Edgefield Secondary School
Sec 2 Express/ Normal Academic Geography Notes Date: ________
Name: _________________________________ ( ) Class: S2_____
CHAPTER 3: HOUSING (Part 2)
GQ3 - What are the consequences of housing shortage in cities?
Named example – The US Department of housing and Urban Development
estimates that there were 610 042 homeless people in the USA on a single
night in January 2013.
Impact – individual’s poor health due to exposure to the cold or rain, hunger
and lack of sleep. May also suffer from skin infections, respiratory problems
and stress disorders.
Temporary measure – some governments have made efforts to provide
temporary shelters for the homeless where they could seek health care
2. Slums and squatter settlements
(a) Environmental Pollution
• Water pollution is common in slums as rivers near slums are often
used for washing, garbage and sewage disposal.
Contaminants from sewage can also seep into the ground water and
pollute nearby water sources such as wells.
• Land pollution from dumping of garbage into open drains and areas
outside the houses due to the lack of a garbage disposal system.
The garbage heap can generate foul smell and become an eyesore.
Named example – Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Development of slums and squatter settlements nearby led to the
disposal of untreated sewage into the Guanabara Bay. The Bay is now
an eyesore filled with floating rubbish and polluted waters. Guanabara
Bay used to have clear waters and white sandy beaches. It used to be
a habitat for diverse range of marine animals.
(b) Low level of health due to poor living conditions
• Lack of basic services such as clean water and proper sanitation in
slums and squatter settlements makes people more vulnerable to
diseases and poor health.
Studies have found that the health of children living in slums is generally
poorer than in areas with proper housing.
Named example – in Nairobi, the death rate of children less than five
years old is 2.5 times higher in slums than in other parts of the city
(2008 data, WHO).
• Lack of access to safe drinking water. Instead they rely on water from
polluted sources such as polluted rivers and contaminated wells. Such
polluted water may have bacteria that cause diseases – cholera,
dysentery, etc. – lead to severe water loss from body and can
ultimately cause death.
• Lack of waste management facilities in slums results in improper
disposal of rubbish. Stagnant waters in clogged drains and sewers
become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and lead to spread of malaria
and dengue fever.
• Overcrowding and closely spaced houses facilitate the spread of
diseases within the slums community.
• Risk of fires, landslides and evictions resulting in injuries, deaths and
loss of property.
Named example - “Fire in Mumbai slum destroys about 150 houses”
• Landslides cause earth and rocks to rush downhill and destroy or bury
everything in its path.
Named example – In April 2010, 256 people were killed after a house
collapsed down a hill slope in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The
event occurred after a period of heavy rain.
• Threat of eviction as slums and squatter settlements may be built on
land without permission from relevant authorities. They lack a sense of
security because they may be forced out of their home anytime.
Named example – in 2012, about 40 000 people who lived in Korail
slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, were evicted when a court order to clear
the land in the slum was issued. The incident resulted in social tension
between the authorities and the slum dwellers. The slum dwellers
staged a protest which ended only when the government promised
stopped evicting the residents temporarily.
Social tension refers to the feeling of uneasiness that exist between
different groups of people.
GQ4 – What are some strategies used by cities to manage housing shortage
and build inclusive homes?
• Involve the participation of low-income households to improve the living
conditions of existing housing.
• Government does not provide housing directly, but provide assistance on
other forms, such as proving construction materials or basic services and
training to equip residents to build their houses.
• People build the houses themselves at their own time which reduced
construction costs. However, the rate of construction may be slower as
residents can only work on the houses during their free time, such as after
work or during weekends.
• Named example – Rocinha Project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Most of the wooden houses were replaced by concrete houses. 75% of
the homes have electricity compared to just 30% before reconstruction.
Services such as rooftop water tanks and piped water ssytems were also
added to the houses. Proper sanitation facilities such as toiles and
sewers were also built.
Partnering with United Nations
• Named example – the Kenya government partnered with the United
Nations (UN_HABITAT) in a project to provide residents in the Nairobi
slums with the rights to build on the existing land, and improve housing
conditions and infrastructure.
• Residents shifted temporarily to an area with new housing units equipped
with services while the vacated slum areas were upgraded.
• Mixed responses from the residents. Some welcomed it as an opportunity
to improve their living conditions. Others were reluctant to participate as
they were uncertain about its success and feared facing difficulties paying
for the cost of the new housing units.
Provision of public housing
Public housing refers to government efforts to provide housing units with basic
services, usually for low-income households and other persons of need such as the
elderly and disabled.
• Reasonably priced compared to private housing, and may be subsidized
by the government.
• Government plan, carry out and fund public housing projects.
• Many ways – old flats may be rented from the government at a low price,
conversion of abandoned buildings for residential use, building new
• Named example – Singapore Public Housing Programme
In the 1960s and 1970s, slums and squatter settlements in Singapore
were cleared to provide higher quality housing to residents. The Housing
and Development Board (HDB) was set up in 1960 to build and provide
public housing for Singapore’s increasing population.
In 2013, more than 80% of the Singapore’s population live in HDB flats.
The public housing programme was so successful that it has evolved to
address the diverse needs of all residents today.
• Named example – Brazil My House, My Life Programme
To provide affordable housing for low and middle income groups and
reduce slum areas.
The Bairro Carioca Project in Rio de Janeiro comprises 2 240 apartments
which will house 10 000 people. Government partnered with the private
sector to build the basic infrastructure of roads, sewerage and water
plants, and also to design and build the housing units.
Challenges: Brazil is too large a country to monitor and evaluate all the
projects and manage many local issues. The household needs are also
too varied and diverse.
Case Study of Singapore to Provide Inclusive Housing
Characteristics of inclusive housing:
• Having housing that is affordable
• Ensuring a quality living environment
• Affordable housing
As defined by the UN:
housing that is priced at a reasonable cost such that residents still have
enough money for other basic needs, such as food.
o A variety of housing types to cater to different income groups:
private property and public housing.
o Types of public housing to meet the diverse needs of residents,
eg. studio apartments for the seniors; three- flats were built to
cater to the needs of smaller families, etc.
o Availability of financial schemes to subsidize the cost of flats, eg.
the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) was introduced in 2006
to help low-income families to buy their first flat. Families earning
more than S$5 000 a month can qualify for a grant of up to S$40
000 which is used to pay for the flat.
o Introduction of the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) in 1989 to
promote integration and harmony among different races. An
ethnic quota is specified for each block and public housing estate.
• Facilities and amenities for all ages
o Retail shops, clinics and carparks are common in all
o 3-Generation facilities catering to the needs of multi-generational
families – playground, adult fitness corner and wellness stations
o Senior Activity Centres set up near or below HDB rental and studio
apartments to encourage interaction among seniors.
o Provision of common corridors with minimum width of 1.5m so as
to facilitate access for people using mobility aids and wheelchairs.
• Strong sense of place and belonging
Refers to the meaning and value people attach to a place as a result of their
experiences or the unique characteristics of a place.
o Distinctive physical features and landmarks eg. monuments,
gardens – visual quality, character and identity
o Named example – the unique design of the rounded balconies and
spiral staircases of HDB flats in Tiong Bahru makes the
neighbourhood look different from other neighbourhoods.
END OF TOPIC