Thursday, March 14, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Role of Housing for All

Dear All, 
Housing under SDG

Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage both Cultural and Natural, Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and lastly Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. 

On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all. So today I am going to share actionable points under the issue of Housing. 

Just a background on why Housing for All is an illusion. Today we have many upcoming residential construction schemes in the city and simultaneously we are also seeing upcoming slums in the city. The whole issue under 'Housing for All' does not really consider providing shelter for the slums and the lower income strata of the society. In fact, upcoming housing schemes focus on middle and higher income groups who often buy new houses just as future investment. While the ones who are in need of affordable and accessible housing are rendered in substandard settlements. 

This is in a way adding enormous pressure on the city for its resources, management and overall sustainability. We thought of drafting the actions at an individual level, Community level and Government level based on the citizens inputs on this matter. 

Individual Level
  • Consider if there is a need to buy a new house. 
  • If yes, check that the house that you will be buying adheres to required certifications for safety, waste management, wastewater treatment etc. 
  • Environmental Clearance or an NOC from the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MOEFCC) is mandatory today for any new construction. As a vigilant citizen of the city, you should ask for the same and check that environmental services are in place in accordance of certificate. 
  • Especially the water supply, drainage connection, rainwater harvesting mechanisms, fire safety measures and waste management systems are in place. 

Community Level
  • If there are any slums around your residence, think before considering these as a nuisance. Most likely the maid in your house, the handyman around your building complex, etc., come from the same locality. As a community lets advocate for provision of better basic facilities for them like adequate water supply, better waste collection system, electricity supply, drainage connection and medical help through a participatory planning process.
  • Let's advocate for ensuring that they get appropriate help in case of disasters or emergencies. 
  • Let's advocate for better housing for them that are disaster resilient and based on green building concepts.
  • Majority of political parties look at slums only as their vote bank, but as a community the entire neighborhood needs to exert political pressure to ensure better facilities for the slums. This will also ensure better hygiene and air and water quality in the entire locality. 

Government Level
  • Livelihoods of the urban poor are typically in the neighborhood of the slums. Therefore the slum rehabilitation must happen on the same location, rather than displacing the slum dwellers to some remote locations. 
  • Under Housing for All it is important to consider the slums and low income groups from affordability, safety, facilities/services perspective that are also essential in keeping the city as a whole clean and livable.  
  • Considering access to the differently-abled in planning housing schemes for the low income groups is crucial. 
  • Subsidy can be provided to the Economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society for buying houses with tax benefits to the developers for providing such housing. 
  • Housing audit where houses are examined from safety and disaster resilience perspective should be considered. 
  • Green building materials are important from the perspective of efficient resource use and low carbon footprint. Use of such materials should be encouraged and research in this field should be funded. 

These inputs are given by some 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter for Housing a better action agenda. Email me at OR visit our FB page at

Pournima Agarkar. 


Unknown said...

Great compilation. And Thank you for highlighting the 'equity' aspect in housing.

Unknown said...

Very true .....Should serve as eye opener for many....

Progaming said...

Very Nice....
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