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11th Annual Affordable Housing Projects  

A one-stop-platform to discover and learn how to address these challenges and examine critical affordability issues by determining the income range of low to middle income groups. 

30 March - 2nd April 2020 


marcus evans Pan Asian 

Great overall and relevant.

Asia Pacific Union for Housing Finance  

All over and excellent event.

National Housing Bank

An interview with Dr Renu Khosla, Director, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence, India 

Ahead of the Affordable Housing Projects conference, we spoke to Renu Khosla to have a an in depth industry insight on the challenges faced in providing affordable housing options for all. Marcus Evans 11th Annual Affordable Housing Projects provides a one-stop-platform to discover and learn how to address these challenges and examine critical affordability issues by determining the income range of low to middle income groups. Explore new construction technologies and innovative building materials and techniques to reduce construction costs and improve operational efficiency. Leverage innovative financing mechanisms to bridge the gap of affordable housing development. This highly anticipated event is an excellent platform to network, exchange ideas, seek business opportunities and tap into the experience of key industry leaders.

In your opinion, what does affordable housing look like today, and how is it different from previous years?

Affordable housing is imagined as physical space created for the poor of the city. It is developed by the State (with or without the private sector) in large, multi-level, housing complexes at the edges of cities. Edge housing has three significant repercussions: one, it creates enclaves of non-inclusive settlements of the poor. These un-diverse areas are also socially isolating and ghettoizing; two, at the city’s edge such housing distances poor from the city’s markets, making it hard for them to earn a decent living, and depressing the city’s economy as a whole. Edge development is particularly hard on women, who prefer work or markets close to homes, and are therefore disempowered; three, by taking the building function away from the poor, the State encourages dependency while simultaneously increasing their own spend, including for extending infrastructure to these outer areas.

What are some creative improvements for a sustainable community?

Creative disruption begins with participatory planning. This helps incubate innovative design solutions, de-engineered infrastructure, integrated and inclusive development, and ecological resilience and are key to ensuring sustainable communities.

CURE’s (Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence) has incubated all. Our ecological resilience building involves slum dwellers who usually live in fragile ecosystems as planners and implementers; resource generators (harvesting rainwater, recharging ground water, revitalizing over and underground water aquifers); and ecological conservationists (planting trees, composting, treating and reusing wastewater, etc.). They have also been supported to become zero-waste-water communities, recharging and replacing all water extracted and repurposing treated wastewater. In-situ, slum redevelopment plans developed with people, have housing designs that go beyond the physical - building social capital by creating interactional and livelihood spaces, and build ecological resilience. Creative de-engineering has been used to simplify large infrastructure projects - localizing and networking them for leveling things up and ensuring equality.

 How do you think in today’s affordable housing crisis, the supply and demand gap could be fulfilled?

By unthinking housing creation. By letting people build themselves. By creating an enabling environment for housing to happen by people. By supporting the small private sector that caters to this segment of the poor. By impacting the housing ecosystem and creating access to inner city land, services, finance, technology, building material, etc.

Poor build their own houses. They also provide the masons, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. that build city housing.  They build their own homes quickly and efficiently, incrementally adding space as families grow and/or their are savings. Before the current built housing became the trend, governments would procure and make available serviced land to people (this could be in small scattered parcels), letting them build themselves as per their need. Housing then needed to be created only for the desperately poor at the base of the pyramid or the seasonal migrants.

What are some innovative approaches for expanding housing finance to the lower-income market segments?

Poor households need affordable, non-collateralized, simplified access to small-multiple loans with quick and easy entry/ compliance conditions and synergies to income patterns. Because poor build cheaply and incrementally, they need smaller sums with flexible repayment plans. Formal banks are unable to informalize, and micro financing designed to meet the financing needs of the poor is getting overly formalized, inflexible, indebting, and generally untied to livelihoods to guarantee repayment.

Community Credit Funds is an innovative financial product curated by CURE. Capitalized from its grant funds to provide quick, interest-free, multiple loans for housing upgrades such as building toilets, construction improvements, livelihoods, etc. The fund, variously called the Livelihood Revolving Fund, the Community Development Fund, the Toilet Building Fund, was managed by the community with CURE oversight and empowering CBOs with management skills. Tied to livelihoods and technological support, these funds can have greater transformative impact. A community committee approved and set the payback rules such as for amounts and frequency, which could have a deferred start.

Informalization of banking institutions and making them more insightful of housing finance needs and repayment capabilities in this group of people, can help curate appropriate loaning products for various groups in the communities. Micro-financing through Banks with lowered loaning conditionals, low interest rates, quick and light paperwork, outreach centres in underwhelming locations such as schools, health centres etc. can also ensure access to the excluded such as women, elderly etc.

What in your opinion are some issues of affordable housing and urbanisation that leads to social instability?

Urban migration and peri-urban growth. Distorted land markets, not working for the poor. Lack of legitimacy (illegal land tenure) that serves to exclude the desperately poor. Multiple demands on public spaces such as pedestrianizing streets that push informal vendors out of business. Lack of nimble, affordable finance for housing (and for other basic needs) that is insensitive to incomes and earning patterns of the poor.

Edge housing - because that’s where land is cheap and available - widens the gap between the rich and the poor. Diversity on the other hand is crucial for urban economic growth, wealth creation and transforming lives of people. Integrating edge cities - making things equal and inclusive, making inner-city land affordable, bringing in the trunk infrastructure, is that much harder, costlier and time taking. It also has significant social consequences.

Informality of current living arrangements (lack of land tenure) excludes the most vulnerable from legitimate housing, basic services and or money to build as they lack proof of residence. In addition, design solutions for transformative housing by the State are often legacy based, one-size fits all options, and are based on unvalidated assumptions about the poor (as land encroachers, non-tax payers, unwise), and do not include them or their wisdom in localizing housing and infrastructure. Besides there is low capacity or inclination to work with people and reason for low consumption of housing developed by cities.

Formal financing models for informal people are also exclusionary - because poor lack legal proof of residence and /or required documentation to access formal loans and subsidies, they are often unable to get the benefits of government housing programmes.

What would you like delegates to take away from your upcoming presentation?

To unthink housing solutions for the poor by working with people and communities. To think of housing as part of a larger goal aimed at inclusion, equality, social integration and transformation. To co-work with the poor to conserve and sustain their environment - to use housing as an instrument for building ecological resilience. To develop housing not as physical space but as spaces that are enabling, transformative and socially integrated. To design solutions that address an entire ecosystem - formality, financing, land, livelihoods, connectivity, markets, etc. and not just the physicality of housing. To be disruptive. 

Why you should attend this marcus evans conference?

Gain insights into best practices including :

Incorporating community-based planning and vertical design approaches to create more sustainable neighbourhood. 

Promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration to provide a wider range of housing options accessible to the under-served markets
Upgrading informal settlements though effective planning and incremental development of low cost housing for higher living standards
Lowering overall building costs and increasing the speed of construction with innovative construction technologies and building materials
Establishing a strong legal and regulatory framework to create an enabling environment for prospective investors
Developing viable and bankable projects to secure adequate funding for sustainable development of affordable housing projects

Showcasing global practitioners and trendsetters : 

  • Naeem Razwani, Director Asia Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International, Philippines 

  • Paul Graham, CEO, Keystart Home Loans, Australia

  • Anne Lochoff, Senior Advisor –Partnerships, UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development, Singapore 

  • Ihab Nafie, Director, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority 

  • Debra L. Erb , Managing Director – Housing Programs, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), US

  • Stephen Duggan, CEO & Co-Founder , Housing Africa Corporation, South Africa 

  • Dr Renu Khosla, Director, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence, India 

  • Mark Francis, Executive Director, Regulatory Services –Housing & Homelessness Department of Housing and Public Works, Australia 

  • Andrew Chimphondah, Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Kenya 

For registration pricing and multiple attendee discounts, please contact:

Aarathi Manokaran 

What our delegates think of us :