The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Chapter 12: The Resolution of Urban Housing Development Disputes as a Mechanism for Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of Kenya’s National Environment Tribunal
Albert Mumma 12.1 INTRODUCTION Historically, in the urban areas of Kenya, demand for housing has always outstripped supply, creating an acute shortage of habitable dwellings, overcrowding and extensive slums and informal settlements. For instance, during the 1970s, an average of 25 000 housing units were constructed annually, compared to the 50 000 that were required. In the 1990s, the average number annually was 112 000 compared to a demand of 560 000. Currently, the average annual urban housing demand is estimated at 150 000 units but only an estimated 30 000 to 50 000 is expected to be constructed, representing an estimated 20 per cent of the total number of new urban households required (Ministry of Lands and Housing, 2004, pp. 2–3). Consequently, more than half of the poor urban dwellers in Kenya live in slums and other unplanned settlements, with limited access to basic sanitation, potable water, garbage collection and security of tenure. Some of these slums, such as the Kibera slums in Nairobi, which has a population of over half a million residents, are among the largest urban slums in the world. This situation is likely to be aggravated by the population trends which show that Kenya is expected to be a predominantly urban country by 2030; by then more than half the population will be residing in urban areas (Ministry of Lands and Housing, 2004, pp. 2–3). This housing deficit arises from a combination of factors including the low level of investment in the sector,...
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