Housing is the physical structures or shelters in which humans live. It is a basic human need that we need to live a comfortable life.
However, many countries even in the developed world are not able to give housing and its accompanying facilities to its citizens, leaving them living as squatters with no permanent residence or making them opt for informal settlements with no provision of basic amenities like toilets and sewer system (United Nations Demographic Yearbook review, 2004).
The problem is acute in the under developed countries with majority of people who move from rural to urban areas in search of informal employment ending up in the slums.
Housing is a social issue that is always contained in the economic blueprints of different countries, however, the cost of buying a house is high and people who get locked out of the financing avenues available end up in substandard structures or condemned to squatter life.
Technology literacy gives the students the knowledge they need to fully understand the topic. This does not mean that other learning methods cannot give them the desired knowledge, but housing is a rapidly changing issue and it takes different methods in different regions.
Various methods unique to a social setting are used to give housing facilities. Internet use as a resource base to students enables them to get access to a huge information base.
This makes them easily draw comparisons and address gaps in the housing sector. It also opens their mind to other ideas available in tackling housing issues by analyzing online case studies and propose solutions if need be (United Nations Demographic Yearbook review, 2004).
Outline for unit of instruction
|Topic||Information on the topic and what is planned in unit coverage.|
|Housing and technology.|| |
|Home ownership.|| |
|Housing crisis.|| |
Breakdown of the unit plan
Housing and technology
According to Svitek (2006), housing is the buildings or structures where people live independently, with family, or with friends and roommates. Houses differ from place to place in terms of size and living conditions. The type of house an individual owns or rents depend on his/her age, the family size and structure, and the geographical setting of the place.
The house design in urban areas is an indication the financial stature of people living in the place; these houses are plush compared to houses available in the rural areas. However, this is just a generalization as there are slums in urban areas which houses low income earners.
According to Bogard (2001, p.110-115), there need be an agreement between the tenant and the landlord incase the tenant opts to pay monthly rent for the structure. Rent is the constant amount the tenant pays the landlord and it changes due to the forces of demand and supply, high demand increases monthly rent rates while low demand decreases land rates.
The two types of housing are the private residential houses and the public houses. Private residential houses are constructed by developers for personal stay or rent out. Public housing is provided by national governments or other institutions for giving a dwelling to specific members of the community.
National governments may give housing and accompanying social amenities to employees in the public service. The Kenyan government recently launched a Slum Upgrading Project (SUP) to house citizens living in deplorable conditions in urban slums.
Modern technological advancements are crucial in solving housing crisis as modern property development methods are adopted to build houses to the masses. Adoption of technology helps to encourage efficiency in the use of materials and shorten the time taken constructing housing units.
Modern engineering has led to making of on-site bricks to cut cost associated with the acquisition and transport of bricks. Pre-fabricated houses were a timely technology in that it slashes the time taken constructing a structure by half. All these transfer of information and technologies is done through online resources where students and engineers go in search for the latest trends and compare different cases.
Many people find owning a home difficult because of the income levels and the mortgage regulation systems that the government has set up. Owning a home goes beyond the common monthly rent payment which has no guarantee for permanent stay, it is the transfer of ownership from the developer to the eventual owner who takes full responsibility of his acquired asset.
Home ownership is made difficult by the high interest rates charged on mortgages by the service providers. There is also a minimum salary scale allowed to apply for the mortgages leaving a huge chunk of the population without homes especially in the under developed parts of the world.
It is also hindered by the complex property ownership rights specific to a country. However, convergence of world economies has opened property ownership rights in countries with a free market economy (Burt et al., 1999).
Technology is used to gather the necessary statistics on home ownership for effective planning by the governments. This is done using modern scientific methods on statistical gathering and analysis. Online resources like googlemaps are used to view different geographical locations just by navigation on a computer or mobile interface (United Nations Demographic Yearbook review, 2004).
Authorities can solve home ownership issues by determining the best mortgage rates that can ensure that even the lowest earners in the community can afford a house. The government can also construct low cost houses to house them and it should enact effective laws on consumer protection to protect tenants against eviction in case of a default due to harsh economic situations (Burt et al., 1999).
‘Bad housing’ is a concept used to describe houses that fall short of the required housing standards. They are houses that are set up in overcrowded areas with little supply of basic amenities, the tenants have insecurity of tenure in that they may be living in a land that is not originally theirs and its rightful owner takes it when the right time comes.
Housing crisis may also be understood in terms of the shortage of decent houses in an area which puts pressure on the basic social amenities and available infrastructure.
Housing crisis is as a result of poor planning by the government since one of the core duties of a functioning system is the provision of housing to its people. Lack of proper housing normally leads to the mushrooming of informal settlements in urban areas. High population growth rate also puts pressure on the available social amenities resulting in poor living conditions.
It is the lack of a shelter or a home to live in due to a number of reasons. It is the most extreme case of housing crisis because the homeless suffer many physical and emotional pains due to living in the streets or temporary shelters. In many countries, the streets are dotted by families who have established the streets or other specific locations as their homes.
Homelessness can be as a result of displacement due to a political turmoil or a natural disaster. In Kenya, after the post election violence in early 2008, more than 1500 families were displaced from their homes and made to sleep in temporary shelters made of tents as alternative land is being sought to resettle them.
They are still in the tents to date, and this explains how housing crisis is a complex social problem that requires commitment from the political class in order to be solved ardently.
Modern technology for example, the web, has provided a good platform of addressing this issue with numerous non-governmental organizations joining in the initiatives to give housing.
Sourcing for funds is done through the websites of numerous humanitarian agencies who channel the fund received to the provision of affordable housing for the homeless. An example of such organization is ‘Shelter’ which provides housing to the homeless in Britain.
Bogard, C. J. (2001). Advocacy and enumeration. Counting Homeless People in a Suburban Community, 45 (1), 105-120.
Burt, M. R., Aron, L. Y., Douglas, T., Valente, J., Lee, E., & Iwen, B. (1999). Homelessness: programs and the people they serve. Web.
United Nations Demographic Yearbook review. (2004). National reporting of household characteristics, living arrangements and homeless households: Implications for international recommendations. Web.
Svitek, P. (2011). Evanston homeless find warm shelters. Web.