Project Implementation Constraints with Examples from Affordable Housing and Infrastructure Efforts

Project Implementation Constraints with Examples from Affordable Housing and Infrastructure Efforts

Antje Ilberg (Urban Planning, Policy and Governance Consultant, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2842-7.ch006


Comprehensive approaches to sustainable, affordable housing and infrastructure development often prove challenging in developing countries. Several ideas for low cost housing and infrastructure in urban Sub-Saharan Africa appear to have nearly perfect technical characteristics responding to current urban planning and development experience, but yet the project execution of these concepts reveals significant shortcomings. Additionally, the long-term effects of a project often have unintended side effects, and still, similar projects continue to be repeated. To consider these numerous aspects simultaneously is crucial for success. This chapter details three projects with potentially successful concepts for sustainable infrastructure, but which did not succeed fully due to the project framework and imperfections therein. Described are responses to common problems in Sub-Saharan Africa from Rwanda and Malawi in low cost housing, domestic infrastructure, and communal, decentral infrastructure, respectively. Besides describing their realistic solutions and their integration of environmental and social concerns, and despite being based on the principle of multi-level networking and support, the chapter goes beyond the technical description to analyze shortcomings and constraints of implementation. For the discussion of success factors when implementing a project, two additional best practice examples are used.
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Sustainable development describes a situation where social, economic and environmental concerns are attended to in an eqilibre to result in an optimal assistance. The term “sustainable development” derives from the report of the Brundtland Commission, “Our Common Future”, and it has been used during several milestones assessing the state of the environment and has formed international policy including the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) were agreed upon by all United Nations member states and by a number of international organizations. They define eight development goals, including targets and their indicators. Their impact evaluation and goal revision is due by 2015. MDG 7 strives to secure environmental sustainability. Despite the necessary discussion of the targets and indicators, and despite crucial unintended consequences which can be accused to be caused by Goal 7 (Ilberg, 2011), it sets a minimum of aspects to aim for in terms of environment, public health and sanitation.

Low cost building and sanitation technological solutions and labor impact sustainable development in a number of ways. The use of locally sourced or produced materials is cheaper than importing foreign materials and labor, while it also supports the local economy. In addition, local employment contributes to social wellbeing.

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