Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Law
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Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Law

Edited by Yves Le Bouthillier, Miriam Alfie Cohen, Jose Juan Gonzalez Marquez, Albert Mumma and Susan Smith

This timely book explores the complex relationship between the alleviation of poverty and the protection of the environment. There is every reason to believe that these issues are in many ways interdependent. However this book demonstrates that there are situations where alleviation of poverty and the protection of the environment appear to be in a fraught relationship. The contributing authors illustrate that the role played by law in this relationship, whether at the international or national level, will vary depending on the situation and will be more successful at pursuing environmental justice in some cases than in others.
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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


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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