GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

 
AUTHOR NAME
 
Family Name:
ALMUNAJJED
 
First Name:
MONA
 
ABSTRACT OF PAPER
 
Title of Paper:
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: A NATIONAL PRIORITY FOR GCC COUNTRIES
 
Paper Proposal Text :
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: A NATIONAL PRIORITY FOR GCC COUNTRIES


Demographic changes and urban expansion in all the GCC countries has led to a chronic shortage of housing and a huge increase in housing prices in major cities. Rapid population growth, an increasing workforce, the influx of foreign labour, smaller households, and continuing urbanization have sharply increased demand for housing in recent years. Based on recent reports and statistical data from individual GCC countries and from United Nations sources, the paper identifies the main problems in national housing policies in the GCC countries, as a deficiency in supply, an increase in costs, land shortage, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of access to finance. A major challenge is the provision of affordable housing (dwellings whose rental or purchase costs are affordable to those on a median income) to the growing number of lower- and middle-income migrants from rural to urban areas, and to the increasing young population. High rates of youth unemployment have made it even more difficult for young people to secure a house. Wealth created by the oil boom has increased young people’s aspirations for their living standards, but it has also created obstacles by encouraging high-cost housing construction. This has put property for buying or renting in most of the main cities of the region out of financial reach for the majority of the young middle- and lower income classes. The effects of the current “youth bulge” will be a feature of the region for some time to come. Women in GCC countries also have difficulties in accessing adequate housing because of legal and social discrimination.

Access to adequate housing is internationally recognized as a basic human right for all. Housing has become a major social issue as well as a basic condition for survival. A good housing policy helps to maintain political stability and a secure social order by preventing problems related to homelessness, poverty and exclusion. GCC countries show some awareness of these social implications and the issue of housing remains central to their social and economic policies. However, the paper looks at how these policies are being applied in individual countries and finds that in spite of various bold initiatives a gap continues to exist between supply and demand. Existing housing projects not only suffer from severe cost constraints but also lack important infrastructure required to meet people’s social needs, norms and lifestyles. Governments need to look for alternative ways to establish more affordable housing projects and housing finance and to improve the delivery system. They also need to take into account the need for sustainability in the building industry to meet concerns about economy, utility, and durability – existing affordable housing policies tend not to take into account environmental factors such as energy and water conservation, and waste reduction, although “green” building codes are being developed throughout the region.

The paper proposes recommendations, which may involve changes in legislation, financing, social programs, and infra-structural development and the mobilization of the private sector and local communities, to meet the demands for affordable housing for middle- and lower-income people in the Gulf region.
 
 
 

WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF