A critical study on housing standards in Iringa town, Tanzania
Housing Standards is an important aspect of Housing Policy in a country. The housing standards are categorized into three types. There are those which are legally based; those which are acceptable by the politicians, which can be termed as political standards and finally those which are influenced by people's affordability. This study has attempted to analyze housing standards using a case study of Iringa Town in Tanzania. The study has emphasized the positive correlation that exists between the housing standards and housing supply. The thesis has argued that housing standards affect the development of both new housing stock and the already existing one. If the standards are very high, they become unrealistic to the economic situation of the nation at large and the people in particular. Limited financial and man-power resources force the Government to rely greatly on the people to house themselves. The public sector fails to house the large urban populations which increase year after year due to natural increases and mainly rural-urban migrations. Many developing countries tend to copy the complex codes of England or still make use of the codes which were prepared before independence. The Township (building) Rules applicable in Iringa Town were last revised in 1960 a year before independence. Such standards fail to match with the domestic savings of the individual house-holds in the urban setting, the majority of which are low income earners whose monthly incomes do not exceed Shs.500/-. In Tanzania nationalization of buildings policy and the leadership code have discouraged some individuals with the potential effective demand on housing to utilize the housing loan facilities offered by the Tanzania Housing Bank. The low income people fail to utilize their financia1 institution due to their meager earnings which render them unable to make the down payments and monthly repayments. This discourages potential developers. “The high building standards are always based against low income private housing markets and such markets are often described as squatters of uncontrolled and illegal development. These squatter areas have been ignored and lack the necessary infra-structural services. The result is that many people look down upon such areas and refuse to dwell in them. The risk factor resulting from this status of illegality has served to reduce the quality of the already existing housing supplied by the low income market. Many governments, due to prestige reasons tend to advocate complete clearance of the squatters and uncontrolled areas. This reduces the number of already existing housing stock. This study has thus started with analyzing the physical background of the town to find out the land capability and direction of growth. The conclusion from this analysis is that Iringa Town does not suffer from land dearth. There are vacant and open areas on the north and north-west of the town and numerous land pockets of open areas which have been underdeveloped. Plenty of land lies idle between house units in the low density areas. Some institution like Mkwawa Secondary School possesses large tracts of land which just remain unutilized and can easily be made available for house development. Then an analysis of the socio-economic base has been made. This has helped first to determine the size of house-holds and the structure of population and hence appreciate the housing requirement of the various population categories; secondly, to determine the housing fiscal capabilities of the nation as a whole and the individual house-holds in particular. The socio economic base is an effective yardstick to measure the realities of standards. It determines the type of housing the people can afford. The study has then looked into the housing situation in Iringa Town. This has included the determination of housing needs over the period of five years, up to 1980', resulting from increases in house-holds and general deterioration and obsolescence of the already existing housing stock. The quality of the existing housing in terms of building materials used, availability of sanitary facilities and kitchen and infra-structural services such as roads, drains, refuse disposals, sewers and electricity has also been assessed. This analysis on housing situation has indicated the housing task the public and private sectors in Iringa Town confront. Finally, the analysis has dealt with the study of the housing standards in the town. This has involved studying the existing building rules for house unit construction and rules governing the development of the environment immediate to the housing units. This study has helped to determine whether the housing standards applicable in the township meet the physiographic and economic realities in the town and the socio-cultural aspiration of the urbanites. Positive proposals and recommendations have been suggested for realistic housing standards. The standards have been suggested for various levels of housing development in the township area, namely, housing in uncontrolled or un-planned areas; underdeveloped high density planned areas; developed high density planned areas and the planned low density areas. Standards have also been proposed for the house unit construction in terms of building period, designs, materials to be used, plot size and coverage, size and number of rooms. The study has been able to conclude that there exists a housing shortage in Iringa Town caused by high urban population growth rates which have persisted for the last two decades and that the government possess meager financial material, man-power and organizational resources and hence fails to provide housing for the urban dwellers. The only logical approach to solving the problem of housing shortage in the urban area is for the people to house themselves. Obviously they are unable to do it if the standards are highly pitched up. The housing standards have to be reviewed and make them Comply with the physical, economic and socio-cultural Realities existing in the town.