|Social Rental Housing: A Key Component Of Urban Planning|
|Inter-American Development Bank|
The production of new housing is a major component of urban development and as such should be closely integrated with urban planning. Any policy for housing supply, for rehabilitation, renovation or expansion, must be strongly connected to an overall strategy of urban development. Priority should be provided to housing located in the city – vis a vis peripheral housing – particularly integrated in city centers rehabilitation projects, restructuring of urban areas, or densification of suburban equipped zones already served and connected to service and transport networks. Present housing stock is insufficient and not fitted to the demand. Shortage of housing currently affects almost all countries, and particularly those of the southern hemisphere. Apart of a quantitative and qualitative deficit of households, there are also problems related to the integration of housing in the city and its capacity to meet the needs of people and communities in a sustainable manner, due in particular to a lack of a diversification in the housing supply and of appropriate integration into urban policies (despite the fact that residential uses account between sixty five to seventy five percent of the surface of the city). Linked to the appropriate urban and territorial planning policies, social rental housing - within a palate of diversified housing tenures – can be an effective and flexible solution better adapted to different households, and in particular to low income groups. Renting (formal and informal) a home might be more accessible, constituting one key alternative for low income households in developing countries, particularly to those unable to prove regular incomes or with income levels insufficient to access the formal housing market. Although most governments have encouraged homeownership in detriment of other forms of housing tenure, plurality of tenure and a more flexible financial framework, with greater emphasis given to social rental housing, can improve efficiency of housing supply in serving the lower-end and be better suited to the various needs and preferences of different groups. This could be encouraged by developing suitable national and local housing policies.