture

IRA VERMA (Aalto University, Finland): Housing Design for All: Aging in an urban context: a case study
The feeling of inclusion is an important factor for life satisfaction and wellbeing at old age. The housing design and neighbourhood planning can enhance social activity and mobility of persons who live in their own homes at very old age. This paper is presenting a doctoral dissertation on architecture focusing on the everyday living environments from the viewpoint of residents in different stages of aging process. The target of this qualitative study was to gain further knowledge on design features promoting age-friendly urban environment. The Universal Design principles were used as a means to assess the built environment.
The multiple case study method was implemented in three scales, 1) the neighbourhood, 2) immediate surroundings of apartment buildings and 3) shared spaces in a group home for people with cognitive decline. The case studies were carried out in Helsinki sub-urban area. Workshops and observational walking tours with residents as well as interviews and questionnaires targeted to older residents were used to assess the access to shared spaces in the neighbourhood. Self-reported experiences of residents increased the understanding of their challenges in everyday environment.
Short distances to local grocery’s shop, green environment and public transport require low physical effort from the older people and promote a self-contained life. Moreover, equitable use of the urban environment and communal services enhance cross-generational activities and access to meaningful places. The familiarity of the living environment may increase the intuitive use of the spaces for people with cognitive decline. Moreover, visual clues and perceptible information support wayfinding and navigation. Mix of land use, access to green areas and transport network are necessary when designing sustainable environments also for older people. The challenge is to develop intersectional collaboration within the municipal actors and other relevant local stakeholders to promote environment for all.
Keywords: housing design, universal design, urban planning, age-friendly