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Title: Developing a model for bridging the gap between sustainable housing and affordable housing (low-cost housing) in the Ghanaian housing market
Authors: Adabre, Michael Atafo
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2021
Abstract: Approximately over a billion of the world's urban population do not have access to adequate housing and therefore live in slums and squatter buildings. Most of these victims of homelessness and inadequate access to housing are low-income earners. While policy makers such as the United Nations (UN), World Bank and most governments have acknowledged the importance of housing as a basic right aside its economic benefits to every nation, this acknowledgement is yet to be translated into effective policies to mitigate the global housing affordability crisis. Review of extant literature shows that besides inadequate policies from governments to improve housing supply, most developers in the housing sector still consider housing supply to low-income earners as an uninviting business segment due to risks and barriers. On the demand side, the limited low-cost housing facilities that are supplied are mostly unsatisfactory in meeting the true needs of the targeted household, which often leads to housing overhang. Considering these supply and demand challenges and the fact that Africa is the most urbanizing continent, Africa's housing affordability crisis demands the utmost attention. As such, there is a need for low-cost housing that meets the needs of the present and future generations while ensuring optimum economic, social and environmental balance. Though studies have been conducted on affordable or low-cost housing provision, ensuring sustainability attainment in such facilities remains a topical issue in most African countries and the world at large. Therefore, bridging the gap between affordable housing and sustainable housing is germane. This study seeks to develop a model for bridging the gap between sustainable housing and affordable housing (SAH) using Ghana as a case study. To achieve this aim, five objectives were set, namely, (1) identify critical success criteria (CSC) for sustainable affordable housing (SAH) development in Ghana; (2) determine critical risk factors (CRFs) to sustainability attainment in affordable housing (3) identify critical barriers to sustainability attainment in affordable housing; (4) identify critical success factors (CSFs) for sustainability attainment in affordable housing; and (5) develop a model for SAH in the Ghanaian housing market. To this end, a comprehensive literature review was first conducted followed by questionnaire surveys among construction professionals with experience in affordable housing or public housing or low-cost housing and sustainable housing. To pilot test the questionnaire, a broader survey was first conducted among international housing professionals and some professionals from the Ghanaian housing market. Subsequently, the main questionnaire survey was carried out among professionals in the Ghanaian housing market. The garnered data were analyzed using quantitative techniques. Concerning critical success criteria (CSC) for SAH, results of the survey revealed that 'quality performance' was ranked the highest followed by the indicator 'end users' satisfaction'. 'Price affordability' was ranked third while 'maintainability of housing facility (maintenance cost)' and 'rental affordability' were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. However, 'reduce occurrence of disputes and litigations' and 'technology transfer' were ranked relatively low. On modelling the CSC for sustainability assessment of affordable housing, the fuzzy model showed that 'household-satisfaction' (with a sustainability index = 26.3%) has the highest contribution to the overall sustainable development in housing, followed by 'housing and transportation' (H+T with a sustainability index = 25.3%), then 'quality-related' (sustainability index=24.9%) and 'efficient stakeholder-management' (sustainability index = 23.6%). This model does not only aid policymakers to objectively and comprehensively assess sustainability performance in affordable housing but it also serves as a baseline for calibrating future projects and for benchmarking success levels of comparable housing projects. Concerning risk factors to SAH, 30 risk factors were established and grouped into five categories, namely, 'political-related risk', 'financing-related risk factors', 'procurement-related risks factors', 'design & construction related risk factors' and 'operation and maintenance risk factors'. The five topmost risk factors identified include: 'delay payments by governments / clients', 'fluctuation in exchange rate', 'fluctuating financing cost', 'cost overruns' and 'risks associated with land acquisition'. On barriers to SAH, 'high interest rates', 'high upfront cost of materials and technologies', 'high cost of serviced land', 'policy instability on housing / abandoned public housing facilities or projects by succeeding government' and 'inadequate incentives for private investors' were the top five critical barriers to SAH. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that 12 underlying barriers were successively loaded into 'cost-related barriers', 'incentive-related barriers' and 'retrofit-related barriers'. Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) analysis on the impact of barriers on SAH showed that 'incentive-related barriers' have medium effect size (0.192) on 'sustainable housing' while 'retrofit-related barriers' have high effect size (0.430) on 'sustainable housing'. Furthermore, 'incentive-related barriers' have a significant impact on 'retrofit-related barriers'. 'Cost-related barriers' only had a significant impact on 'incentive-related barriers'. Accordingly, 'cost-related barriers' are secondary barriers to sustainable housing. Besides, adequate incentives for a holistic retrofit of existing housing facilities could yield greater impact on sustainable housing.
Regarding critical success factors (CSFs) for SAH, the five top CSFs include 'political will and commitment to SAH'; 'access to low-interest housing loans among developers'; 'improved supply of low-cost developed land by government'; 'use of environmentally friendly materials for construction'; 'adequate accessibility to social amenities / improved accessibility'. Through confirmatory factor analysis, 14 CSFs were successively loaded into 'developers' enabling factors', 'household enabling factors', 'mixed-used development factors' and 'land-use planning factors'. The PLS-SEM revealed that only 'developers' enabling' and 'mixed-use development' success factors are significant for sustainable housing. Though 'household-enabling factors' had no significant impact, they have high performance / index value on sustainable housing. Moreover, there was no significant impact regarding the 'land-use planning factors'. For significant impact on sustainable housing through 'household enabling factors', essential policies include: monitoring housing conditions / performance for retrofitting; efficient allocation of subsidies and adaptable housing design. Policies targeting utility subsidies could be pro-poor. Sustainable housing through 'land-use planning' could be achieved if the delivery of land among family heads, chiefs, skins and Wulomei is regulated while the Land and Spatial Planning Authorities are adequately provided with financial and human resources to strictly execute their duties. Results of the various objectives were integrated to develop a model for SAH. The developed model was subsequently validated by selected professionals in the Ghanaian housing market. Essentially, the study findings could inform decision makers on the potential risk factors, barriers and the possible strategies for sustainable housing. Besides, findings of the study seek to apprise policymakers of the indicators that are relevant for defining the scope of SAH in the Ghanaian housing sector. In general, the findings could be essential to other African countries that have similar socio-economic characteristics as pertaining to Ghana's, while providing the basis for further empirical studies in Ghana and beyond.
Subjects: Housing policy -- Environmental aspects -- Ghana
Ecological houses -- Ghana
Sustainable buildings -- Ghana -- Design and construction
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: 360 pages : illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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