The Survival of the Traditional Swahili House Design in the Coastal Areas of East Africa
Swazuri, Muhammad A
Sudi, Waziri M.
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Housing issues in developing countries have occupied the minds of many researchers and policy makers in government, donor and research agencies. The problems associated with housing continue to be experienced, including rapid population growth rates, lack of adequate land space, poor quality dwellings and living environments. These issues are quite alive in Kenya, whose population of about 40 million is now feeling the effects of the housing gap.Various solutions have been suggested and action taken. The supply side of housing has accommodated all types of designs, one of which is the Swahili house design. Despite the passage of many centuries and the emergence of modern designs, the traditional Swahili house has continued to exist and offers a substantial share of accommodation. The paper analysed critically the Swahili house and determined why it maintains its popularity even in the face of modern designs. The paper also assessed its contribution to the housing stock along the coast of Kenya. The swahili house is still acceptable by low and middle class people of the coast and accounts to about two thirds of the total number of units in the study area. The study found out that this continued survival is due to the design’s suitability to coastal climate, ability of the units to be constructed in stages and that one house can accommodate many families. The study recommends that the government encourages such housing type by providing conducive environment.