Factors affecting house improvement in the informal settlements. a case study of Manyatta Settlement in Kisumu Municipality Kenya.
Review of the formation, growth, magnitude and deteriorating housing conditions of the informal settlement in other parts of the World and in Kenya in this work shows that in t he years before 1960s the phenomenon of informal settlement was viewed negatively resulting to hostile responses from various authorities towards the settlements. These responses included demolition. relocation and provision of public housing in the name of public health, eradication of crime and havens for criminals and public necessity. As the public housing programs were failing to meet housing needs of the poor due to their inappropriateness in terms of cost and standards and the inability of the governments to provide housing for everybody, it was discovered that the housing in the informal settlements were gradually improving overtime. Beginning in the I960s, the attitude towards informal settlements started shifting from hostility to admiration of the abilities of the people to improve their own housing conditions. Many researchers of this time staled that the poor only required security of tenure, basic infrastructure, no interference from building and planning regulations, accommodation of their lifestyles and the mobilization of their full participation. This latter attitude led to the development of housing improvement programmes which have been implemented in several third world countries since the 1960s and which began in Kenya in 1978 under the second urban project. The success of this program in Kenya has been questionable. '. This research has investigated the factors that affect the ability of the people to improve their houses and found out that apart from land tenure security, infrastructure and building and planning regulations, there are other factors which are equally important in determining the ability of the people to effect improvement. The a study shows that when poverty prevails, security of tenure and delivery of infrastructure cannot lead to house improvement and that when no form of building or planning regulation is applied it may result into lack of direction or guidance of development in the settlement. Subsequently the vi comparatively wealthy plot owners use land and its improvement as a means of storing wealth or ripping easy profit through construction of inadequate housing units. Conventional building materials and technology is unaffordable to many of the developers yet local building materials and appropriate technology which could have reduced the construction costs were not applied. The study further shows that household savings arc not sufficient for house improvement hence people require external financing which in-turn is not accessible to them. Customary practices were found to have had limited influence on house improvement, instead the prevailing socio-economic situations are influencing the customary practices. Finally the study shows that for the success of an improvement programme, it is important to have extensive and comprehensive involvement of the beneficiaries in discovering their needs and potentials, planning, implementation and subsequent management of the improvement process. The full and active involvement of the people is on the other hand dependant upon their occupations, income levels, education, cost and availability of building materials, sources of finance, availability of t ime for the households to take part 111 improvement activities and family responsibilities. In addition to these, the geological make up of the site also has effect on the ability of the people to improve. The study therefore suggests that for the full participation of the beneficiaries to be solicited, their socio-economic status must be uplifted through education and adequate training programmes, expanding the economic capability of the poor plot owners and tenants alike, provision or infrastructure ill consultation and co-operation with the, beneficiaries, giving the people access to both conventional and non-conventional financing systems, encouraging the production and use of appropriate building materials and technology, effective planning to avoid the event of settlements being located on unsuitable grounds and devising suitable development guidelines to preve1iL.the commercialization of low income settlements through the provision of inadequate housing structures.