Sustainable development is one of the core strategies of development adopted by many countries across the world. Although this awareness has reached that level, sustainability was not considered profoundly in the past. In that time, people focused on economic development without considering other crucial aspects such as environmental awareness, sociology and humanity.
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The introduction of sustainability closed that gap by developing initiatives that integrate the three aspects. In the modern world, governments are dedicating their efforts towards sustainable development in sectors such as real estate management, infrastructural development and health issues. In essence, they focused profoundly on real estate since it was one of the vital sectors of economic development.
However, the authorities experience many challenges because the increasing population has led to high demand of rental houses. As a result, the worldwide emergence of slums has posed economic, health, social and environmental threats.
In fact, slums have affected many countries such as the UK, the USA, India, China and most countries in Africa. Bearing in mind that slums have emerged extensively, this paper seeks to create a sustainability agenda in relation to four main aspects, including health, economy, environment, and social factors of sustainability.
Development of Sustainability Agenda in Real Estates
Slums contravene the ideologies of sustainable development in many ways. The life that people experience in slums is barely sustainable in regard to the aspects such as economy, health, sociology and environmental awareness. This implies that there is a need to develop the sustainability agenda in the slums.
In the light of developing the sustainability agenda, this paper seeks to elucidate the sustainability in relation to the four mentioned aspects. Under each aspect of sustainability, the discussion will touch the expectation of sustainability, the policies that focus on the issues, the problems experienced in comparison to those policies, and the solutions to those afflictions.
Health Concerns in Sustainable Development
While thinking about the sustainability agenda in the slums, one of the most critical aspects that must be considered is the condition of health within the residences. In accordance to the principles of sustainability, development must focus on creating a healthy society. In other words, development cannot be realised when the society is unhealthy.
This implies that development of sustainable agenda in slums must purport good health among the residents. It introduces the aspect of purporting development that focuses on people’s satisfaction. This development does not concentrate on building prestigious houses or infrastructure only. Instead, it focuses on satisfying the needs of people holistically.
As a result, it seeks to reduce morbidity, purport good health, and strengthen people’s relationships within their residences. Failure to purport these aspects could prevent the realisation of development.
Moreover, development should neither isolate humanity nor compromise the needs of human beings. In line with this principle, there are various policies that have been developed to attain sustainable health in the real estate as discussed in the next paragraph.
Additionally, health concerns are conjoined to the principle of a scientific approach to issues. It states that sustainable development should be based on strong scientific evidence (Earleywine 2002). In this light, decisions on whether or not to implement a policy should be inspired by strong scientific evidence. This implies that decisions should not be based on myths, misdirected theories and speculations.
A detailed scientific evaluation should be conducted before introducing any policy or building any infrastructure. This ideology is evident in the real estate sector where scientific evidence is required in order to determine the appropriateness of using some building materials.
For instance, the government of the USA conducts profound research in order to determine the appropriateness of paints supplied by foreign manufacturers. This undertaking helps the country to avoid harmful paints that could cause health problems. In this regard, some paints have been prohibited because they contain ingredients that release bad odour in houses (Cacace & Schmid 2008).
Equally, the development of sustainability agenda in the slums should follow this principle. All the relevant policies must be consistent with scientific ideologies that purport their application. Otherwise, policies based on mere speculation, taboos, and myths might lead to the loss of profitable opportunities.
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Health Policies in Real Estate
World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that a community is not developed sustainably in case it has not attained the basic health standard (Sclar & Garau 2005). This implies that the community must apply strategies purporting good health. In addition, the organisation stated that a group whose rate of morbidity and mortality is higher than the average national level is not developed sustainably.
In relation to this assessment, health policies are stipulated to provide standard requirement for the establishment of a real estate. Also, they elucidate the procedures followed during the establishment of real estates and ensure good health. In addition, the health policies articulate the required maintenance practices that purport good health.
For instance, health policies from most countries require the real estate managers to provide sanitation facilities for the people who live in the estates. These facilities include latrines, bathrooms, urinals, and sewage disposal systems that drain away the dirty water from the residences. They ensure that people living in real estate dispose of their waste materials in a healthy manner.
Most authorities have stipulated very stringent policies concerning the disposal of waste materials coming from the real estate. It is known that waste materials are a significant source of diseases and bad odour. As a result, the disposal of sewage cannot be ignored when focusing on sustainable real estates. An authority that aspires to attain sustainable estates cannot let sewage materials run on the surface and cause diseases.
As a result, most countries around the world have provided clear instructions concerning the disposal. In Kenya, the health officers cannot license an estate that does not have disposal hole of approximately 2000 cubic meters. It also requires a well maintained network of sewage conveyance pipes which dispose of the waste materials. The pipes should be strong enough to avoid bursting that could release the waste materials.
Whereas the principles of sustainability and the policies outline the health requirements in real estates, there have been severe problems in the slums. Essentially, there are severe discrepancies that exist between the above stipulations and the health conditions in the slums.
Problematic Heath Condition in the Slums
The provision of sufficient sanitation facilities occupies the central point of the health policies in relation to the real estate. However, there are critical problems that are experienced regarding these facilities in some regions such as India and most of the African countries (Jha & Rao 2007). The facilities are managed poorly leading to flooded bathrooms, blocked latrines and unclean urinals.
The poor management leads to formation of bleeding areas for anopheles mosquitoes that cause malaria. This situation is more evident within the slums than in other places of residence. In addition, due to the high number of people in the slums, the facilities are owned and used communally. One latrine is used by a large number of people. For example, 30 people use one latrine in Kibera slums (Schwartz 2002).
This is a great threat to the health of residents whereby the principles of sustainability is contravened, and the health policy is neglected. In most cases, authorities neglect the full implementation of the health policies as stipulated in the records (Gulis 2004). Further, the flooding water also provides the bleeding areas for other harmful microorganisms that cause diarrhoea and typhoid.
This condition implies that the health status is essentially unsustainable owing to the prevalence of diseases occasioned by the poor sanitation facilities and stagnant water. In essence, there are various measures that can be implemented in order to curb the threat of poor health as discussed in the next paragraph.
Solutions to Health According to Policies and Sustainability Principles
First, the concerned authorities should ensure that the people living in slums are provided with clean water for consumption and use. According to WHO, water holds 76 percent of all microorganisms that cause diseases (Waitzkin 2003). For example, researchers have established that dirty water is a habitat for infectious microorganisms such as amoeba and fungi.
When people consume this water, they are infected with dangerous diseases such amoebic dysentery and typhoid (Waitzkin 2003). This implies that provision of clean water for consumption could curb the spread of these diseases. In addition, pools of dirty water are the breeding ground for mosquitoes that cause malaria.
As a result, sustainable approach suggests that the disposal of such water could help in controlling malaria (Waitzkin 2003). While conducting these activities, it should be understood that malaria is one of the most significant threats in the tropical countries which have relatively high temperatures. This implies that the control of malaria is both an initiative and demand.
Additionally, a collection of polythene papers and polyvinyl chloride material is another measure that purports good health. Equally, they form the breeding ground for mosquitoes causing malaria. In addition, some of the polyvinyl chloride materials are capable of causing injuries to the body. As a result, disposing of these materials helps in controlling poor health.
Another sustainable approach towards purporting good health is the disposal and treatment of sewage. In this light, theories of sustainability state that sewage disposal and treatment are mandatory. Furthermore, it points out that the two undertakings must be conducted in order to realise good health in real estate. This implies that the authorities cannot fulfil one of the activities and expect good health.
Instead, sewage material must be disposed and treated accordingly. Lastly, the provision of sufficient sanitation facilities in the slums is very crucial. In this light, insufficient facilities lead to the competition and mismanagement which cause blockages. These blockages lead to contamination of water and food. In some instances, the lack of these facilities leads to severe health problems.
Environmental Sustainability in the Slums
Environmental Limits in Sustainability
The principles of sustainability states that people must live within the environmental limits. This implies that human activities must be conducted in a manner that does not contravene with environmental awareness. In regard to the real estates, the primary concern is the type of construction material used by the residences when building their houses.
The materials used for the construction of residential houses must be essentially durable and easily disposable. This ensures that the amount of waste materials disposed of at any point is essentially little to curb the pollution and degradation of the environment. The principle of environmental limits has necessitated the conception of many policies in regard to the construction materials as discussed in the next paragraph.
Policies on the Construction Materials
Construction materials are vital factors that should be considered while focusing on sustainability (Laquatra & Syal 2008). In this light, materials relate to sustainability owing to aspects such as cost, environmental impact and health. The cost of obtaining some materials is very high leading to economic impacts. On the other hand, natural resources are depleted by use of some materials such as timbers (Prasad, 1994).
Other materials are harmful to the health of residents implying that they should be prohibited. Some of these harmful materials include paints and iron sheets among others. Governing authorities stipulate policies which take control of construction materials. For example, the American government prohibited the use of indigenous trees from the Amazon forest in order to protect that ecosystem.
In other countries, the relevant authorities restricted the usage of some trees which are endangered. In the same light, some synthetic materials are prohibited to avoid poor health and environmental pollution.
For example, some paints containing harmful ingredients have been banned in the USA (Cacace & Schmid 2008). In addition, the Kenyan government has banned the usage of iron sheets to construct walls since they can cause injuries.
Environmental Problems in Slums
In the slums, people use poor construction materials when they are building houses. These materials include polythene papers and rotted iron sheets destroy environmental fitness. Polythene papers, when destroyed, are easily leading to a fast rate of disposal and piling of waste materials. In addition, since the polythene papers are unrecyclable, people opt to burn the materials in order to eliminate them.
This leads to the production of gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide that pollute the air (Amlinger & Peyr 2008). In fact, the government of the UK has become very strict in regard to the production of greenhouse gases because their ozone layer is threatened. These sentiments imply that the development of sustainability agenda must be conducted in line with environmental limits.
Solutions to the Environmental Problems
In essence, the relevant authorities must pay attention to the types of construction material used by the residents in the slums. The upgrading of slums should incorporate the use of less harmful materials such as timbers and stones.
This will ensure that the houses are durable, and they do not have materials that are difficult to dispose. In addition, the use of such materials will ensure that the residents do not face the dangers related to physical injuries since the use of iron sheets poses this threat.
Sustainable Economy in Slums
Principles of Economic Sustainability
When discussing sustainability in the economy of the slums, there are various principles that are considered in order to achieve a holistic society. One of these principles states that any society should support the development of sustainable economy. Sustainably, economic development should neither compromise human sociology nor environmental fitness.
On the other hand, environmental awareness and human sociology should not compromise economic development. This implies that the agents of sustainable development must balance between the two aspects so that human sociology is achieved along with economic progress (Kotchen 2006).
This balance could be achieved by applying initiatives such as green economy, renewable energy and green architecture (Aarons 2007). While developing this agenda, the agents of sustainability should focus on purporting the economy that does not compromise human sociology and environment (Seibold-Bultmann 2007).
For instance, it is hypothesised that most women in the real estate get their income from immoral behaviours such as prostitution (Abuya & Onsomu 2012). On the other hand, young men indulge in acts of crime which include stealing, killing and hijacking. The sustainability agenda must aim at eliminating these vices and introducing moral ways of earning money in order to improve the financial status of the residents.
Furthermore, in order to develop sustainability in real estate management, it is suggested that the agents of economic development should create effective initiatives to mobilise people towards establishing sustainable real estates. In this regard, the concerned bodies should organise conferences that focus on aspects such as green architecture, sewage disposal and sewage treatment.
These initiatives can help in mobilising people against poor real estate management. In fact, real estate is a sector that cannot be ignored if we have to realise sustainable development. Particularly, these conferences should concentrate on the emerging issues such as the emergence of the slums. In this light, the drivers of sustainability should treat the emergence of the slums as a crucial economic global concern.
Policies Related to Sustainable Economy
Modern sustainability indicators suggest that sustainable real estate should be equipped technologically. Although this ideology might be unrealistic in the developing countries, developed ones have put advanced policies concerning the provision of facilities such as electricity, internet connection and DSTV connection.
The provision of these facilities ensures that people are connected to technology since it is growing at a very fast rate. This is one of the upcoming aspects of sustainable development. However, the ideology is not essentially new considering the foundation of sustainable development. In this regard, sustainable development is about developing people in accordance to the world’s progress.
People must develop in accordance to their environments because it should be directed to people’s needs. Therefore, it is unsustainable for the people to live in a world advanced technologically without having the knowledge. As a result, the policy that purports the provision of these facilities is correlated to sustainability.
However, this policy is not crucial to the basic ideologies of sustainability. It is only fundamental to the few developed countries. This implies that the policy will become applicable to the developing countries only when they attain high economic advancement.
Economic Problems in Slums
It has been established that the slums present a situation in which women indulge in prostitution due to the lack of money (Sahariah & Coakley 2007). This implies that these women sacrifice their social integrity for the sake of making money and catering for their needs. In this regard, the economy becomes unsustainable because the pertinent principle advocated economic development without sacrificing human sociology.
Further, criminal activities that are instigated by jobless people indicate a severe problem when it comes to economic sustainability. This implies that the young people in the slums have limited chances of accessing job opportunities so that they end up engaging in criminal behaviours. In essence, these activities are fostered by economic incapability, but they are social affliction in nature.
However, they are classified as economic issues because the causative agent is traced back to financial incapability of these prostitutes and criminals. When looking at the policies of economic sustainability, the provision of facilities, such as electricity and connection to technology, is one of the most pertinent requirements.
However, the slums have a severe problem when it comes to this policy since most of the slums are below the required standards. Most of them, such as Kibera in Kenya, operate without the provision of electricity in the area. This poses a great challenge to the exposure of the residents to the outside world because they do not have a chance of having the TVs that need electrical energy.
Solutions to the Economic Problems
Essentially, the respective authorities should concentrate on upgrading the slums in relation to provision of electricity, business opportunities, and creation of employments. The three measures will ensure that young women and men can engage in moral ways of obtaining money to cater for their families. As a result, the government can manage to reduce the incidences of criminal activities and prostitution.
The creation of those opportunities will ensure sustainable development since the residences will improve their financial status without compromising their underlying social morals. When it comes to technology, the installation of electricity in the slums is the primary gateway that will enable the residents to use computers and TVs conveniently so as to explore the world.
Principles Conjoined to Social Aspects in Real Estates
The fourth principle is about the promotion of good governance (Clark 2006). According to the principle, development must incorporate good governance that considers sociology, environmental awareness and economic development (Bai 2011). Since the government is a key player in the enactment of policies, a country without good governance can hardly develop the sustainability agenda (Bai 2011).
This implies that the agents of sustainability must transform the ideologies of governance in order to curb the emergence of slums. For instance, Kenya has invested in a modern real estate project known as the Konza City in Machakos County.
During the launch of this project, the government spokesman warned the people of Machakos about building small houses around the city because they could form the slums. In the same light, the government has initiated a project to upgrade a famous slum called Kibera (Barcott 2000). This implies that the sustainability agenda is initiated by good governance.
Policies Related to Social Aspects in Real Estate
One of the pertinent policies that affect the real estate and slums is the one focusing on occupancy. Congestion of people in real estate is an aspect that impacts the sociology of people. In this regard, congestion reduces privacy that is vital to human beings. In addition, it increases competition for resources owing to insufficiency of available facilities.
As a result, the quality of these facilities reduces due to the poor usage and incapability to control the residents. The level of crime increases because of the inability to cater for basic needs. As a result, controlling the number of occupants in a single house could be helpful in order to avoid congestion and other associated vices.
Conseuently, governments depict policies that control occupancy so that a single room can hold a specified number of people. Although the implementation of the policy is quite difficult, it is developed with the intentions of curbing congestion. In places where people embrace policies willingly, it has helped them to minimise the spread of contagious diseases, control the level of crime and reduce poverty (Bressey 2008).
In Kenya, a single room is supposed to hold an average of five people. This is the recommended size of a single family in Kenya. This number changes in accordance to the policies of the country that are guided by size of its population. However, the respective authorities recommend the maximum number according to scientific research. This implies that obeying the policy could lead to financial, sociological, and environmental benefits.
Additionally, the policy of house spacing is also a relevant policy to the social life of the real estate. Spacing policy affects the establishment of real estates in a profound manner. It aims at reducing congestion and competition for space. In this case, some authorities specify the number of houses that should be built in an acre of land. This policy helps in controlling the number of people who can live in an area.
In addition, it ensures that the owner do not compromise the freedom of residents in order to satisfy his/her financial needs. The houses must be constructed in accordance with the specified spacing to create enough space for tenants. The implementation of this policy is barely evident in the slums.
Houses are built in a congested manner. People live in houses with small spaces that do not meet the needs of human life. As a result, people living cannot realise sustainability if that policy is not considered and implemented.
Problem and Solutions to the Identified Social Problems
The principles of sustainability suggest that people should have the freedom to interact freely. It also points out that people should have their own privacy in the residences. However, the slums contravene with these requirements causing severe congestion due to the lack of enough housing and spacing (Moreno 2003). In order to curb congestion, the involved authorities should seek to upgrade the slums.
In this regard, sustainable development does not advocate elimination of the slums. The elimination of the slums could lead to dramatic interference with the life of the residents. In this case, changing the people’s location can lead to the introduction of new environments that are strange to them. It is, therefore, prudent to upgrade the slums rather than eliminating them.
While upgrading the slums, the most important factors that should be considered include spacing, construction materials and number of people (Nizami 2008). The authorities should follow the spacing policies completely. Each house should be given the right space. It should have sufficient space for playground where children can interact and play.
As a result, the congestion of houses will be eliminated along with people’s congestion (Nizami 2008). If the people are too many, they should be relocated to other places although this measure should be considered as a last option. Another critical measure that is pertinent to elimination of congestion is building public houses.
In this case, slums emerge due to the high cost of rentals because most of them are owned by private businessmen and merchants (Gallin 2004). These businessmen are responsible for escalating the accommodation prices.
If the government builds public houses that can be rented to people, few citizens will seek for survival in the slums. The government will easily control the prices of public houses and make them affordable. As a result, the authorities will manage to reduce the number of the slums and congestion in the country.
It is evident that the real estate management is a fundamental concern of sustainable development. The cost and insufficiency of rental houses have led to the emergence of the slums globally. These slums have posed great challenges to economic, sociological, and health spheres. The challenges such as poverty, congestion, and diseases should be solved globally by applying sustainable approaches and strategies.
In addition, it cannot be disputed that these solutions must focus on the real problems that accompany the emergence of the slums rather than the symptoms. Importantly, the governing authorities must concentrate on providing clean water, upgrading the slums and providing good sewage system. Lastly, the agents of development must seek the enforcement of policies purporting sustainable development.
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In essence, this topic was considered for the purpose of this study bearing in mind that the reduction of the real estate worldwide and subsequent emergence of slums has become a critical problem in the modern world.
It has been noted that the emergence of these slums has posed important challenges to sustainability in term of economy, social growth and environmental degradation. As a result, the slums become critical topic when it comes to creating sustainable society.
During the assignment, the collection of data from secondary sources was essentially successful. There are many books and articles that address the issues facing the people living in the slums. However, the assignment sought to concentrate on the general outlook of the issue.
Having identified that limitation of the research study, the future topics could focus on specific countries such as India and Kenya. However, this study can be the foundation of developing the subsequent and more focused studies.