With reference to examples

With reference to examples, evaluate the success of the schemes that have been implemented in an attempt to solve the problems of housing in cities in LEDC’s Housing for the poor in the LEDC’s are a great problem for the local authorities and this stands for most great LEDC cities such as, Chennai in India, Cairo, and Rio de Janeiro. The problems have arose from urbanization where the rural population has internally migrated to the cities in order for work in which they are not skilled enough to get. Therefore they have had to live in Shantytowns/Favelas/Slums.

Chennai (formerly Madras) as a result of urban migration and high birth rates have caused a rapid increase in the population of Chennai although the rate has decreased in recent years the rapid growth has been mirrored by a rapid growth of slums in Chennai. Now about one third of the population lives in slums with the housing been made out of mud and coconut thatch. The Housing Board and the Slum Clearance Board initial schemes involved the building of four to six storey tenements however these largely failed due to poor maintenance and the lack of uptake as the disadvantaged could not afford high rents.

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Also if lower rents were implied the schemes would have been too costly. After the failure of these schemes the organizations implied new schemes and that was the upgrading of the slums by providing one bath and toilet per ten families, one public fountain per twenty families, one street light per 40m of road and one pre school per 200 families. Other schemes were required to be self-financing after, the City, the State or World Bank provided the initial investment through loans and setting up self-help schemes. These schemes encouraged greater community involvement.

The start up loans gave the families a chance to build their own homes and once the first loan had been paid back a second could be issued for further improvements. The upgrading that took place often led to the sale of homes to higher income groups. This generated some money for the poorer population and allowed the board to reinvest to new schemes. Providing permanent plots and improving the security of tenure helped the pavement dwellers. Along with the housing schemes, new youth groups were set up especially in nursing, welding, electrical, computing and plumbing skills.

Other campaigns were to improve health and nutrition for the whole of the area. Velacheri was an area for the schemes that is located on the southern outskirts of Chennai. Fourteen hectares of land was provided to house 2,640 families. The families came form three main areas, Canal Bank Road, Tank Bund Road and Riverside Road. Waiting for the new residents to start building their homes would have delayed the rail building programme so contractors were used to construct the houses, lay out the roads and provide water supply, street lights and other services.

Problems that arose were unfinished services and extra floors being added against regulations, also some of the residents sold their houses for a profit and the poorest were unable to afford to live in these new homes. Cairo is another city that has implied new schemes in an attempt to solve problems of housing. Every Cairo citizen on average has only 13 square centimeters of space to live in giving a population density of 32,759 people per square kilometer. Old Cairo is sited east of the modern CBD and went under dramatic population expansion after the 1950’s and between 1968 and 1982 alone the area of the city doubled.

The fertile irrigated farmland along the banks of the River Nile was sold and illegally built on at an average of 600ha a year. Cairo is different to other LEDC cities as rather than having shantytowns on the fringes it has brick built houses and flats, which have often been constructed in stages. Many of these houses have been built illegally on state owned or ‘green’ land and today these houses cover an estimated 80% of Cairo’s built up area. These houses are very overcrowded and in the summer temperatures over 400C are common along with broken or non-existent sewers generate extremely unpleasant living conditions.

Cairo’s poorest citizens have situated in two other peculiar locations. In the Cities of the Dead, an estimated two to three million people have taken up residence in tombs or like the other half a million people live on rooftops in the city center. In Old Cairo properties are on the point of collapse due to lack of repairs or reckless additions of extra stories that have destabilized the foundations. Despite the shortage of finance the Egyptian authorities have implemented a number of projects into the area.

New satellite and dormitory settlements such as, 10th Ramadan and 15th May have been built in effort to disperse some of the cities population. The new 10th Ramadan is located 55km northeast of Cairo and eventually aims to house 300,000 people in six neighborhood units. Every unit will have high-rise blocks, space, gardens, a mosque, junior school and local shopping center. Industrial zones are an integral part of the scheme as of without employment few people will want to move to the area as they will not want to travel to Cairo every day and that is if they can afford to.

Initially this scheme had great difficulty in attracting people to the area and only had 30,00 people after eight years. This was due to the apartments being too expensive and the costs of traveling to Cairo were prohibitive. Despite the government aid the industries were reluctant to move to these areas and this proved a disincentive for the people to move out of Cairo. To aid those commuting to Cairo every day a massive new ring road has been built in effort to ease congestion along with a new modern metro system being constructive.

New sewage project provides aid to repair the extent of the cities crumbling sewage system. The Zabbaleen people who traditionally collected the rubbish in Cairo with their donkey carts have now been officially licensed as the low-tech refuse collectors and recyclers for the huge slum areas. The last city that I will look at is Rio de Janeiro. Here thousands of families have set on hillsides and built a typical house made form clapboard, stone, mud or some home-made cement and just totally forget about a home loan.

However in Vidigal and a hundred of other shantytowns in Rio there has been an embryo of a new sort of urban reform. They call it Favela Bairro. The idea is that they will redevelop the shantytowns into a legitimate neighborhood. This means turning alleys into streets, dead ends into lighted plazas and financing the building of proper homes inside the favela. Favela Bairro has brought many improvements to the people of Vidigal. The favela has re-conquered an abandoned sports center that had fallen into the hands of drug dealers and now is the official venue for soccer championships.

The citizens of the shantytowns are awaiting a cable car that will relieve them from the irregular and expensive mini-vans. The fruits of Favela Bairro have reached some 45,000 people in 105 favelas. Now in its fifth year the program ahs won several prizes including one form the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD) as well as the famous Habitat award from the United Nations. From studying the three major LEDC cities it is clear to see that for each scheme there has been some success, however some schemes have been a lot more beneficial to the people.

As the most successful schemes have revolved around self help schemes that can be made affordable for even the poorest sections of the shanty community. They also maintain a community spirit and enable the families to continue to access their places of employment. The less successful schemes include the high-rise flats and those involving re-housing of the squatters on the periphery of the cities or beyond. The disruption of the families destroys the community spirits and their ability to earn a living.