1.2 Billion People Living in Cities Lack Access to Affordable and Secure Housing
WASHINGTON (July 12, 2017) — According to a new report from World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, 330 million households in cities around the world, equivalent to 1.2 billion people, do not have access to affordable and secure housing. Without immediate action, the problem will become even more critical, as this housing gap is projected to grow by 30 percent to 1.6 billion people by 2025.
“Cities are the engines of economic growth and policymakers need help prioritizing solutions,” said Ani Dasgupta, Global Director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “Supporting affordable housing is one of the best ways to help fast-growing cities in the global south run smoother and provide benefits to all residents.
“Two and half billion additional people will be living in urban areas worldwide by 2050, with Asia and Africa seeing nearly 90 percent of this growth. The housing gap has a human cost and is a major drag on the economy and the environment. We need to take immediate action to avoid creating cities that are less productive, less efficient and less inclusive—something that would truly impact everyone.”
The latest installment of WRI’s flagship World Resources Report “Towards a More Equitable City,” which examines whether prioritizing access core urban services for the underserved will create cities that are prosperous and sustainable for all people, emphasizes housing as one such critical core need.
“Housing is often seen as falling into discrete categories such as public or private, formal or informal,” said Robin King, lead author and WRI Ross Center Director of Knowledge Capture and Collaboration. “But we view housing options on a spectrum that combines different elements of ownership, space, services and finance. In some cases, land may be public while the dwellings on it are private. This spectrum allows a more nuanced analysis of the reality of housing markets in the global south and consideration of a wider range of possibilities.”
“The paper is coming out at a very important time, when the discussion about affordability, adequacy and issues of secure tenure have become very critical in global cities of the south,” said Sheela Patel, founding member and Chairperson of Slum/Shack Dwellers International. “Cities produce aspirations. If you don’t fulfill those aspirations, which start with safe neighborhoods, a good environment, a good education—these are all settlement and neighborhood related amenities and services—you produce discontent.”
The study focuses on three actionable approaches city officials can use to address the housing crisis, while highlighting specific examples from around the world:
“These solutions will help urban policymakers in fast-growing cities meet the demand for housing while encouraging economic development and cleaner, safer environments,” said King. “Closing the housing gap by providing access to affordable, adequate and secure housing will benefit everyone, not just the poor and underserved, as cities become more productive, environmentally sustainable, and truly places for all.”
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