Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
The provision of housing in Malawi is inadequate. The objective of the research was to determine how the physical provision of land, infrastructure and houses contributes to the housing backlog in the major urban areas (Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu). It was found that there is insufficient land within the city boundaries (11%, 4%, 2% and 2.5% of district land for Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu respectively), resulting in unaffordable serviced land. In addition, the land is controlled by different parties and this results in uncoordinated development. While the availability of water and electricity is adequate, the costs of connection and consumption deter most people from benefiting from the services. Most roads are unpaved and earth (dirt) roads. Restrictions on the development of formal houses render the costs of formal house construction very high, causing most people to resort to the informal sector where they construct semi-permanent houses (more than 60% in all the subject areas). These houses do not meet the definition of adequate housing. It is recommended that the government should empower local authorities to redefine their city boundaries to include more land within the city boundaries. Thereafter each city should ensure that land is used in a coordinated way by implementing forward planning and enforcing the extensive legislation at its disposal. Local authorities should compile a register of semi-permanent houses in areas of their jurisdiction and upgrade them with basic amenities of water, toilets and roads. In addition they should set aside land where further informal settlement should be allowed to take place in a legal way. Developers should go into partnerships with utility services providers in order to reduce costs of service provision.
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