Unconventional housing provision: reflections on health aspects: a case study of Zimbabwe

SOURCE: Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2011
TITLE AUTHOR(S): H.H.Magidimisha, L.Chipungu
KEYWORDS: HEALTH, HOUSING POLICY, INFRASTRUCTURE DELIVERY, POLICY FORMULATION, ZIMBABWE
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6894
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/3723

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Abstract

When the Zimbabwean government embarked on the countrywide destruction of unconventional urban housing settlements code-named ``Operation Murambatsvina??, it received international condemnation for displacing people and destroying livelihoods. While the operation negatively affected the residents, it also had some positive effects, given that most of the settlements that had sprouted up in cities did not have proper physical infrastructure. However, their destruction did not put a stop to spontaneous housing, as the displaced people relocated to peripheral locations, perpetuating some unconventional settlements already in existence and erecting new ones. The failure of states to cope with massive demand for low-income housing simply means that unconventional housing will not disappear in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, these areas lack proper physical infrastructure, which is the most important health component of human settlements. The most realistic means of dealing with these health concerns is to ensure that the settlements are equipped with proper physical infrastructure. This paper critically evaluates physical infrastructure provision in unconventional housing settlements in Harare, Zimbabwe. The argument is that developing countries need to accept unconventional housing as part of their housing options for the poor. The authors conclude that the only way to provide proper and healthy housing for the urban poor is to streamline government policies in order to address the critical issues that affect human settlements.