Shelter and economic strategies

This presentation concentrated on the economic implications of housing particularly, home-based enterprises. The appropriate construction of housing can generate large economic multipliers and generate significant backward linkages. However, the forward linkages, though using the home for economic activity are often ignored by policy makers because such activities are not encouraged in planning regulations.

Using data from a four country case study (in Cochabamba, Bolivia; Pretoria, South Africa; New Delhi, India; and Surabaya, Indonesia), this paper reported the benefits which HBEs bring to the lives of low-income households through employment and income for the operators and services provided to customers. The use of space, the home, for economic activity was also examined and shown to be the subject of coping strategies to minimise its effect. HBEs use very little space and generally hardly affect the comfort of the household. However, where homes are very small, as in Delhi, even the small space they use can seriously affect living conditions. HBEs demonstrate that single roomed dwellings are not a suitable planning unit. In addition, service levels in residential areas should take account of the needs of HBEs as well as domestic activities.