There is a huge shortage of housing for the poor in nearly all the continents of the world, and Africa is no exception. There are many huge construction companies that are busy helping to create affordable bulk housing villages and towns which are proving to be cost effective, good quality houses. Many of the unemployed are being utilised by the construction companies in a two-fold solution to the housing problems and that is providing affordable housing using unemployed labour, as well as helping the unemployed with jobs while they are building the homes.
Huge portions of the population are being deprived of basic needs such as quality shelter. Governments have found it hard to come up with providing bulk affordable housing due a variety of logistical problems. There do not seem to be figures available for the percentage of these families that live in what would be accepted as adequate low cost housing. But even taking a generous percentage of the number of families that do have adequate housing, there are huge percentages of families that do not have these very basic human needs. The need is enormous.
Bulk housing for the masses around the cities is necessary
In the rush to provide for demanding populations needs and also to satisfy international pressure, there has not been much consideration given to the future growth and development potential of the bulk housing townships. This has unfortunately resulted in townships being remote from employment opportunities with inadequate road and transport links and poorly supported bulk services resulting in despondent residents. Many of these residents have simply moved away from the remote townships, leaving a major problem which has required additional investments and time to resolve.
It has to be accepted and understood that the major cities are the magnet for employment opportunities that Africa’s vast population need for survival. This has resulted in the cities seeing some of the world’s highest population densities occurring and the inability of the existing services to support the explosion. African governments like the South African government have realised that the way forward is to accept this scenario and plan round it, building bulk government housing projects around the cities. They are suburbanising the cities in a planned and structured manner that provides housing, employment opportunities and transport access to the city.
Self-supporting villages around the cities
This is done initially with high level planning to ensure that the concept is sound and can be correctly developed as an integrated commercial and residential project. The detailed planning phase must ensure that the outcome is completely integrated and self supporting village living environments. The village living environments must be divided into areas necessary to support the resident population. Most importantly, areas for industrial and commercial businesses must provide employment. This may require incentives for businesses to set-up or relocate to these villages. Secondly, areas need to be set aside for shops, schools, clinics, religious facilities, recreation and municipal services.
Road and transport links together with adequate water, power and sewage services are vital for the success of the village environment. The concept is to take a village environment, on an available piece of land around a city, and develop it through all the steps necessary to ensure all stakeholders are satisfied with the result. Governments are proving that the best way forward is expanding the cities and towns outward with self sustaining village living environments adequately connected as suburbs to the city or town.