The history of buildings
2018

The Poor Housing Available Around the World

It is widely accepted that there is an uneven spread of wealth around the world. It is believed that only 70% of the world’s population holds only 3% of the world’s wealth.

Typical pre-war council houses

This means that a lot of poor people have to live in houses, and other forms of accommodation, that are relatively cheap to build. This uneven distribution of wealth also occurs within countries and even in the same regions. People of similar wealth tend to live in the same areas and geographers for centuries have been producing theories that explain general patterns of land use in cities. Generally, the wealthy live in the nicer parts of the cities where as the poor are attracted to the least desirable areas, where the land is cheapest and no one else wants to use the land. In countries like the United Kingdom the poorer housing is often subsidized with people renting off the local authorities. These houses are known as council houses. The houses generally have two or three bedrooms and will be semi-detached. Originally these houses used to have an outside toilet and they were often shared with their neighbors. Recent council houses has seen an improvement in the quality of the buildings with all bathroom facilities moving to the inside of the house. The poor have also been housed in flats with the beauty being that large numbers of families that can be housed on a small land space. Initially, these high-rise flats were cheaply built and this led to many problems and effected the quality of life. Recent initiative has seen more money invested in the flats and this has been rewarded by producing better accommodation for people to live in. Despite there being examples of poor quality housing in the developed world it cannot compare with the conditions that the less well-off have to live in when they arrive in developing world cities. The major problem is that there are simply not enough houses available for the large numbers of families that require them.

A favela in Rio de Janeiro

These huge numbers of people then have a decision to make between sleeping on the streets, and building their own homes. Finding waste materials, these migrants into the city will then design make shift shelter and often large communities of this form of housing will emerge. This is known as shanty housing or even favelas in other parts of the world. Local authorities are often put in a difficult situation as these shanties are an unsightly scar on the city. But if the authorities move these camps where do the people go. The answer is simple and that is these homeless simply taking their materials elsewhere and build their homes in another part of the city. Many authorities have introduced self-help schemes where they have supplied these communities with raw materials. The families then share their tradesmen’s skills to build the houses into more permanent structures that will have access to the infrastructure of the city. This will include electric, gas, sewage and fresh water supplies. The developing world are having to use far different strategies than the developed world ever did, but they have to deal with far greater numbers.

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