The impact of upgrading squatter settlements on access to decent housing : A comparative study of selected compounds in Lusaka, Zambia

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Sibande, Kenneth
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Zambia has a long history of upgrading of squatter settlements dating back to 1972 when the first upgrading programme was undertaken in Lusaka. The upgrading of squatter settlements has remained to be a policy matter as enshrined in the 1996 National Housing Policy. The upgrading of squatter settlements however, would be meaningless if decent housing was not facilitated. The aim of the study therefore, was to access the extent to which upgrading of squatter settlements had enabled households to access decent housing. In chapter one is contained the introduction, conceptual framework, literature review, significance of the study and methodology. Chapter two contains a brief historical and socio-economic context of the study. In chapter three is contained the presentation, analysis and interpretation of the findings. Lastly chapter four contains the conclusions and recommendations arising from the findings. In order to assess the impact of upgrading programmes on access to decent housing, upgraded compounds in Lusaka were compared with non-upgraded compounds. Two hundred (200) households responded to the study stratified as follows; one hundred (100) respondents residing in upgraded compounds of Kamanga and Ngombe compounds, and one hundred (100) respondents in non-upgraded compounds of Mtendere and John Laing compounds. Some officials at the LCC and LWSC who were considered to have relevant information were interviewed.Both quantitative and qualitative data was relied upon in generating the findings. Quantitative data was collected from the compounds by way of an administered questionnaire which contained both open-ended and closed-ended questions. Officials at LCC and LWSC were interviewed to gather qualitative data using an interview schedule. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 10.0 was applied to analyse data. The findings were then presented and summarized using the Microsoft Word Excel.The findings revealed that upgrading of squatter settlements had to some extent facilitated access to decent housing. This was more pronounced in the area of water supply and electrification of houses. These aspects had enabled the realization of some of the indicators of decent housing as defined in this study. The water infrastructure had enabled households to install water pipes and waterborne sanitation (flush toilets) inside their houses. Although the majority of households still used communal water taps and pit latrines, it is concluded that upgrading progarmmes had facilitated decent housing in the area of piped water supply. Depending on the proximity of a household to the electricity poles leading power supply to either a community centre or clinic, the tapping of power to a house was facilitated. This had a cumulative advantage to other households who had to tap power at lesser cost. Thus in terms of electrification of houses, upgrading programmes had enabled access to decent housing.With regard to other indicators of decent housing however, the findings revealed some deficiencies in the areas of roads, drainage systems and garbage collection services. Much of the problems related to access roads and drainage systems hinged on lack of maintenance which had caused the deterioration of the same. The passiveness of the Local Authorities in the area of maintenance of the infrastructure and the heavy reliance on community participation has led to the deterioration of some of the good things that were introduced. Hence, the projected benefits from the upgrading programmes could not be sustained. The community members were particularly not eager to offer free labour after the end of the upgrading project.In the area of garbage collection it has been found that poor service delivery by the SWMU of the LCC has affected disposal of garbage in upgraded compounds. The containers that have been provided were inadequate to serve the population in upgraded compounds and in some sections of a compound these were non-existent. Thus, people had to find alternative means of garbage disposal but the majority of the residents either disposed their garbage within residential plots or on the roads and open spaces which caused waterlogged roads and residential plots during the rainy season. The findings revealed that people in both upgraded and non-upgraded compounds had exhibited the desire to own decent housing, as is evidenced by the continued improvements of their housing units. Their aspiration however, was constrained by financial problems.The provision of other community services was equally important to the lives of people. Although not directly linked to decent housing, they contribute to the welfare of the residents. The absence of police services for example, jeopardises the lives of people and their property. The findings reveal that there were more community services in upgraded compounds than in non-upgraded compounds. This is an indication of the impact that upgrading programmes have had on the provision of these services.It is in light of the above findings that the recommendations in this study have teen made. These recommendations should be perceived in the light of the revelation by the LCC that upgrading programmes were on-going undertakings.
Squatter settlements , Squatters , Housing -- Lusaka , Housing development