Escalating rates of population growth spells a plethora of problems rooting however, we must understand that the problem at hand is one that is within our control and not an inexorable force of nature.
An average person uses, in fact requires more land space than a few feet they occupy to sustain life: cropland grow food, grazing land for meat and dairy, oceans for fishing, forests for lumber and developed land for habitation and trade which adds up to about 10-20 acres per person.
Most cities in developing countries do not have infrastructure to deal with the massive surge in population growth rates. On the other hand, governments may or may not have the necessary capital to address the issue. Shanties or shanty towns are most often founded on land polluted by an industry or narrow strips of land close to the sea or main roads posing dangers that co
uld be fatal.
So how do we combat the imbalance in the scale: escalating population growth and the parallel plummeting land resources?
We Provide, You Build
Site and Service Schemes are where the government provides a site/a small plot of land and basic facilities such as water, sewer facilities and in some situations, construction materials with ownership given to the citizen.
We Build: Planned Community Shelters
UN Habitat records that by 2030, close to 3 billion people will be in need of housing and access to basic services such as water and sanitation systems. This translates into the completion of “96,150 housing units per day with serviced and documented land from now till 2030…” Understanding the gravity of the issue at hand, many countries have resorted to housing developments in Sydney as a solution and it’s proving to be a success.
However, housing developments are no longer limited to the characteristic blocks of concrete although the aim is to provide low-cost shelters. Today, the mould of tower blocks have been broken to undo the negative stereotypes coined with these shelter schemes serving as remarkable works of architecture in their own right offering inhabitants the dignity of well-designed homes.
We Provide, You Improve
As an alternate policy to the Site and Service Schemes, countries such as Bolivia and Pakistan also have schemes to provide residents of shanty towns with materials and basic services such as electricity, clean water supply, sewerage and waste disposal to improve existing shelters. Although this is inexpensive in comparison to the Site and Service Scheme, it does not address the root of the problem: the land in consideration on which the shanties stand, may still be unsuitable for habitation.