Nepal | September 24, 2020

Affordable housing key to sustainable urban development

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 17

The expansion of adequate and affordable housing is central to achieving inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities where rapid urbanisation has exacerbated housing shortages, says a report ‘Inclusive Cities: Resilient Communities’ recently published by the government.

According to the report, housing is one of the highest priorities of the government, considering the right to adequate housing for all as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living without discrimination of any kind. There should be proper integration of housing policies and approaches across all sectors, and at all levels of the government, to ensure the proximity of adequate basic infrastructure, as well as to counter segregation.

“Housing policies should promote equity with provisions that address discrimination, forced evictions, and the needs of the homeless and people in vulnerable situations, enabling participation and engagement of communities and stakeholders,” it said.

“The focus should be on developing integrated housing approaches that incorporates the provision of adequate, affordable, safe, and well-located housing, with access to quality public space, basic infrastructure, and services like sanitation and public transport, as well as livelihood opportunities, combating spatial and socioeconomic segregation, and improving the living conditions of the urban poor, including those living in slums and informal settlements,” the report added.

It stressed that relationships with informal settlements and slums, including the informal economy, need to be redefined in ways that leave no one behind.

The focus should be on policies that promote a wide range of alternative housing options, considering shifting from a predominantly private ownership to other rental and tenure options, including cooperative solutions (such as co-housing and community land trust) to improve the supply of affordable housing, as well as on policies that support incremental housing and upgrading programmes.

It is also necessary to promote regulations within the housing sector, including building codes, standards, development permits, land use by-laws and ordinances, and planning regulations, ensuring quality and habitability, said the report.

The New Urban Agenda focuses on promoting national and local housing policies that stimulate the delivery of a variety of housing options, which are diverse in size, standard, location and price to meet the needs of the population, and which are affordable and accessible to different groups of society.


A version of this article appears in print on May 18, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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