In 2020 a group of master students from the Utrecht University conducted academic research on the potential impact of Easy Housing as an international solution for affordable housing. The research can be downloaded or read below.

Easy Housing: a solution to sustainable and affordable housing?

 SUMMARY

Due to a growing population and migration from rural areas into urban areas, many cities are facing a severe shortage of housing, particularly for low- and middle-income earners. This affordable housing gap is especially severe in emerging economies. While the need for housing constitutes a social problem, the construction sector is very resource intensive and has adverse environmental effects. Consequently, there is not only a need for affordable housing but for sustainable and affordable housing. This exploratory research looks into the question, which obstacles the sustainable and affordable housing sector faces in emerging economies. For the assessment, we apply a framework based on the three sustainability dimensions – social, economic and environmental sustainability. The research looks into the housing sector in three different cities, namely Dhaka in Bangladesh, Lagos in Nigeria, and Port-au-Prince in Haiti. For the analysis, we used data from a broader literature search and conducted several interviews with people having experience in the respective cities.

We found that overall, sustainability does not play an important role in affordable housing provision and that its sustainability is severely limited by various issues, like corruption in the housing provision process, a mismatch between the price of housing developments and the actual purchasing power of the target group, a lack of funding and financing opportunities and cultural preferences for resource-intensive material like concrete. Based on our findings, we then look at Easy Housing, a concept that aims to provide a sustainable and affordable solution to housing applicable in various contexts and assess some challenges and opportunities it would face in an emerging economies context.

While there are some similarities that become visible across the three case studies, it also becomes clear that there is no universal answer on how to approach sustainability in an emerging economies context. The whole lifecycle of the Easy Housing concept could not be assessed as it only the sustainability of the structure is ensured while the sustainability of the rest of the process is unclear. The concept has opportunities to offer a short-term solution for housing but in long-term the emphasis should be on local supply chains. Easy housing certainly has potential to fill in the gaps in sustainable and affordable housing in emergent economies, but further research needs to be done on the context of where it will be provided. It should also be noted that sustainability is measured from a Western perspective while the housing and sustainability needs differ among cultures. From empirical data it has become clear that community and collective action is of great importance to take into account. With determination, willingness and a lot of patience to engage in the local communities the concept could be accepted anywhere.

SAMENVATTING

Door een groeiende migratie vanuit het platteland naar stedelijke gebieden hebben veel steden nu te maken met een ernstig tekort aan woningen, dit is vooral het geval voor mensen met een laag tot gemiddeld inkomen. Hoewel het tekort aan betaalbare woningen een sociaal probleem is, is de bouwsector een van de meeste vervuilende sectoren en het gevolg hiervan dat het een impact heeft op het milieu. Hierdoor is niet alleen de betaalbaarheid van huizen een probleem, maar is er ook vraag naar duurzame woningen. In dit onderzoek wordt gekeken naar de vraag met welke obstakels de duurzame en betaalbare woning sector te maken heeft in landen met een ontwikkelende economie. Om dit te beoordelen passen we een wetenschappelijk kader toe dat gebaseerd is op de drie dimensies van duurzaamheid – sociale, economische en ecologische duurzaamheid. De woningsector in drie verschillende steden wordt onderzocht: Dhaka in Bangladesh, Lagos in Nigeria en Port-au-Prince in Haïti. Voor de analyse is er data verkregen door een uitgebreid literatuuronderzoek en er zijn meerdere interviews afgenomen met mensen die ervaring hebben in de desbetreffende steden.

We hebben geconstateerd dat duurzaamheid geen belangrijke rol speelt in de voorziening van woningen en dat de duurzaamheid ervan ernstig wordt gelimiteerd. Dit is het gevolg van verschillende beperkingen zoals corruptie in het voorziening proces, een discrepantie tussen de prijs van de ontwikkeling van de woningen en de daadwerkelijke koopkracht van de doelgroep, het tekort aan financiering en financiële mogelijkheden en culturele voorkeuren voor materiaal met een hoge ecologische impacts zoals beton. Het doel van het concept is om een duurzame en betaalbare oplossing te bieden en we kijken of dit toegepast kan worden op verschillende contexten en de verschillende obstakels en mogelijkheden te beoordelen die het kan tegenkomen in de context van opkomende economieën.

Hoewel er enkele overeenkomsten zichtbaar worden in de drie casussen, wordt het ook duidelijk dat er geen algemeen antwoord is over hoe duurzaamheid moet worden benaderd in een context van opkomende economieën. De hele levenscyclus van het Easy Housing-concept kon niet worden beoordeeld, aangezien alleen de duurzaamheid van de constructie bekend is, terwijl de duurzaamheid van het gehele proces onduidelijk is. Het concept biedt kansen om op korte termijn een oplossing te bieden voor het tekort aan woningen, maar op lange termijn moet de nadruk meer liggen op lokale toeleveringsketens. Er bestaan kansen voor Easy Housing, maar meer onderzoek is nodig naar de locatie waar het concept start. De kansen en uitdagen die voor Easy Housing bestaan, zijn namelijk erg context afhankelijk. Een kanttekening is dat duurzaamheid wordt gemeten vanuit een westers perspectief, terwijl de behoeften op het gebied van huisvesting en duurzaamheid verschillen tussen culturen. Uit empirische gegevens is gebleken dat gemeenschaps- en collectieve acties van groot belang zijn. Met vastberadenheid, bereidheid en veel geduld om deel te nemen aan de lokale gemeenschappen kan het concept overal worden geaccepteerd.

 

 

INHOUDSOPGAVE

    1. Problem description 7

    2. Relevance of problem for the client 8

    3. Definition of terminology used 9

    4. Research questions 10

  1. Methodology 12

    1. Introducing an assessment framework 12

    2. Data collection 12

      1. Literature review 12

      2. Interviews 13

      3. Survey 14

        2.3. Explanation of integration process 15

  2. Assessment framework 17

    1. Operationalisation 19

      1. Economic sustainability 19

      2. Social sustainability 20

      3. Environmental sustainability 21

  3. Case studies 23

    1. Lagos, Nigeria 23

    2. Dhaka, Bangladesh 24

    3. Port au Prince, Haiti 24

  4. Results 26

    1. Application of assessment framework to the case studies 26

      1. Economic sustainability 26

      2. Social sustainability 31

      3. Environmental sustainability 38

  1. Integration: Affordable and sustainable housing in emerging economies and the application of easy housing in practice 41

    1. Connecting the three sustainability dimensions for Dhaka, Lagos and Port-au-Prince 41

    2. Opportunities and challenges of Easy Housing in the context of emerging economies 45

  1. Discussion 47

  2. Conclusion 50

  1. Sources 51

  2. Appendix 59

Appendix – l: Interview guidelines 60

Appendix – II: Survey questions 62

 

 

 

Lists of Figures & Tables

 

Figure 1. Flow diagram

Figure 2. Assessment framework modified from Oyebanji et al. (2017) & Gan et al. (2017) Figure 3. Map (https://mapchart.net/world.html/)

 

Table 1. List of interviews

Table 2. Operationalisation of economic sustainability Table 3. Operationalisation of social sustainability

Table 4. Operationalisation of environmental sustainability Table 5. Overview of the results

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

     

    1. Problem description

      World population is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades – with projections assuming that population size will not reach its peak until around 2100 (United Nations, 2020). Population growth and urbanisation are responsible for an immense pressure on demand for affordable and sustainable housing (King et al., 2017). This challenge is particularly visible in cities, where growing demand negatively influences affordable housing availability (Zhang, 2016). Especially in developing countries, this has led to the emergence of informal settlements causing a “serious and common problem” (Nassar & Elsayed, 2018, p. 2367). Having access to adequate shelter “is fundamental to physical and financial security, economic productivity, healthy communities and human well-being” (King et al., 2017, p. 2). This housing gap affects approximately 330 million households (King et al., 2017). Therefore, to provide affordable, adequate housing for all is an urgent need that hits developing countries the most due to limited resources, lack of knowledge and experience in housing (Zhang, 2008).

      In addition, there is a need for more sustainable housing. The construction sector is one of the most resource-intensive sectors concerning raw materials, water and energy. Thus, it is of great environmental concern (Akadiri et al., 2012; Almeida et al., 2018). A vast amount of the energy needed is associated with the prominent materials used in the building sector, such as cement or steel. In 2018, the construction sector was responsible for “36% of final energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions” (IEA & UNEP, 2018, p. 9). Therefore, one important aspect to sustainable housing is the reduction of resource input, particularly energy-, water- or material input (Almeida et al., 2018; Horne & Hayles, 2008).

      A rethinking of design of human settlements is crucial not only for mitigating climate change but also to absorb the most severe effects of climate change (Hales et al., 2007). This relates not only to a need to reduce emissions caused by construction but also by occupation of the house (Horne & Hayles, 2008). Sustainability questions in the housing sector have therefore gained momentum in the last decades (Horne & Hayles, 2008). However, so far improvements made in these realms were not able to outpace a growing demand in housing (IEA & UNEP, 2018).

      Furthermore, many authors point to the multidimensional characteristics of sustainability, not only including environmental questions, but also social and economic aspects (e.g. Akadiri et al., 2012; Ortiz et al., 2009; Salama & Alshuwaikhat, 2006). Particularly in the developing world, a lack of

      adequate shelter has numerous consequences, e.g. overcrowding, physical insecurities or health problems to name a few (Du Plessis, 2001; Hales et al., 2007; King et al., 2017).

      In 2009, emerging economies were responsible for almost 60% of total CO2 emissions caused by the global construction sector with China bearing the biggest share (Huang et al., 2018). When it comes to sustainable housing, there is often only limited recognition of the very little environmental impact that informal settlements have compared to housing development projects (Devi et al., 2017; Du Plessis, 2001). Here, a trade-off between economic, environmental and social sustainability becomes visible. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovation in the sustainable construction sector: the use of less resource and energy intensive materials in connection to a limited investment capacity of a majority of people poses a major challenge to the housing sector.

      Due to its multidimensional nature, the issue of sustainable and affordable housing is a very complex problem. Salama and Alshuwaikhat (2006) criticise prior research on sustainable and affordable housing for as it often defines affordable housing in economic terms and neglects the importance of social and environmental concerns. “It is apparent that a new paradigm of thinking is emerging where no one theory or discipline would have the upper hand in developing a comprehensive understanding of sustainable affordable housing” (Salama & Alshuwaikhat, 2006,

      p. 47). In this sense, the nexus between affordable and sustainable housing requires input from a diverse range of disciplines complementing each other in order to find appropriate solutions to the prevalent housing crisis.

       

    2. Relevance of problem for the client

      In the past decades, many innovations and instruments have arisen in order to tackle the housing problem (Zhang, 2008). Easy Housing is a non-governmental organization, which attempts to offer a solution to the worldwide housing crisis. The organisation provides the people locally (e.g. developers or governments) with the materials to build the basic house structure. This structure consists of engineered wood and does not require skilled labour as all material is prefabricated and can easily be put together with only a drill on-site. All materials needed besides the basic structure – like material for walls, however, need to be can then be sourced locally. Additionally, the housing concept is circular as it can be demounted and rebuilt at a different location if needed. The floor plans are flexible, and the concept is adaptable to different climatic conditions (Easy Housing, n.d.). Like this, Easy Housing aims to be an affordable sustainable wooden concept that can be shipped all over the world.

      However, as the literature on the subject of affordable sustainable housing shows, for a sustainable housing solution to be successful, the three dimensions of sustainability need to be taken

      into consideration. The nexus between economic, environmental and social issues is highly relevant and therefore any housing concept targeting an emerging economies’ context must be in line with the complex needs and demands of the housing sector there. To analyse the applicability and usefulness of the Easy Housing concept in emerging economies, the concept should be evaluated in terms of economic, environmental and social components of sustainability.

       

    3. Definition of terminology used

      When it comes to sustainable affordable housing in emerging economies, it is important to define what it means. Emerging economies are low-income but rapid developing countries that meet the criteria of rapid economic development, government policies favouring economic liberalization and the adoption of a free-market system (Hoskisson et al., 2000). It is important to consider this broad definition as a simple reference point since across countries economic growth and the nature of government policies can differ substantially. Hence, the taxonomy of an emerging economy serves the purpose of narrowing down the scope of the countries examined throughout this paper.

      Beyond the geographical aspect, affordability and sustainability are ubiquitous terms worth defining. Affordability in the context of this study is a measure of the financial capability of a household to access housing (be it by purchase or rent) with relation to the household’s income (Adabre et al., 2020). Moreover, affordability entails that housing costs and other basic living costs of the households are not mutually exclusive. In other words, for a housing unit to be affordable, the household must have sufficient slack to also cover other living expenses (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

      Affordability at the same time is only one component of the larger economic sustainability in housing that focuses on financial accessibility to housing. Economic sustainability looks at other important factors that include the existence or lack of funding opportunities usually put in place by government authorities to enable both public and private sectors to supply enough housing for communities, the accessibility to mortgages and credit for housing, an efficient use of resources that deals with minimizing future maintenance and expansion costs of a housing unit, as well as effective legal frameworks that ensure that housing provision is efficient (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

      Social sustainability in certain studies refers to the opportunity of equal access to affordable housing for the target population (Gan et al., 2017). Local culture and customs also represent an important aspect of social sustainability. The design of the housing unit as well as the characteristics of the neighbourhood that will shape social interactions should be context-specific to meet the needs of residents are important aspects of social acceptability and suitability. (Pullen et al., 2009). In contrast to quantitative criteria, analysing the social component requires a deep understanding of cultural conservation needs, asymmetries in stakeholder powers within a community and the

      opportunities to access opportunities (healthcare, education, jobs, skills, etc.) as a result of how housing is conceived (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

      The third component of sustainability in housing in this research is environmental sustainability. It encompasses a thorough evaluation of conditions related to the built environment where housing is built, such as disaster resistance of the location, potential natural risks and the resilience of the materials to cope with these risks (Choi & Seo, 2002). Additionally, the internal environmental conditions of the house are closely linked to the socio-economic context that will play an important role in water accessibility and energy efficiency. The method of construction itself will also determine the interaction of households with their environment depending on the structure, the installed physical facilities in place (type of roof material, floor, rainfall collection) and how they interact or meet the social and economic needs specific to a certain location.

      The relevance of the above definitions for this study is to have a framework that highlights the interdependence of the 3 sustainability dimensions in emerging economies. In other words, the economic viability of a housing project can only be successful if it also addresses cultural demands of the local context, just as environmental soundness of a project plays a major role in ensuring resilience to environmental change but also plays a role in how the built environment will impact social interactions of residents.

       

    4. Research questions

      With regard to the environmental impact of the construction sector as well as the growing demand for housing, the housing crisis receives a lot of attention from scholars and practitioners in the field. This exploratory research aims to deliver combined knowledge of the two fields by conceptualising sustainable and affordable housing in emerging economies and by comparing these contextualities to an existing solution to affordable and sustainable housing. Our research question therefore is:

       

      What obstacles does sustainable and affordable housing face in emerging economies?

       

      In order to answer our main question, we make use of three sub-questions. By doing so, we aim to first understand what sustainable and affordable housing means in emerging economies. Afterwards, we apply this to three case studies – three cities of our choosing that show a variety of different characteristics, but can all be subsumed under emerging economies. Lastly, with the knowledge obtained, we want to evaluate the Easy Housing concept within these contexts. Our sub-questions are as follows:

      1. How can sustainable and affordable housing be defined in emerging economies?

      2. What does sustainable and affordable housing look like in practice in the cities of Dhaka, Lagos and Port-au-Prince?

      3. What challenges and opportunities would the Easy Housing concept face in the housing sector in emerging economies?

         

        In the next section, we explain the methodology used to obtain information and data for answering the three sub-questions. To define sustainable and affordable housing in emerging economies we will make use of a framework that we will further present in chapter 3. In the subsequent chapter, we will present the results of sub-question 2, followed by an integration of our results for sub- question 3. Finally, we will discuss our findings, mention some limitations and give recommendations for the Easy Housing concept in the context of emerging economies.

  2. METHODOLOGY

     

    This section elaborated on the methodology used for this study, it presents a guideline throughout this research.

     

    1. Introducing an assessment framework

      In order to answer the first sub-question on how sustainable affordable housing could be understood, a framework was put together. For each of the three sustainability subsystems, frameworks that address important factors to examine when it comes to supplying sustainable and affordable housing were collected. To find these frameworks, several search engines were used, e.g. Google Scholar and Scopus. In the selection procedure, frameworks were prioritized based on how comprehensive they were, how detailed in their descriptions of specific criteria and their potential usefulness and applicability in the context of emerging economies and climate change. We evaluated the selected frameworks in the context of our study and the understanding of the three sustainability subsystems, and, based on this, developed a framework by combining and modifying the most applicable frameworks.

       

    2. Data collection

      In this study, a mixed-methods approach was used in order to answer the sub-questions. The indicators for economic and social sustainability were examined through literature review with complementing interviews. The interviews were helpful to better answer and understand indicators that are more experience-based, since more local experience information is hard to find in scientific literature. Furthermore, for environmental sustainability only a literature review was conducted, since these indicators are more based on facts than on subjective experiences.

       

          1. Literature review

            A literature review was conducted to understand the different indicators presented in the subsystems. In this research, different forms of literature were used, including “academic and professional journal articles, books and web-based resources” (Rowley, Jennifer, Slack, Frances, 2004, p. 31). In order to find relevant literature, different search engines were used, e.g. Google Scholar and Scopus. In addition, to understand the environmental sustainability issues, databases of the International Energy Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization have been consulted.

          2. Interviews

            In order to give a broad understanding of our case studies, complementary interviews were needed. For the economic and social sustainability subsystems, interviews were extremely insightful to answer experience-based questions and to validate the outcomes of the literature review against empirical input from the interviewees. For the environmental sustainability subsystem, only information was mainly extracted from hard scientific data that served as a reference point hence not necessarily with room for subjective interpretation. For every subsystem, eight interview requests were sent out to experts. In order to harness the opportunity to talk to interviewees, we used the ‘snowball technique’ as a means of “seeking additional interview leads from one’s interviewees” (Bleich & Pekkanen, 2013, p. 87).

            For the economic and social sustainability subsystems, complementary interviews were needed to better understand obstacles and opportunities for sustainable affordable housing in the context of our case studies. We approached various experts using different means. We contacted experts with an academic background as well as practitioners through emails found on papers, researchers networks websites, LinkedIn profiles and contacts provided by our client. An overview of our interview partners is presented in table 1.

            It is important to mention that among interviewees, some were not only researchers on housing. At least one had also gone through the process of buying a house and one more took charge of the development of a construction project, therefore having also an on the ground personal experience with housing. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that a potential bias from interviewees not having experienced this might be present in the responses obtained.

            All the interviews were done on a semi-structured basis where the interviewees remain anonymous. The interview guidelines can be found in appendix 1. The interview guideline contained questions on both social and economic sustainability. In order to obtain as much information as possible and given the short time span to conduct the interviews and translate them into results, in every interview we asked questions on both social and economic sustainability. The interviews were conducted online via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. One interview partner answered our guide in a written format. In terms of privacy, the interviewees were asked for consent to be recorded so the recording could be transcribed afterwards.

            Throughout the paper, we will refer to interviews by the number (#1,#2,#3,etc…) assigned in

            the table below to avoid having a text overload.

            Table 1. List of interviews

             

          3. Survey

      A survey was designed for the social sustainability subsystem to better understand the ‘suitability’ and ‘stakeholder participation’ indicators in the context of community participation, since this is experience-related and hard to find in literature. Many previously conducted studies assess this type of information by conducting a survey amongst residents using a Likert scale from 1 to 5 (very dissatisfied to very satisfied) (e.g. Ibem & Aduwo, 2013). The surveys were distributed on local Facebook groups of the three cities. Noticing that the response rate was almost non-existent, we adapted our survey to a more simplified version and requested some of our interviewees with access

      to local networks to share the surveys via Whatsapp1. Like this, we aimed to generate a more personalized connection between potential respondents and the person sharing the survey to increase the response rate. Furthermore, to reach all respondents, the survey was translated into French for Haiti.

      Running into various challenges distributing the survey, the data will not be used in the results section but only as supplementary information in the discussion.

       

      2.3. Explanation of integration process

      In order to answer our main research question, we decomposed it into three sub questions as shown in the integration diagram below (see figure 1).

      The first sub-question aims at narrowing down the concept of what affordable and sustainable housing means given the lack of consensus in the literature revised. As a result, we therefore built our own research framework that broadly looks at sustainable housing from three angles: economic, social and environmental sustainability.

      To move from the theoretical perspective to a more empirical approach on our framework, our second sub-question applies our modified framework in three emerging cities with a rapid demand for housing. By doing so, we aim to gain insight into the sustainability in the affordable housing sector in each of the cities and at the same time test how useful our framework proves in the context of emerging economies.

      Lastly, we evaluated the Easy Housing concept of our client in the light of our results, to identify the challenges and opportunities sustainable and affordable housing faces in the case studies. With this information, we were able to formulate observations and recommendations for our client. By condensing the information from the three sub-questions, we aimed to arrive at a comprehensive answer to which obstacles sustainable and affordable housing faces in emerging economies.

       

      image

       

      1 We did not have any contacts for Port-au-Prince at that point, which is why this approach was only taken for Lagos and Dhaka.

       

      image

       

      Figure 1. Flow diagram

  3. ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK

     

    To answer the research questions presented in the introduction, the following integrated assessment framework was used. In scientific literature, a multitude of frameworks to assess sustainable and affordable housing can be found (e.g. Adabre et al., 2020; Gan et al., 2017; Nair et al., 2005; Oyebanji et al., 2017; Wallbaum et al., 2012). Those frameworks share an understanding of sustainability in the affordable housing sector in terms of the three sustainability dimensions: economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Each dimension is considered equally important. For the purpose of our research, we consulted various frameworks and eventually combined two frameworks, developed by Oyebanji et al. (2017) and (Gan et al., 2017), to have a modified framework that is useful for and within the scope of our research questions. According to prior research, our framework is based on the three sustainability dimensions. The indicators presented in the framework will be used to understand the characteristics of sustainable and affordable housing in our case studies.

    For economic sustainability, the framework by Oyebanji et al. (2017) was most suitable. Their methodology comprises both desk and field work, where desk work consisted of document analysis ranging from journal papers to government reports and PhD theses and field work took place in the form of a questionnaire survey. The outcome of this analysis was a selection of eight criteria prioritized by appearance frequency and weight given in the surveys. From the eight criteria, we selected five (see figure 2 below) considering the availability of data but also the relevance in the context of our case studies.

    Social sustainability in literature often includes many characteristics that are not relevant for our research. For instance, Oyebanji et al. (2017) and Gan et al. (2017) refer amongst others to access to institutions like education or health care or community development, which are not relevant for the purpose of this research. For this reason, we additionally drew upon the conceptualisation of social sustainability provided by Atanda (2019). The author gives an overview about different dimensions important for social sustainability. In the light of this research, we decided to focus on ‘cultural value’ and ‘participation and control’. With these two general categories in mind, indicators from the two before-mentioned frameworks were chosen that fit under these categories.

    To address environmental sustainability, the framework of Gan et al. (2017) was most suitable. Again, keeping in mind the focus of our research and time constraints, we selected a small number of indicators which can be seen in Figure 2 below.

     

    image

     

    Figure 2. Assessment framework modified from Oyebanji et al. (2017) & Gan et al. (2017).

     

    1. Operationalisation

      This section elaborates on the operationalisation of the independent variables presented in the assessment framework above.

       

          1. Economic sustainability

            Affordability is considered the most critical economic factor when it comes to providing sustainable housing. It is a precondition for low- and middle-income households to meet their housing needs in a way that their financial capability is not compromised and that they can still meet other basic living costs (Oyebanji et al., 2017). Sani & Rahim (2015) state that housing is often considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of their gross income. Therefore, this is examined for every case research.

            Second, adequate housing and funding is considered to be an important factor for sustainable and adequate funding and provisions. Provision points to active and direct government involvement and intervention in ensuring funding is available, for example, through rent subsidies, mortgage finance, housing benefits and services schemes that support household’s needs (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

            Thirdly, economic design and efficient use of resources is regarded as important to ensure economic sustainability of housing. The efficiency of resources is crucial, resulting in minimal future maintenance and expansion costs (Oyebanji et al., 2017). In order to reduce whole-life construction costs, certain aspects such as material consumption and maintenance have to be taken into account (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

            Finally, effective legal and policy frameworks are indispensable for sustainable affordable housing. Oyebanji et al. (2017)suggest that “effective policy and legal frameworks are necessary for ensuring low sustainability costs, standards, and construction techniques that have the potential for providing multiple benefits for residents and the wider population” (p. 220).

             

            Table 2. Operationalisation of economic sustainability

             

          2. Social sustainability

            First, cultural and heritage conservation is considered to be a relevant indicator for sustainable affordable housing. (Chiu, 2004) suggests that the way that the housing construction sector developed mirrors the adaptation of the people living in a certain context to the conditions prevalent there. However, the author also suggests that quantitative measuring for cultural and heritage conservation might not be appropriate. Hereby, “external housing forms and the housing structure are results of the availability of building resources, climatic conditions, construction capability of the inhabitant and aesthetics of the specific communities over specific periods of time” (Chiu, 2004,

            p. 75). We therefore aim to understand how the material used reflects the cultural as well as the climatic context.

            Second, social acceptability can be defined as “the acceptability of a development” for instance by the community or by local or state government (Pullen et al., 2009, p. 87). To understand the acceptability of sustainability in affordable housing, we therefore use information to what extent sustainability is considered by public housing providers and by the target population.

            Next, suitability can be understood in terms of residential satisfaction to dwelling unit characteristics also related to cultural compatibility. This understanding is based on a variety of studies that has been carried out in sustainable housing research (e.g. Azimi & Esmaeilzadeh, 2017; Djebarni & Al‐Abed, 2000; Ibem & Aduwo, 2013; Riazi & Emami, 2018).

            For stakeholder participation is defined as in how stakeholders are involved in the whole process for the provision of housing. The interactions between them are assessed in this research.

            For sustainable housing to be achievable all the stakeholders have to work together.it is also important to look at the involvement of the local communities and how they are involved in this process (Oyebanji et al., 2017).

            The last indicator, skills acquisition and job opportunities are taken together because the accessibility to these indicators is measured. The opportunities to obtain skills and for employment should be available near the housing area. The lack of these opportunities will put a strain on the affordability of housing which has a negative impact on social sustainability. Accessibility is measured in terms of available opportunities in the area and if they are easily accessible (Mulliner & Maliene, 2011).

             

            Table 3. Operationalisation of social sustainability

             

          3. Environmental sustainability

      First, disaster resistance is considered to be important for affordable sustainable housing, since disasters affect the life cycle of the house. To ensure long-lasting housing secure from natural disasters, extra maintenance can be necessary. Housing structures are hereby most vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding (Génova et al., 2018). We therefore focus on these two types of natural disaster to evaluate in our research for the indicator disaster resistance proposed by Gan et al. (2017).

      In this indicator, earthquakes and floods are analysed. To be sustainable, housing needs to be able to withstand such natural catastrophes. As Easy Housing only provides the basic structure for housing, but resilience is also influenced by further material use, we cannot directly test its lifecycle. Thus, the analysis of this indicator looks into the vulnerability of our case studies to earthquakes and flooding. In locations with high risk of disasters, more attention is needed for the structure and maintenance of the house. To understand how natural disasters can affect environmental sustainability, the operationalisation presented in Table 4 is utilized.

      Second, the efficiency of water and energy use is crucial for understanding the environmental sustainability of housing (United Nations, 2014). Water efficiency is examined in measuring water stress levels. Energy efficiency is evaluated by energy import & export and energy access.

       

      Table 4. Operationalisation of environmental sustainability

       

      1. Consider risks of earthquake magnitude to wooden housing. In addition, analyse the earthquake record of the case studies with this standard (Choi & Seo, 2002).

      2. Considers the risks of flooding. Used indicators would refer to life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) (Balasbaneh et al.,

  4. CASE STUDIES

     

    This section provides background information on the three cities selected as case studies to represent emerging economies. The Easy Housing concept is developed for emerging economies, which can be defined as low-income, but rapidly developing countries with economic liberalization as their main growth strategy (Hoskisson et al., 2000). Given the limited scope of this research in terms of time to cover the vast heterogeneity in emerging economies, we agreed with our client upon certain criteria to choose our case studies. The first criteria was geographical representation, therefore we picked countries from different continents: Asia (South), Africa (West) and Central America (see figure 3). The second selection criteria was to pick countries with current and expected high demand for housing in the future as a result of a rapidly increasing population. The third criteria was to select countries that faced some kind of climate change-related vulnerability or exposure. Finally, it was also agreed that one of the countries analysed be an island, in order to evaluate if being more isolated would have an impact on how imports of prefabricated housing structures would be conceived, in contrast to countries with continental connections. As a result, the cities of Lagos in Nigeria, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Port-au-Prince in Haiti were selected as the ones covering all criteria mentioned above and hence the most suitable for our study.

     

    1. Lagos, Nigeria

       

      In the last two decades, the rate of urbanization has been increasing in Nigeria. Now over 40% of the Nigerian population live in urban centres which has led to severe housing problems (Olugbenga & Adekemi, 2013). Until 1991, Lagos was the administrative capital of Nigeria and today it remains the major economic hub in West-Africa. With a population of 21 million in the Metropolitan area it is the biggest city in the whole African continent (Babalola et al., 2020). By the end of the century, Lagos is expected to host 88 million people, making it the world’s largest city (Wallace & Alake, 2019). In this metropolitan area the population growth has resulted in an extreme housing shortage and the existing houses are not adequate (Olugbenga & Adekemi, 2013). Government efforts to meet the housing needs of the citizens have failed. Not only in quantity but also quality (Babalola et al., 2020). In Nigeria this is the result of several factors besides population growth, which will be examined in this research. In addition, Lagos is a low-lying coastal city which means it has implications on storm water management and flooding control. The majority of the population in Lagos is the urban poor who are transforming the city to meet their needs in an informal way which goes against the official laws (Olugbenga & Adekemi, 2013). From other researches it is seen that Lagos is a good example

      for other cities in Nigeria. Measures and approaches in urban studies that work on Lagos have a big potential to be effective in the other cities.

       

    2. Dhaka, Bangladesh

       

      Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh has been experiencing tremendous urban growth in the last few decades. As the largest city of Bangladesh with a population of 8.9 million in the city and 21 million in the Greater Dhaka Area (Alam, 2018). The city has had a housing shortage since the 1970s due to the population increase (Kamruzzaman, 2019). The inflowing people are often low- and middle-class workers. These people often have no choice but to settle in informal housing and slums. These settlements are unsafe and more prone to ecological hazards. The city’s infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the influx of people (Xu, 2019). For higher income citizens there is a surplus in the housing market while the lower income citizens struggle with the shortage of affordable housing. The residential areas in the city have changed with the rapid urbanization. The traditional housing form has undergone many radical transformations. With the increasing housing demand, multi- storied apartments are replacing single storied independent houses (Kamruzzaman, 2019).

       

    3. Port au Prince, Haiti

      Port-au-Prince, the biggest city and capital of Haiti and has undergone rapid urbanization increasing from 21% of the population living in urban areas in 29180 to 59% in 2015. It is estimated that 74% of the urban population lives in slums. For Port-au-Prince it is estimated that 2.2 million people of the 3 million people living in the metropolitan area live in slums. This is mainly a result of the 2010 earthquake where the people who lost their houses got relocated into tent camps (McNairy et al., 2019). More than 200,000 houses were destroyed or damaged during the earthquake in 2010 in Haiti. Most of the new homes built are outside Port au Prince because it was easier to obtain land. After the earthquake millions of dollars were donated but few houses were built. The focus was too much on building houses on donor money instead of developing a local affordable housing market which could be sustained after the donor funding ended. It was recognized that for long term economic recovery and development, engaging the local private sector was an important factor (Nielsen, 2020).

       

      image

       

      Figure 3. Map (https://mapchart.net/world.html/)

       

  5. RESULTS

     

    This section elaborates on the results in the three different dimensions of sustainability. To answer sub-question two, per dimension the indicators are discussed for the three cities: Dhaka, Lagos and Port-au-Prince. Subsequently, to answer sub-question three, the Easy Housing concept is evaluated in terms of challenges and opportunities in the three cities.

     

    1. Application of assessment framework to the case studies

 

      1. Economic sustainability

         

        Indicator 1: Adequate funding and provision

         

        Dhaka

        In Dhaka, there is a fragmented policy response to housing needs between the public and private housing supply. Despite a commitment to providing housing for all by 2021, the government meets only 7% of the annual housing demand and relies on the private sector to fill the gap (Rahman, 2019). However, private housing supply focuses on catering upper and upper-middle-income households. When it comes to housing finance, state-owned finance providers lack funds to offer mortgage and the private market is limited to 10-year bonds financing with extremely high interest rates that almost double the initial cost of the property to purchase (Interviewee#1).

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, the government introduced a ‘rent-to own’ program in 2016 whereby potential homeowners make a 5% down payment to take possession of the house and pay the remaining balance with a relatively small interest in the form of rent over a 10 year period (Wallace & Alake, 2019).

        In the private market, only around 50,000 home mortgages are available in the whole country, making it almost impossible for most Nigerians to access home loans from banks or other private financial institutions (Wallace, 2019). When they do, rising inflation in the country is so severe that banks charge 20% on the loan just to cover for this effect. As a result, households that have access to mortgages use them to build a dwelling on their own ‘bit by bit’, what is commonly known as progressive or incremental construction, just like families without mortgage would do as well. As a

        result, the mortgage doesn’t really make the difference between owning a house at once or having

        to build it themselves (Interviewee#3; Interviewee#4).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        In Port-au-Prince, housing in urban areas is financed by family savings and remittances (Huynh et al., 2013). Haiti has one of the lowest ratios of private sector credit to GDP in the world. Moreover, residential mortgages constitute only 8.3% of all mortgages. Private banks are extremely risk averse and have issued almost no debt for affordable housing. The little finance that exists has high interest rates or requires exorbitant collaterals, sometimes equal to the amount of the loan itself. Documentation includes proof of up to three years of formal employment, land title and additional assets, which are impossible for most Haitians to provide (Huynh et al., 2013). The lack of a proper mortgage market is even more deplorable because of two reasons: First, people in Haiti have been accumulating savings since the earthquake. Hence, they do have a certain amount of capital but cannot invest it further. Second, many Haitians pay rent, thus a scheme where monthly payment would be made to a bank in exchange for ownership instead of rent that bleeds out their income is a possible scheme (Interviewee#8).

        In recent years, housing microfinance has become an emergent tool to target low-income borrowers but only covers 1% of the population. Moreover, the amounts assigned through microfinance are only enough to build additions to the house or to make improvements, but they do not cover the expenses to build a complete house (Interviewee#8).

        Finally, subsidy systems for poor people in Haiti do not consider many families that are in great need of assistance if they were not displaced or own a house in a neighbourhood targeted by a reconstruction program after the 2010 earthquake (Huynh et al., 2013). In other words, people who were not necessarily affected by the earthquake but that still have a precarious living situation are relatively more excluded than people who were direct victims of the earthquake (Interviewee#6).

         

        Indicator 2: Affordability

         

        Dhaka

        Research of Sultana and Nazem (2020) shows that 92,9% of people working in industries spend at least 30% of their total income on housing. Therefore, these can be considered within the affordability limit. However, in these conditions it means that people are not able to save any money. While “based on the current housing finance system and only when the given loan covers housing cost with a low interest rates and over a long repayment period” (Sultana & Nazem, 2020, p. 323), it is possible for industry workers to afford housing in the peripheries of Dhaka, buying a house or

        apartment in Dhaka can be considered impossible for them. According to interviewee#2 and Shams et al. (2014), only the richest 5% of the population in Dhaka can buy a house due to very high land prices. In addition, a ready-to-built housing plot in Dhaka needs to be 1,050 sq. ft. or larger to receive a building permission from the RAJUK. “This would cost around Tk. 1,000,000 (equal to $12,600), which is equivalent to nearly 20 years of income for an average poor household (Tk. 3,000 per month). The cost of housing would be additional” (Shams et al., 2014, p. 180). Therefore, under the current housing policy, both renting and owning is unaffordable for low to middle income people in Dhaka.

         

        Lagos

        Housing is becoming more and more unaffordable in Lagos. Adeleke and Olaleye (2020) researched the affordability of housing in Lagos State. Findings revealed that most low-income civil servants find housing unaffordable; they need to take up extra jobs to afford housing. Additionally, “there’s a complete mismatch between affordability, what people can really afford to pay for a home, and the homes that are being delivered” (Interviewee#4). In the past, supposedly affordable housing developments have failed, as it is “common practice of starting to build houses without first findings out if there are sufficient off-takers, if the financing is clear or if the intended selling price is actually affordable” (Raschke, 2016, p. 10; see also interviewee#3, interviewee#4). According to interviewee#3 and Babalola et al. (2020), people in Nigeria are paying up to 60-80% of their income on housing, which is considered unaffordable. In addition, housing prices are still rising, while income remains stagnant (interviewee#3). Concluding, the benchmark of 30% for housing affordability is amply surpassed.

         

        Port-au-Prince

        In Port-au-Prince, after the earthquake 2010, housing prices doubled. Apartments that were rented out for 250US$ before the earthquake, increased to costs of around 450US$ (Joos, 2015). In addition, it is suggested that 85% of the urban population of Haiti lives in informal settlements, which are of low quality (Huynh et al., 2013). Only the elite minority can afford formal housing within the urban area, close to employment opportunities and existing communities (Huynh et al., 2013). Due to the high costs of housing, many families also build their own homes; these often are not finished because of a limited access to resources (Interviewee#5).

        Indicator 3: Efficient use of resources

         

        Dhaka

        In Dhaka, people prefer to build their homes with concrete, as it is perceived as more resistant to natural hazards than structures of other materials (Interviewee#2). According to interviewee#1, in urban areas buildings are often prone to fire and collapse. A famous example is the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory, which collapsed in 2013 due to lack of maintenance, killing over 1000 people (Safi & Rushe, 2018).

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, most dwelling units are over 20 years old and required minor repairs (Babalola et al., 2020). Also interviewee#3 emphasized and confirmed that housing in Lagos is of good quality. Therefore, housing in Lagos can be understood as structurally sound.

         

        Port-au-Prince

        Interviewee#8 pointed out that in Haiti there is a struggle in providing affordable housing structures, due to the high chance of collapse in consequence of seismic events. That results in a dilemma between aiming to provide housing that are within the economic needs of people living in Port-au- Prince but more prone to collapse during earthquakes, or aiming for better resilience, which often makes housing more expensive (interviewee#8). Moreover, building codes that are in place are not enforced; many people ignore them and build unsafe housings with the resources they have access to (interviewee#5, interviewee#6). In addition, there is a lack of resources in Haiti, for example there is a historic lack of wood. Other constraints for shifting in construction materials are the high import taxes and deforestation. It is proved easier to improve existing ways of building, instead of introducing new ways (Kijewski-Correa & Taflanidis, 2012). All these factors limit the efficiency of resource use in the construction sector.

         

        Indicator 4: Effective legal and policy frameworks

         

        Dhaka

        In Dhaka, for a number of years, suitable policies and measures for an efficient housing market were lacking. Resulting in a lack of housing provision for middle income housing, the government needed to take initiative to support the housing market by eliminating existing pressures on land supply and on the housing finance system (Farzana, 2004). In addition, the economic development of Bangladesh is strongly constrained by corruption and the lack of good governance (Interviewee#1).

        The absence of both components is identified as the main reason for the limited development of the metropolitan area of Dhaka. For example, “large numbers of housing projects, some even without formal approval, are mushrooming with high land value in Greater Dhaka under the illegal patronage of RAJUK officials” (Alam, 2018, p. 13). Therefore, RAJUK2 officials are known as a centre of corruption, only serving the rich and the powerful (Alam, 2018).

        The amount of land reserved for low income groups in current housing development projects by the RAJUKC are 1.2%,4.3% and 7.5%, even though this group represents the majority of the population. Not only is the public supply of land largely insufficient, but bureaucratic procedures to obtain the title, to register the property and the costs involved, add another layer of inaccessibility (Rahman, 2019).

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, there is a need to give financial and institutional certainty to project developers: Without a mass housing development, there will hardly be housing financing or the development of the mortgage market. Hence, financial issues are secondary to the need of a sound institutional framework only the government can provide (Interviewee#3). Additionally, there is a need for long term commitments to developers. A part of the problem is that pronouncements made to developers are not followed through when a new administration takes power (Interviewee#4).

        A second matter is that while people living in slums are not given the right to live there and infrastructure is not upgraded, people will live in fear of their living place being razed. Investing in the communities by means of modifying the current legal status of the people living there is fundamental (Wallace & Alake, 2019).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        In Port-au-Prince, the government established a National Housing Policy but does not provide directive statements as to how activities will be connected and coordinated, for example between the government and the private sector or the Haitian people, or between government entities (Huynh et al., 2013; Interviewee#6).

        A primary blockage to housing development is the poor availability of land for residential development and a lack of clear procedures to clarify title and facilitate land supply to private sector developers and households (Huynh et al., 2013). After the earthquake in 2010, the responsible ministry collapsed and registration on land ownership was lost causing a chaos for people who need

        image

         

        2 Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha- the Development Authority of the Government of Bangladesh, responsible for coordinating urban development in Dhaka

        to prove ownership but have no official way to do so. Consequently, they cannot access mortgages or even have permits to build (Interviewee#8). Moreover, paperwork is mostly in French, while the largest part of the population speaks Créole, making it a first obstacles for Haitians to access land or mortgages (Interviewee#8).

        Also, quality and pricing of housing are detached from the cost of construction. Without accountability for the quality of housing, homes end up poorly finished, located remotely, and without access to basic services. According to Oliver-Smith (2010) corruption in the country allowed buildings in the formal sector to have ”little engineering input and sub-standard construction”.

        In terms of financing, there are not enough checks and balances to protect lenders in the case of non-repayment. Without checks and balances that give certainty to the private sector that owns 55% of land, further development of the housing sector in Haiti for low- and middle-income families seems unlikely (Huynh et al., 2013).

         

      2. Social sustainability

         

        Indicator 5: Cultural and heritage conservation

         

        Dhaka

        In rural Bangladesh, people usually build houses with mud walls, bamboo, thatch and tin roofs, whereas in the cities, material like bricks, mortar and cement are more often used (Islam, 1996; interviewee#1). Bricks, however, are very expensive and only a small proportion of the population can afford them (Sinthia, 2013; interviewee#1). Consequently, in Dhaka a majority of poor households lives in houses using straw and bamboo as building material (Shams et al., 2014; Sinthia, 2013). However, people who can afford housing tend towards the use of concrete – Bangladesh is a young nation and a modern construction style has been adopted in Dhaka (interviewee#2). Often, maintenance problems and poor construction quality in housing in the city become visible through fires or collapse rather than natural disasters (interviewee#1). However, also the “designs of building [sic!] […] in Dhaka are not responsive to the requirements of Dhaka’s tropical climate” (Bahauddin et al., 2014, p. 122).

         

        Lagos

        In Nigeria, the reliance on cement as building material is relatively high. Cement is particularly used in sandcrete blocks, which are amongst the most popular building materials (Babalola et al., 2020; Interviewee#4). In Lagos itself, low-income people who live in slums use demountable materials as

        they are very cheap and easily accessible and movable, as informal settlements always run the risk of being displaced (interviewee#4). Also mud walls are commonly used (Iweka & Adebayo, 2010).

        However, these materials do not reflect the climatic conditions present in Lagos. Sandcrete blocks can heat up easily in warm places and therefore require a lot of cooling, mud walls require a lot of maintenance due to the high amount of rain in Lagos. However, there is barely any research on alternative and more sustainable building materials (Iweka & Adebayo, 2010; Interviewee#4). Iweka and Adebayo (2010) argue that “people exhibit ignorance of existing alternative building materials around them” (p. 107). This resulted in a predominant construction style that uses concrete structures and sandcrete blocks (Akande & Minami, 2017; Oluwaseun & Opaluwa, 2017; Raschke, 2016; interviewee#4).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        Traditionally, housing in Haiti have been built using vernacular architecture which is based on traditional construction techniques and locally available materials (Audefroy, 2011). Studies have shown that these constructions proved to be more resilient in the earthquake of 2010. In Port-au- Prince, many ‘modern’ constructions suffered more severe damage than buildings using ‘traditional’ wooden structures. A reason for this is that masons hired do not have the according skill set for building with concrete and steel, and that building construction and the material used itself are often of low quality (Audefroy, 2011; Kijewski-Correa & Taflanidis, 2012; interviewee#5; interviewee#6). Contrarily, traditional homes in Port-au-Prince using wood “are more resistant to earthquakes but also use local materials and response to the tropical climate conditions” (Audefroy, 2011, p. 453; see also interviewee#5). Some of these homes have resisted hurricanes and earthquakes for a whole century (Audefroy, 2011). Nevertheless, interviewee#6 stated that wooden structures need to be reinforced with material like cement, sand and lime as filling to make them resilient against hurricanes. Also, interviewee#8 mentioned that wood can quickly deteriorate due to heavy rainfalls and flooding, which can however, be counteracted by elevating the housing structure. Lastly, a decline of traditional construction materials, methods and knowledge is visible (Audefroy, 2011).

         

        Indicator 6: Social acceptability

         

        Dhaka

        Sustainability in the housing sector is not considered by any housing policies, there are no sustainable building codes existent in Bangladesh (Bahauddin et al., 2014). Also housing developers do not show any attention towards sustainability issues in Dhaka. According to Bahauddin et al. (2014), “architects and developers are still not aware of the role they can play in designing smart and sustainable

        buildings” (p. 122). Moreover, also for NGOs it is hardly possible to get involved into the housing provision sector, as most low-income earners do not have any prospect of becoming land owners due to very high land prices in the city (Habib, 2009; Sinthia, 2013; interviewee#1; interviewee#2).

        The provision of affordable housing in general is rather low in government attention, as “there is always pressing issues that keep going on – so much outrage over pressions such as corruption, rape, or policy mandate – that housing for the poor is often ignored” (interviewee#1). A survey by Begum (2015)Begum also showed “that most of the people are more interested in taking long term low-interest housing loans for constructing or developing their houses on their own” (p. 197, see also interviewee#2). However, this also means that sustainability issues are not part of the affordable housing question, as there are more basic needs that need to be tackled (interviewee#2). Interviewee#1 said that sustainable and affordable housing experimentation is possible outside of Dhaka in rural Bangladesh “but inside, it’s just not feasible, it’s just not worth the effort and time”.

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, sustainability is predominantly neglected in public housing provision. Looking at various reports3 on affordable housing provision announced in Lagos in recent years by the federal as well as the state government, only once efforts of the state government to not only provide affordable but also sustainable housing are mentioned (Construction Review Online, 2017a). In all the other posts, the focus is on affordability. This finding is in line with the information we received in our interviews: “From a government’s perspective, I’ve never seen a request for a proposal for the delivery of affordable housing, that included the need to demonstrate sustainability” (interviewee#4). Rather, interviewee#4 says, there are few private developers who pursue and include questions of sustainability in their work.

        With regard to alternative building material, particularly concerning wood, cultural acceptance might be difficult to reach (interviewee#4). Additionally, without a local supply chain, the price of importing timber is too expensive, limiting economic viability (Klasa, 2018).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        NGOs are carrying out some work to experiment with technologies combining traditional as well as modern building cultures across all of Latin America. However, most focus is put on affordability (Audefroy, 2011). Audefroy (2011) argues that:

         

        image

         

        3 These can be found in Construction Review Online, e.g. Construction Review Online (2017b, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c, 2020).

        “it is important to recognise that low cost is not the only criterion for determining which technologies to use. Factors such as environmental impacts, climate effects, social adaptability and cultural compatibility all contribute to the sustainability of technologies and merit consideration” (p. 457).

        However, the work of NGOs is restricted by the supply chains existing in Haiti. Interviewee#8 stated, “if you do a supply chain analysis in Haiti, for building materials, it’s concrete and masonry, there’s not even wood as a commodity”.

        Interviewee#5 and #6 observed a lack of concern by the government regarding sustainability in the affordable housing sector: They “cannot even provide housing to all who need it” and “with the growth of the population it is almost impossible of meeting the demands” (interviewee#5).

         

        Indicator 7: Suitability

         

        Dhaka

        In Dhaka, concrete is the most popular material (interviewee#2). The use of timber as an alternative material would be limited in Dhaka in several ways: first, wood is rather expensive in Bangladesh, and second, locally sourced wood often stems from mangrove forests, which provide important services for flood prevention. This questions the sustainability of using wood as a material in Dhaka in the long-term (interviewee#1).

        Land prices in Dhaka are extremely high, resulting in a need to build vertically (interviewee#2; see also Shams et al., 2014). With the scarcity of land in Dhaka, many of the high-rise buildings are really close to each other which leads to lack of visual privacy, mentioned as a prominent concern in housing in a study in Dhaka (Ahsan, 2016).

         

        Lagos

        In Nigeria, there is a lack of acceptance of alternative material use in the housing sector. More

        suitable or sustainable materials “run the risk of being less desirable to end-users” (Raschke, 2016,

        p. 10). This relates to concerns of safety as concrete is perceived as being strong and safe. Local materials are perceived to perform worse in this regard (Raschke, 2016; Ugochukwu Iwuagwu, 2016).

        Many low-income citizens in Lagos live in a so-called “Face-Me-I-Face-You” living situation where people have their private rooms, but they share facilities with their neighbours. These are affordable housing solutions; however, they pose concerns of security, dignity, privacy and safety (Heinrich Böll Stiftung, n.d.; Onifade et al., 2019; interviewee#4). In Lagos, concerns of privacy are therefore of importance when designing affordable housing solutions.

        Finally, due to financial constraints but also to adapt housing to their changing life situations, low-income households often adopt an incremental building approach (Raschke, 2016;

        interviewee#3; interviewee#4). In Lagos, this is however restricted by land available and high land prices (interviewee#4).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        Modern materials are usually perceived as superior to traditional material – which is seen as weak, dangerous or outdated (Audefroy, 2011; interviewee#8). One factor that plays into the cultural preference for concrete is NGO involvement in the housing sector: After the 2010 earthquake, international donors provided high quality material to build masonry-based structures for homes – these adhere to certain building standards and are therefore resilient towards natural disaster (Kijewski-Correa & Taflanidis, 2012).

        Additionally, the construction type used also reflects the economic level of the dweller:

        “The peasant builds a thatch and straw house. […] If he has a child who moves up through the ranks and has a certain standard of living; this child will rebuild the family house out of cinderblocks and concrete” (interviewee#5).

        Also interviewee#6, #7 and #8 agree: Wood is perceived as a material used by the poor.

        Consequently, “these cultural parts also complicate the price point for safe housing, because they don’t allow us to have lighter weight materials that we could build cheaper and more resilient than the concrete and masonry”, interviewee#8 states.

        Furthermore, even though land availability is decreasing, the housing culture focuses on detached single dwelling units rather than apartment complexes (interviewee#7, interviewee#6). People also often adopt incremental building approaches and become their own developers, which can result in poor construction quality due to lack of the appropriate knowledge (Audefroy, 2011; Dinka & Cho Soolyeon; Sontag, 2012).

         

        Indicator 8: Stakeholder participation

         

        Dhaka

        In Dhaka there is a lack of good governance in the housing development (Alam, 2018). The planning authority, ministries concerned with housing and utility agencies in urban projects are not coordinated with each other and the implementation of the housing projects is not happening in a transparent way (Shams et al., 2014). There is a strong political interference and a lack of coordination among the urban management agencies. The government has not been responding on the supply side (Alam, 2018). Small-scale builders and developers are the main suppliers of land while the private sector and individuals are the main constructors. The problem hereby is that private developers don’t deliver housing affordable for lower- and middle-income earners. NGOs are active

        in Bangladesh to devote significant resources for housing programmes, but this is generally happening in rural areas (Shams et al., 2014). The government’s approach to provide housing is not involving citizens at all (Ahasan & Hoda, 2020; interviewee#2). The voices of the citizens are not heard unless the pressure on the government is really high for an extended period. Even then the changes that are made are only incremental (Interviewee #2). Additionally, trust into the planning process is low (Ahasan & Hoda, 2020). Corruption in the process is indeed a big challenge: There is a lack of monitoring of the construction sector and government officials which gives them space to keep money for construction for themselves (Interviewee #2).

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, the private sector plays an active role in the provision of housing (Azeez & Basirat, 2017; interviewee#4). The government is adopting a public-private partnership approach to meet the housing needs. The government provides land and the private sector construct the houses (Adebamowo, 2011). However, housing by the private sector is often out of reach for the lower class. Accordingly, there is a need for better housing policies (interviewee #4). Furthermore, the government is not directly involved in the bureaucratic process of land allocation (Azeez & Basirat, 2017). There is a conflict going on when it comes to the issue of land use between the state, federal authorities and traditional owners in the urban centres. This is because of the different land acquisition approaches which stem from the colonial times conflicting with traditional approaches (Gbadegesin et al., 2016). Citizens are not engaged in the provision of affordable housing (Interviewee#4). However, different scholars found that the lack of infrastructural provision can be enhanced by community participation (Ebekozien, 2020).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        In Port-au-Prince the current permanent housing initiatives from the government and international actors are not in line with the needs of the local communities, especially not for the poorest. For the national redevelopment and rebuilding after the 2010 earthquake, the need for the private sectors to participate actively is great (Huynh et al., 2013). International organizations fill in roles that are not sustainable for long-term such as development and infrastructure provision as this should be done by the government to be successful (Huynh et al., 2013). Many NGOs have left Haiti after the earthquake rebuilding efforts were done (Interviewee#8). The government must work with the private sector to create an enabling environment. During the housing production, from initiation to completion, there is no overarching entity to oversee the process. Every entity has its own role, sometimes overlapping, which makes coordinating and implementing policies difficult. The

        engagement of stakeholders at the various levels of governance are only happening formally on paper (Huynh et al., 2013).

         

        Indicator 9: Skills acquisition and job opportunities

         

        Dhaka

        Many migrants from rural areas in Bangladesh come to Dhaka for job opportunities. It is even suggested that job opportunities should be more available outside the city to lessen pressure on housing in the city (Shams et al., 2014). Within the construction sector, labourers are only hired on a daily basis and particularly unskilled laborers only find temporary work within the construction sector (Banks, 2010).

         

        Lagos

        In Lagos, housing development has an enormous capacity to create employment by redistributing resources, especially for the poor (Opoko & Oluwatayo, 2014). There is a shortage of skilled labour in the construction industry (Adebamowo, 2011). The use of local building material is mentioned in the National Housing Policy. This will not only address the issue of availability and affordability of building materials; it also enhances the technological skill base of Nigeria. Local resource use as well as according knowledge for maintenance could create employment for urban residents (Opoko & Oluwatayo, 2014).

         

        Port-au-Prince

        During the reconstruction programs in Port-au Prince by NGOs, local employment opportunities for citizens were enhanced through training programs to acquire skills needed for rebuilding (Huynh et al., 2013; interviewee #8). In the national housing policy, it is implied that with the funding of the private sector, incentives and support for the growth of construction companies across the country should be provided (Huynh et al., 2013). Training to improve the production rate in the construction sector should be connected to local skills. This is especially important when the foreign private sector wants to participate in the housing market. This targets the key challenge to increase capacity for local construction and development (Huynh et al., 2013). The majority of the population in Haiti is illiterate which means that skills acquisition should be done in a very visual way. Local capacity has to be built and this could be done by partnering up with local firms (interview #8).

      3. Environmental sustainability

5.1.3 Environmental sustainability

 

Indicator 10: Disaster resistant

 

Choi and Seo (2002) mention epicentral distances and earthquake magnitudes as important for seismic analysis of wooden houses. Depending on the magnitude of an earthquake, different degrees of damage can occur. Epicentral distances from 5 to 350 km would all result in similar damages to houses. A magnitude over 6 causes partial damage to the houses. With a magnitude over 7, severe destruction can cause collapse of the houses. Furthermore, according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), different hazards can be evaluated using four ranks: High, Medium, Low, and Very low.

 

Dhaka

In Dhaka, seismic disasters are evaluated as medium (GFDRR, n.d.). According to data of NOAA, there have been three earthquakes in Bangladesh with a magnitude of 6 or higher since 1900 (NOAA, n.d.). However, those earthquakes occurred in northern Bangladesh, close to India – in Dhaka, most of the earthquakes are moderate reaching magnitudes between 4 and 6 (NOAA, n.d.).

In addition, much of Bangladesh is situated on a floodplain, including Dhaka (Subbiah et al., 2013). This area is subject to flooding as it has a low topography with major rivers flowing through, and additionally experiences strong rainfall coming from upstream and the catchment area. Moreover, the tides can also cause floods of short durations, which reach a height of about 3 to 6m (National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, 2015).

 

Lagos

In Lagos, the vulnerability to earthquakes is evaluated as very low (GFDRR, n.d.-a). There have been no severe earthquakes that happened in this area.

In addition, flood is a common environmental disaster in Lagos, and its destructive tendencies are sometimes tremendous. Floods in Lagos occurred due to the persistent precipitation and the discharge of water from the dam of the neighbouring state Ogun during the wet season. In addition, Lagos does not have enough river channels for drainage (Olajuyigbe et al., 2012). Lagos can be considered as the only city of the three, which is not seriously affected by seismic events.

Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince is found to be medium ranked for the natural disaster of earthquakes (GFDRR, n.d.– b). Since 1900, only one earthquake had a magnitude of higher than 6, which was the well-known 2010 Haiti Earthquake (NOAA, n.d.). Other seismic activities in Port-au-Prince ranked on a moderate level. Additionally, due to the 2010 earthquake, a tsunami happened in this area. Both events caused severe damages in Port-au-Prince and therefore need to be taken into consideration in future housing development.

Lastly, several flood events also occurred in Haiti in this century, and these are caused by convectional rainfalls, tropical waves, and cyclones. Furthermore, Port-au-Prince is located in a low- lying and coastal area, which makes it prone to be hit by tsunamis (Government of Haiti, 2010).

 

Indicator 11: Water efficiency

 

The last two indicators will be discussed shortly per country, since water stress since there is a lack of data to determine this per city. First, water efficiency: this indicator uses data derived from indicator 6.4.2 of the UN SDG on clean water and sanitation. It shows the level of water stress of different nations by the data of freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources. The standard of the Indicator 6.4.2 has five ranks of water stress: no stress, low, medium, high, and critical.

In Bangladesh, there is no stress on the water supply, and the level of water stress is 6%. In Nigeria, the level of water stress is 10%, which also indicates no stress on water supply in this area. Lastly, also no stress of water supply is present in Haiti, with a level of 13% (FAO, n.d.).

Hence, these three areas are under the no stress level for indicator 6.4.2 (25%) and do not have difficulties of water efficiency (FAO, n.d.). However, there might be other issues related to water which are not included in this research.

 

Indicator 12: Energy efficiency

 

This indicator refers to data from the International Energy Agency, using the data to analyse the energy conditions present in our case studies. Additionally, we look at energy access in each city to support the findings for this indicator.

Firstly, Bangladesh is an energy importer, and the regular gasoline price in Bangladesh is 1.00USD, which is lower than the global average price (IEA, 2020). In urban areas of Dhaka, 96.15% of populations have electricity access, but only 47.36% of populations in its rural area have electricity access (Energypedia, 2019).

In Nigeria, several energy resources, such as coal, gas, and oil are mainly exported, and the regular gasoline price in Nigeria is 0.50USD (IEA, 2020). In Lagos, 96% of households have electricity access, although this nation has an uneven distribution of energy between different cities (Energypedia, 2020).

Lastly, Haiti is an energy importer, and this nation lacks the data of regular gasoline price (IEA, 2020). Moreover, in Haiti only 45.28% of the population has access to electricity (Energypedia, 2018), and the country had already problems with energy efficiency before the 2010 hazard. Half of the energy consumers have illegal connections of electricity (USAID, 2020).

To conclude, Dhaka and Lagos barely have an energy problem except for the rural area of Dhaka. Haiti has a severe energy challenge.

  1. INTEGRATION: AFFORDABLE AND SUSTAINABLE HOUSING IN EMERGING ECONOMIES AND THE APPLICATION OF EASY HOUSING IN PRACTICE

     

    In this chapter, we will synthesise the information we found for the three case studies and will point out the most prevalent factors that play into sustainability in affordable housing. After providing a summary that integrates the three sustainability dimensions for every case study, we will present some similarities that we were able to identify across all three case studies, providing an insight into the broader emerging economies context that our research targets. Afterwards, we will compare these findings with the Easy Housing concept and point out some opportunities and challenges for applying the concept as a sustainable and affordable housing solution in emerging economies.

     

    1. Connecting the three sustainability dimensions for Dhaka, Lagos and Port-au-Prince

       

      Table 5 gives an overview of the findings for the different indicators in all three case studies. The framework we used proved useful particularly for understanding the economic and social context for sustainability in the affordable housing sector in emerging economies. Especially the challenges of affordable housing provision in the three cities became visible. We were able to synthesize information for all three of our cases by applying the framework that provided us with an overview about the different situations. This information is useful for evaluating the applicability of a sustainable housing concept like Easy Housing in a specific location.

      Table 5. Overview of the results

      In Dhaka, sustainability in the affordable housing sector is facing various hurdles. A main challenge is the lack of affordable land and more general land scarcity in the city. The prices are too high for low- income households to acquire their own land. Consequently, they either build informal housing on government owned land or live in renting situations that consume a big amount of their monthly income. The scarcity of land also limits the opportunities for bigger scale affordable housing developments as any housing solutions therefore need to be built vertically – normally more expensive than simple single-unit households. The whole housing market is very corrupt, which leads to inefficiency of policy frameworks and also poor housing quality, as developers tend to use cheap material in order to earn more money. Also, a lack of maintenance of constructions makes them susceptible to collapse. Additionally, housing is often prone to fire and collapse, which is a major concern for sustainable housing within the city. Another problem is the lack of attention by the government as well as private developers given to questions of sustainability in the affordable housing sector. There are many other social issues that are more pressing, which leaves sustainability as a question that might be addressed in the future, when more basic needs are being met. Consequently, there is some experimentation with sustainable housing in the countryside, however within Dhaka city, it is not feasible. Next, the construction sector in Dhaka is seriously impacted by high land prices and lack of space. Any housing solutions therefore need to be built vertically. Furthermore, the provision process is very corrupt in both the public and private sector, which leads to poor construction quality. Lastly, even though not being hit by any earthquakes regularly, Dhaka is still vulnerable to seismic activity and is additionally prone to heavy rainfalls and flooding. For sustainable housing provision, this therefore needs to be taken into consideration. While Dhaka does not experience any water stress levels or lack of energy, access to both should be secured for housing to be sustainable.

      The main challenges we were able to identify for sustainable housing in Lagos include serious financial constraints, a lack of involvement of government authorities in questions of sustainability and affordable housing schemes that are inattentive towards the needs of the target group. In Lagos, low- and middle-income households struggle with lack of sufficient income, funding and access to credits to be able to afford housing. Moreover, in its public housing provision, the federal and the state government often ignore the needs of the target group, providing affordable housing that ends up being out of financial reach for many citizens. Additionally, they do not address sustainability in these development projects, yet some efforts are seen in private developing firms. Crucial here is to dedicate more research into alternative materials, as the now commonly used sandcrete blocks are not sensitive to the climatic conditions typical for Lagos. From an environmental perspective, a main barrier of sustainability is the risk of flooding, which occurs frequently in Lagos. Because of persistent

      precipitation, inefficient water channels, and the discharge of water from the dam of the neighbouring state during the wet seasons, a sustainable housing solution would need to be able to resist these challenges.

      In Port-au-Prince, sustainability in the affordable housing sector is challenged by the lack of local resources and high importation costs. Additionally, the change from using traditional materials to ‘modern’ materials resulted in a loss of knowledge on how to use traditional materials but also is accompanied by a lack of knowledge how to properly construct with cement or steel. Consequently, construction quality is very poor in Port-au-Prince, making the buildings even more vulnerable to natural disasters. NGOs play an important role in affordable housing provision, but the solutions offered are not contextual and therefore are no long-term solutions. Moreover, NGOs find themselves in a dilemma between either providing more affordable housing according to economic needs or more resilient housing, which is financially out of reach for many. NGOs also foster the perception that local material is inferior to modern structures, even though it is known that timber constructions are performing better in events of earthquakes. Additionally to its vulnerability for seismic events, the invasion of tropical waves and cyclones also brings heavy rainfall to this area. Situated in the low-lying and coastal region, Post-au-Prince is subjected to flooding. Moreover, the earthquakes in this area might affect the occurrence of tsunamis. Lastly, there is a severe energy problem in Post-au-Prince. Only a small amount of the population has electricity access, and this situation already existed before the 2010 Haiti earthquake event. Half of the residents use illegal connections of electricity.

      Comparing the results from our three case studies shows that a universal solution for affordable housing in emerging economies is rather unrealistic. The challenges that different emerging economies face are diverse and need individual attention. However, there are also some similarities that can be found within our three case studies:

      • Lack of governmental attention concerning sustainability in housing – this can be explained by the immense pressure the housing market exerts on the government. The challenge lies in providing housing at all, so sustainability is not a primary concern.

      • Cultural reluctance and concerns of security against traditional/alternative building material

      • Ignorance towards the needs of the target population, affordable housing often unaffordable

      • Limited access to loans for low- and middle-income population

      • Constructions need to be resilient for different kinds of natural hazards

    2. Opportunities and challenges of Easy Housing in the context of emerging economies

 

In light of our findings, a solution like Easy Housing would likely face tremendous challenges concerning its implementation in an emerging economies context. Nevertheless, by understanding the problems that the affordable housing sector faces, some opportunities that Easy Housing could use also become visible.

While the elevated timber structure can resist earthquakes and flooding, the environmental sustainability of the house is also dependent on the material used to finish the structure, like walling material or roofing. Ideally, this material would be locally sourced, however as in the case of Port- au-Prince, local resources are scarce. In Lagos, there is only limited research about possible sustainable alternatives to sandcrete blocks. Next, affordability needs to be insured; timber importation can be more costly than using low quality concrete. Low- and middle-income households in all of our case studies barely have access to funding or credit. Easy Housing would then for instance require a financial alliance with a private stakeholder to develop a scheme that allows people to afford housing through credits or other means. The effectiveness of a collaboration with governmental institutions is questionable due to the high levels of corruption often present in the housing sector additionally to sustainability not being of primary concern regarding the urgency of the lack of affordable housing. It is therefore important to understand, where efforts for sustainability in the housing sector are already present. In Lagos, private developers would be a possible collaboration partner, while in Port-au-Prince NGOs might be a better choice. In Bangladesh, some experimentation with sustainability is taking place in the countryside. The latter also relates to one major limitation of the Easy Housing solution: space in cities is generally scarce and therefore, to meet the great demand in housing, there is a need to build vertically. This is not feasible yet for the Easy Housing concept which presses the question of its appropriateness for the urban context in emerging economies. However, like the example of Bangladesh shows, rural areas might be an opportunity for experimentation with the Easy Housing concept. There, land prices are significantly lower than in cities and more land is available. Our research has shown that incremental building approaches offer one solution to affordable housing in emerging economies, as the owner can adapt the housing situation to their life situation and can expand their house over time. Such a solution is however only possible, if there is enough space available. Furthermore, while in the city either private investors or the government develops land, people in need of shelter often build their own homes in informal settlements on government land. These do not follow any construction standards because of a lack of financial abilities and due to recurring clearance by the government of these

areas. In rural areas however, the Easy Housing concept could possibly provide a feasible solution to build a secure structure for the house for own-developers who lack the knowledge and skills to do so otherwise.

  1. DISCUSSION

     

    In this section, we discuss our findings and the limitations and implications we came across. As the integration in the previous section already shows, our results implicate that there are several obstacles that sustainable affordable housing in emerging economies is facing. The main obstacles that we have identified are related to unstable governments, cultural reluctance to sustainability and alternative materials, unaffordability of housing and limited access to loans for low to middle income families. In addition, all these cities are facing natural hazards, which stress the importance that constructions need to be resilient to different kinds of seismic events. However, also some opportunities arise for Easy Housing. For instance, the elevated wooden structure can offer flexibility during seismic events. In addition, the incremental building approach is suitable for some of the case studies. However, our results suggest that challenges and opportunities for affordable sustainable housing are really context dependent, and therefore in-depth research is needed.

    Our research emphasized the importance of looking to sustainable affordable housing using the three different dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental sustainability. As already examined by Akadiri et al. (2012), Ortiz et al. (2009) and Salama and Alshuwaikhat (2006), including the economic and social sustainability dimensions is indispensable for understanding sustainable affordable housing, since the most complicated challenges are acquired in the social and economic dimension. In addition, it is questionable if a concept can be considered sustainable if it is only evaluated in environmental terms. Second, it should be noted that all our case studies show that people living in these cities are struggling with other pressing issues besides housing. Maslow’s pyramid of needs stress the importance of self-actualization, esteem (respect), love, safety and immediate physiological needs (Kenrick et al., 2010). Therefore, sustainability might not be a priority for people who are dealing with issues that jeopardize one of the needs of Maslow’s pyramid. In addition, most countries are dealing with providing housing at all. The sustainability concern, especially in terms of environmental aspects tends to come last, if it exists at all.

    During the research, there were some constraints which might have affected the process and the results. First, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meetings were done online instead of in person which made them less efficient, due to misunderstandings and connection issues. In addition, these implications also made the expert interviews more difficult. Second, for the data collection there was a language barrier in some case studies which made it harder to obtain certain information. The biggest barrier was experienced with Port-au-Prince where the governmental language is French, many documents were also in French. Another problem with the data collection was that the survey

    had a limited reach. Spreading it through Facebook groups resulted in almost no answers. Eventually, the survey was spread to people who live in the cities through experts. The problem with this is that the demographic of the survey might not be representative for the case studies itself as we only got responses from Dhaka and Lagos. Due to time limitations the research only focussed on cities since there was more information available. Third, in urban areas there is often limited space available, which makes the implementation of Easy Housing more difficult. Therefore, looking into the opportunities and constraints in rural areas might have been a better fit for the research on Easy Housing. However, this also has its limitations, since available literature would possibly be limited. Fourth, regarding the results, the context of sustainability in this research was from a Western scientific point of view. What is perceived as sustainable by the people who will receive the houses might be different. To overcome this limitation, cultural and heritage conservation and social acceptability is added. However, it remains challenging to interpret housing and sustainability needs from other continents with other cultures. Fifth, we experienced a lack of available data on housing prices, which made it hard to compare the costs of Easy Housing to the current housing in the case studies. Sixth, an important limitation of this research is that we were unable to do a whole life cycle assessment of the Easy Housing concept, since only the structure is provided. By doing this research it became clear that putting the Easy Housing concept somewhere, does not implicitly mean that the whole process and concept is sustainable. This is due to the fact that countries like Haiti have limited local resources. Lastly, it should be noted that this research provides first insights into the challenges our case studies face. Due to time constraints, it was not possible to include all information. Therefore, our research provides a good starting point for further research.

    Our research shows that there is a desperate need for housing. Future research should focus on finding areas of opportunity to harness the urgent need for housing in emergent economies with low financial resources. In addition, it should evaluate the total lifecycle of the Easy Housing concept. Currently, only the environmental impacts of the wooden structure are measured. More research is needed to understand the economic, social and environmental impacts of the whole lifecycle, from the creation till the disposal of it. For both issues, the importance of doing in-depth research needs to be stressed, since housing is very context dependent. This emphasizes the fact that there is no universal approach to affordable sustainable housing.

    To conclude this paragraph, some recommendations are made. Focusing on emerging economies, raise opportunities since most of the new housing in the world will be built here (Nikoofam & Mobaraki, 2013). This offers the unique opportunity to devise ways to build sustainably and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the Easy Housing concept could offer a short-term solution for emerging countries. In the long-term these economies need to develop their

    own local supply chain. From the supplementary data obtained by the surveys, in Dhaka and Lagos people do not prefer timber as materials for the basic structure of the house as they would not feel safe in it from natural disasters, fire and crime. From the interviews it became clear that Haiti had the most potential for building houses with wood.

    Lastly, the Haitian case study and particularly the according interviews gave us many insights about the importance of community. In Haiti, community and helping friends and neighbours is of high value. Therefore, if the Easy Housing concept appeals to the spirit of collective action and community, it would have a greater likelihood of succeeding. In particular, it was suggested by one of our interviewees that to strengthen the credit system, instead of relying on foreclosure as a threat for non-payment, harnessing this sense of community might bring about better results in terms of compliance with payment schemes. In other words, if banks can clearly communicate that non- payment from one family means removing the possibility for other families to access loans, repayment could potentially be improved rather than threatening to evacuate dwellers as is common practice in Western countries (Interviewee #8). Moreover, the Easy Housing concept would also fit the needs of the Haitian habitants, since most houses are single-dwelling units and they appreciate privacy and prefer to have their own sanitary facilities. Additionally, the wooden structure relates to traditional Haitian housing construction. However, it takes a lot of patience to deal with the corrupt Haitian government and win the trust of the people. Nonetheless, “If it is going to work in Haiti, it is going to work everywhere” (interviewee #8).

  2. CONCLUSION

     

    In this research we attempted to identify the obstacles sustainable affordable housing faces in emerging economies. By analysing the housing sector in our case studies – Dhaka, Lagos and Port-au- Prince, we obtained the results. The main obstacles we have identified in this research are related to unstable governments, cultural reluctance to alternative materials, unaffordability of housing and limited access to loans for low- to middle-income families. In addition, these cities are facing natural hazards, which stress the importance for stable constructions that need to be resilient to different kinds of seismic events and flooding. Moreover, our research emphasizes the need for in-depth research for sustainable affordable housing, since all cases face different challenges. Our research shows that there is no universal approach on how to tackle sustainable affordable housing in emerging economies. Moreover, it should be noted that our research provides an overview of the challenges our case studies are facing but cannot replace an in-depth analysis of the different contexts. By comparing the different case studies to the Easy Housing concept, opportunities in Lagos and Port-au-Prince became visible, which can provide a starting point for further research on the potential to address the challenges of sustainable and affordable housing with a solution like Easy Housing in the cities.

    Based on these conclusions, it is suggested that Easy Housing should focus on in-depth research for countries that show opportunities for partnerships. In addition, Easy housing should look further into the cultural context of housing in the countries and be adaptable to this context. There are certainly opportunities for the concept in emerging economies, especially in the case of Haiti. The biggest obstacle lies in the process of providing the houses through corrupted governments, but it can be overcome with patience and determination. With the right intentions and enough willingness to engage with the local communities on location, the concept might be accepted.

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  6. APPENDIX

 

Appendix – l : Interview guidelines Appendix – ll: Survey

Appendix – l: Interview guidelines

 

Suitability

  • How does a typical house of a low-income and middle-income family look like?

    • E.g. importance of kitchen, living room ect., which building material is used

  • Who is mainly affected by the housing shortage in Port-au-Prince? E.g. families or single households?

  • Concerns of security: Are there specific concerns of security related to certain building materials? (e.g. cement vs. wood)

    • Security from natural hazards

    • Security from crime (also related to dwelling unit type 🡪 single detached unit vs apartment building)

    • Security from fire (also related to cooking with fire)

  • Concerns of privacy → how is this reflected in different dwelling types

     

    Cultural and heritage conservation

  • How are culture and climatic conditions reflected in the current building materials used?

  • How do you think this influences the acceptance of new sustainable materials?

  • Is there a shift towards more sustainable building materials? What are cultural attitudes towards different types of building materials? (E.g. Cement mirroring progress in terms of financial and social stance?) And is there any area where concern for sustainability issues is reflected in the housing construction process?

     

    Social acceptability

  • To what extent is the local government in Port-au-Prince engaging in sustainable and affordable housing projects – do they actively consider questions of sustainability? How about the state government?

  • Is there community involvement in sustainable and affordable housing provision?

     

    Stakeholder participation

  • What influence does the private sector and international organizations exert in sustainable and affordable housing development compared to local governments?

  • Is the housing market managed efficiently?

  • Are citizens involved in the housing provision by means of some participatory process?

     

    Economic sustainability

    Affordability

  • How affordable is it for people in Port-au-Prince to purchase housing? (Do most people buy or rent?)

  • Are there basic quality standards? And are constructions meeting them?

     

    Adequate funding and provision

  • Is there sufficient funding and provision in Port-au-Prince to provide sufficient sustainable (and affordable) housing that meets the needs of every household in your opinion?

  • What is lacking in funding and provision policies?

  • What are some of the main stakeholders involved in funding?

     

    Effective legal and policy frameworks

  • What are the challenges to implementation and control of social housing provision activities be considered efficient, f.e. distributions and contracts?

  • What role does corruption play in housing provision?

  • What role doe import costs play in housing provision?

Appendix – II: Survey questions

 

1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree, 6 = I don’t know

  1. The local authorities inform us about new housing projects.

    1. 1-5 likert scale

  2. I feel like the local authorities listen to my ideas for new housing projects.

    1. 1-5 likert scale

  3. I would live in a house using timber as material for the basic structure.

    1. 1-5 likert scale

  4. In a house using timber as material for the basic structure, I would feel safe from:

    1. Natural disasters

      1. 1-5 likert scale

    2. Fire

      1. 1-5 likert scale

    3. Crime

      1. 1-5 likert scale

  5. I feel most comfortable in a

    1. Single-detached housing unit

      1. 1-5 likert scale

    2. Apartment complex building

      1. 1-5 likert scale

    3. On the ground floor

      1. 1-5 likert scale

    4. On a higher floor

      1. 1-5 likert scale

  6. I care about a low environmental impact of my house

    1. 1-5 likert scale

  7. Gender

    1. Male

    2. Female

    3. Other

  8. Age

    a. 18-24

    b. 25-34

    c. 35-44

    d. 45-54

    e. 55-64

    f. 65+

  9. Income

    1. Low-income

    2. Middle-income

    3. High-income

  10. Location

    1. Inside metropolitan area Lagos/Dhaka

    2. Outside metropolitan area Lagos/Dhaka

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