House proud

In con­junc­tion with World Habi­tat Day to­day, StarTwo looks at award-win­ning projects that of­fer peo­ple a place to call home.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By CHIN MUI YOON startwo@thes­

HALF of hu­man­ity now lives in towns and cities, and trends show that this fig­ure will in­crease to two-thirds within the next two gen­er­a­tions. Over one bil­lion peo­ple are liv­ing in slums. What does the fu­ture hold for them?

Rapidly de­vel­op­ing cities in coun­tries like China face the chal­lenge to en­sure that its in­hab­i­tants have a roof over their heads and ad­e­quate fa­cil­i­ties like clean wa­ter and elec­tric­ity. This is also a press­ing is­sue con­fronting his­toric cities such as Is­tan­bul, London and Vi­enna, and de­vel­oped coun­tries such as Singapore and Ja­pan.

World Habi­tat Day, as des­ig­nated by the United Na­tions, falls on the first Mon­day of Oc­to­ber (to­day). It is a day to re­flect on the state of our towns and cities, and the ba­sic right of all to ad­e­quate shel­ter. It is also in­tended to re­mind the world of its col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fu­ture of the hu­man habi­tat. This year’s theme, Bet­ter City, Bet­ter

Life, high­lights our col­lec­tive vi­sion of a sus­tain­able ur­ban world that har­nesses the po­ten­tial and pos­si­bil­i­ties, mit­i­gates in­equal­i­ties and dis­par­i­ties, and pro­vides a home for peo­ple of all cul­tures and ages, both rich and poor.

While that sounds like a huge chal­lenge in view of in­creas­ingly threat­ened hu­man habi­tats around the world due to war and weather con­di­tions, there are flick­ers of hope in projects around the world.

To hon­our the work of en­sur­ing safe and com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for peo­ple around the world, the Habi­tat Scroll of Hon­our award was launched by the United Na­tions Hu­man Set­tle­ments Pro­gramme in 1989.

It is the most pres­ti­gious hu­man set­tle­ments award in the world. Its aim is to ac­knowl­edge ini­tia­tives which have made out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions in var­i­ous fields such as shel­ter pro­vi­sion, high­light­ing the plight of the home­less, lead­er­ship in post­con­flict re­con­struc­tion, and de­vel­op­ing and im­prov­ing hu­man set­tle­ments and the qual­ity of ur­ban life.

In­di­vid­u­als, or­gan­i­sa­tions, projects and Habi­tat Agenda part­ners were nom­i­nated for the Habi­tat Scroll of Hon­our. The cri­te­ria in­cluded the project’s im­pact, its sus­tain­abil­ity and in­no­va­tion.

“Typ­i­cally liv­ing in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, and largely pow­er­less, dis­en­fran­chised and un­der the age of 25, the ur­ban poor are too of­ten con­demned to a life with­out ba­sic rights, hope of an ed­u­ca­tion or de­cent work,” says UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ban Ki-Moon in a state­ment for World Habi­tat Day.

“Lack­ing ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion of fresh wa­ter, elec­tric­ity, san­i­ta­tion or health care, they suf­fer pri­va­tions that all too of­ten pro­vide the tin­der for the fires of so­cial un­rest. Vul­ner­a­ble to ex­ploita­tion and cor­rup­tion, they need and de­serve bet­ter cities and a bet­ter life.

“The chal­lenges of ur­ban poverty – from pol­lu­tion to crim­i­nal gang cul­ture – are not in­sur­mount­able. Many cities are find­ing suc­cess­ful so­lu­tions. Smart cities recog­nise the im­por­tance of good gov­er­nance, ba­sic ur­ban ser­vices for all, and streets and pub­lic spa­ces where women and chil­dren feel safe.” The win­ners of the 2010 UN-Habi­tat Scroll of Hon­our Award:


Vi­enna Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s Sus­tain­able Ur­ban Re­newal Pro­gramme is awarded for putting peo­ple and their views first in a model ur­ban ren­o­va­tion pro­gramme. Un­der its so-called “soft ur­ban re­newal” drive that started in 1984, the city is care­ful to con­sult its res­i­dents on changes and take their views into ac­count – rather than opt for the de­mo­li­tion of run-down neigh­bour­hoods and com­pul­sory re­lo­ca­tion.

At the time, more than 300,000 dwell- ings – with­out toi­lets or wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion – which made up 40% of Vi­enna’s hous­ing stock were tar­geted for ren­o­va­tion. Un­der the multi-mil­lion dol­lar pro­gramme, sub-stan­dard hous­ing stock has been re­duced to be­low 9% fol­low­ing im­prove­ments to more than 5,000 build­ings with nearly 250,000 apart­ments.


The Kun­shan Mu­nic­i­pal Peo­ple’s Govern­ment is awarded for an in­no­va­tive ap­proach to grant­ing mi­grants the right to es­sen­tial ser­vices in the city. Draw­ing some 800,000 job-seekers ev­ery year, Kun­shan holds five em­ploy­ment fairs ev­ery week. In the last two years, it has helped more than 200,000 peo­ple get work, in a city where mod­ern, new ac­com­mo­da­tion has in­creased per capita liv­ing space from 12sqm in 1999 to 40sqm to­day. The city also en­sures that mi­grants have full ac­cess to pen­sion, health and other so­cial se­cu­rity schemes, as well as equal ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties, and the same rights to pub­lic ser­vices as lo­cal peo­ple.


The City of Medellin is awarded for the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of three pro­grammes to re­duce ur­ban poverty, pro­vide health­care for chil­dren and give cit­i­zens a say in ur­ban ser­vices. The poverty re­duc­tion pro­gramme has tar­geted 40,000 of the city’s poor­est house­holds. The health pro­gramme en­sures that all chil­dren five and be­low have in­sti­tu­tional, pae­di­atric health care, while the third pro­gramme seeks to con­sis­tently sur­vey the im­pact of city ser­vices to en­sure that de­ci­sions taken have the right im­pact in the right ar­eas.

The Govern­ment of Morocco

The Govern­ment of Morocco is awarded for de­liv­er­ing one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful and com­pre­hen­sive re­duc­tion and im­prove­ment In a con­cept al­ready Egypt and Tu­nisia, the pro­gramme, widely its kind in Africa, is Morocco’s Cities with­out

The Govern­ment 2004 of hu­manely clear­ing 85 cities by the year

Work­ing with the and Ur­ban Devel­op­ment Om­rane, in the past im­proved or elim­i­nated coun­try’s slums which mil­lion peo­ple.

The cost of the pro­gramme come to 25 bil­lion dirhams which the Govern­ment bil­lion dirharms (US$


The Hous­ing and (HDB) is awarded for world’s green­est, clean­est so­cially con­scious hous­ing For over half a cen­tury, grow­ing pop­u­la­tion

part in Singapore’s To­day, more than Sin­ga­pore­ans live in more than 9 in 10 of

in which they HDB and Singapore when it comes to think­ing var­i­ous sec­tors of so­ci­ety the el­derly, or dis­abled, to de­velop hous­ing cater to their needs.

South Africa

The Jo­han­nes­burg Com­pany (JOSHCO) tens of thou­sands units, im­proved ba­sic ser­vices to poor

As part of an ex­em­plary on com­mu­nity devel­op­ment has con­verted for­mer hos­tels, derelict in­ner some slum dis­tricts

Or­gan­is­ing youth pro­grammes, clean-other ac­tiv­i­ties as part plan, JOSHCO teams like vi­o­lence against youth; the fam­ily; early

and mea­sures within com­mu­ni­ties.

com­pre­hen­sive slum im­prove­ment pro­grammes. al­ready be­ing repli­cated in Tu­nisia, the Moroc­can

widely con­sid­ered the best of Africa, is spear­head­ing Cities with­out Slums drive. Govern­ment had set a tar­get in hu­manely clear­ing the slums in the year 2012. with the Min­istry of Hous­ing Devel­op­ment and its agency Al

past decade it has elim­i­nated 45.8% of the slums which are home to 1.6

the pro­gramme has so far bil­lion dirhams (US$2.86bil) of Govern­ment has al­lo­cated 10 dirharms (US$1.1bil)

and Devel­op­ment Board awarded for pro­vid­ing one of the green­est, clean­est and most con­scious hous­ing pro­grammes.

cen­tury, HDB has housed a pop­u­la­tion and played an in­te­gral Singapore’s nation build­ing.

than eight in 10 live in HDB apart­ments and 10 of them own the apart­ment they live. Singapore are global pi­o­neers to think­ing of the needs of of so­ci­ety – young cou­ples, dis­abled, to cite a few, and hous­ing and sur­rounds that



Jo­han­nes­burg So­cial Hous­ing JOSHCO) is awarded for pro­vid­ing thou­sands of af­ford­able hous­ing im­proved liv­ing con­di­tions and to poor fam­i­lies. ex­em­plary project based devel­op­ment since 2004, it for­mer male-only mine derelict in­ner city build­ings and dis­tricts into live­able homes. youth days, sports clean-up cam­paigns and

as part of its devel­op­ment teams fo­cus on pri­or­i­ties against women and chil­dren; fam­ily; early child­hood devel­op­ment; mea­sures to re­duce crime


Cre­ative use of build­ing ma­te­ri­als: A low-cost hous­ing struc­ture in down­town Jo­han­nes­burg. Ex­perts say the so­lu­tion to South Africa’s hous­ing cri­sis lies in em­pow­er­ing those who live in in­for­mal set­tle­ments and giv­ing them a say in re­forms.

A worker putting the fin­ish­ing touches to the En­gi­neer­ing build­ing at Eafit Uni­ver­sity in Medellin, Colom­bia. The city of Medellin has suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented pro­grammes to re­duce ur­ban poverty, pro­vide health­care for chil­dren and give cit­i­zens a say in ur­ban ser­vices.

The Singapore Hous­ing and Devel­op­ment Board is awarded for pro­vid­ing one of the world’s green­est, clean­est and most so­cially con­scious hous­ing pro­grammes.

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