State policy and urban housing in Kenya: the case of low income housing in Nairobi
Mitullah, Winnie V.
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Those interested in urban development recognise that building "low income" housing need not benefit poor or low income groups. Kenya, like many other developing countries often fails to attain the goals and objectives of housing policies and plans geared for low income groups, this is reflected in the mismatch of available housing forms. A substantial percentage of urban residents occupy units that in terms of policy and planning are intended for other groups. Of particular concern are the very poor who often must live in informal areas because middle income groups occupy housing units planned for them. Several factors contribute to policy failure or success. This proposal contends four major factors determines the failure of stated objectives of housing the urban poor: shortcomings of housing policy at both central and local government levels; the ineffectiveness of the institutions charged with the implementation of policies; the limited role of the private sector; and administrative and financial limitations. The proposal raises questions regarding housing policy in Kenya which can be summarised as follows:- -: What is housing policy? -: How is housing policy best established? -: What are the institutional obstacles towards achieving stated policy goals? -: What are the socio-economic and political implications of internal and external financing. The paper describes research in process that will evaluate achievement of policy objectives for Umoja 1, a low income tenant purchase housing scheme in Nairobi. Selected institutions that participated in its implementation as well and other institutions handling low income housing will also be examined.