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Re: [carfree_cities] The Slums in the World's Teeming Cities Need an Urgent Solution

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi All, Patrick Collins replied to postings on Carfree_Cities regarding the urgent need for housing for the poor in shanty-towns around ... Can we not get
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 29, 2006
      Hi All,

      Patrick Collins replied to postings on Carfree_Cities regarding
      the urgent need for housing for the poor in shanty-towns around
      the world:

      >I witnessed this first-hand, when living in Johannesburg, South
      >Africa. Throughout the city there are large unused tracks of land,
      >mostly belonging to mining concerns, that have now been completely
      >overrun by so-called "squatter camps". The residents come to the big
      >city from the farms, but also from across the continent. Many of the
      >people that I met and spoke to came from as far afield as Zambia,
      >Congo, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
      >There have been some low-cost housing projects, but these are poorly
      >implemented. Each identical tiny house is built on a tiny parcel of
      >land, not touching the buildings next to it, with a great wide road to
      >accommodate cars that they don't own. Also the construction is
      >sub-standard, with many of these "houses" literally falling apart, or
      >being condemned before they have even been lived in.
      >I think that Mr Crawford's solution is by far the best - 3 / 4 story
      >buildings, close together, with some open space reserved for parks.

      Can we not get together with UN Habitat and maybe Habitat for
      Humanity and try to come up with a real, workable solution to
      this problem? It means thinking outside the box. It means NOT
      including "a great wide road to accommodate cars that they don't own"
      and probably never will. All that is REALLY required is a cheap
      way to build very small two-story buildings (3 or 4 would certainly
      be better) that won't fall down in the first minor natural disaster.

      Anyone interested in this topic should try to borrow a copy of
      _How the Other Half Builds_, which came from the Centre for
      Mininimum Cost Housing at McGill U. in Montreal. The spaces
      they studied have the evolved character that I advocate. They
      provide functioning neighborhoods arranged by the people who
      live in them. Realistically, this is the best we're going to
      do for the 3 billion people who will be living in terrible
      conditions 20 years hence. It's a LOT better than what they
      will have if we don't take action along these lines. We will
      need a cheap, safe, and effective method to build 2-4 story
      buildings that can be designed on the site and built in accordance
      with some very simple guidelines that will ensure safety. These
      buildings have to be of a nature that unskilled people can do
      most or all of the work. And we need basic services. We need
      some sort of cooperative bank to make construction loans. Maybe
      we can put the auto industry to work stamping out sheet metal
      parts that can be assembled on the site.

      Can anyone put together a coalition to do some preliminary
      research and then to propose something to the UN and Habitat?
      Somebody needs to contact McGill. Arie, isn't this something
      that is fundable?

      I can't do any of this. I have way too much on my plate right
      now and am exhausted. But this needs to happen. Anyone?


      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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