Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gimme Shelter(s), Part II

Kibera Slum, Nairobi
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have been doing research for a paper on the availability of adequate and affordable housing around the globe (and specifically focusing on Nairobi). In a nutshell, we need more of it. Below are few statistics from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), one of the world’s leading forces behind gathering info and enacting policy to provide shelter for all. A couple of mind-blowers, from the 2005 report “Financing Urban Shelter”:

• Almost half of the world's six billion people already live in cities. Of these, it is estimated that about a third live in slums. (That “one third” is right at 1 billion people, folks!)
• By recent estimates, more than two billion people will be added to the number of city dwellers in developing countries by 2030. To meet the needs of that additional population, some 35 million new housing units would have to be built every year for the next 25 years.
• That translates into building some 96,150 housing units per day.
• While conventional mortgage financing has been expanding for the past decade and is increasingly available in many countries, only middle- and higher-income households have access to it, while the poor are generally excluded.
• The cost of a typical house is between 2.5 and six times the average annual salary, a ratio that rose to about 10 times in developing countries. From 1997 to 2004, housing prices had grown by 112 percent in Australia, for example, 139 percent in the United Kingdom, and 227 percent in South Africa.

So we should all be thankful we have a home, even if we’re renting. And if your home has two rooms or more, you are luckier than you can even imagine.

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