THE INCREMENTAL HOUSING WORKSHOP, FIJI - JANUARY 2013
A Workshopexploring incremental housing stratergies for the city of Suva
January 7-19, 2013
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING, MIT, SIGUS - Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement - MIT in collaboration withFiji Department of Housing
Incremental housing is the newly embraced proactive strategy of the global development community. The workshop developed context specific guidelines of incremental housing and site planning for Fiji's new Strategic Housing Policy. The strategy developed would serve as a model for new proactive strategies globally.
The MIT team joined with the planning staff from the Fiji Department of Housing. Teams undertook Field surveys, typologies of current housing and practices, and meetings with communities that will inform the policy recommendations.
Team members from MIT were Aditya Barve, Chris Malcolm, Clay Anderson, Phebe Dudek, and Ana Cristina Vargas Salas from the Department of Architecture, with Jung Hwa Kim and Kelly Heber from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Fiji's housing and urban development ministry is responsible for the planning and implementing the projects that deal with all the squatter settlements in Suva. Research team visited the projects by ministry and other NGO's and interacted with the stakeholder. The projects can be broadly categorized in three categories: Relocation, upgrading and transformation.
As suva witnesses rural to urban migration, government tries to relocate the new migrants either to new sites within the city or back in the agricultural villages. Thus the nature of relocation strategy differs as per its context. For urban relocation, government has established Public Rental Board in 1989. It is responsible for construction and renting of housing units to slum dwellers. The amount of rent depends upon the income of the family. most of the families that were relocated in these units are living there for over 20 years. On the other hand, Rural relocation policy is in its initial phase. It is collaboration between ministry of agriculture and department of Housing and Urban Development. In this scheme slum dwellers who volunteer for relocation are given land on a training camp site and are trained in agricultural techniques by ministry. Once they are trained then a new village is formed with land leased by government. Generally the crops are either cash crops like ginger, or fruit produce.
Slum upgrading was another strategy that was undertaken by ministry of housing. It was limited to providing the basic site and services and demarcation of land. This scheme was employed in more established and old slums like Omkar or Bangaladesh. This also includes the regularization of plot lines and relocation of houses that are too dense or obstructing the service lines. Government provided external toilets that linked to the main sewer.
Incremental initiatives on their own by people were considered in this category. It was observed that where there is possibility to expand the house it was exploited. This was explicitly seen in the case of Milverton road housing project. This housing was build by public rental board(?) in late 19060's. due the nature of construction and design it lent itself fairly well to incremental growth over time. Some of the houses expanded almost four times of their existing area. Being a row house typology it also exhibited an spontaneous community agreement and control over how and where to expand and even the aesthetics of that expansion.