The urban population accounts for 76% of the total world population and it is expected to increase to 4 billion people by 2030, and 2 billion people will be demanding for housing by 2030. (UN-Habitat 2005). According to (UN-Habitat 2006), the number of slum dwellers globally has been increasing from 715 million in 1991 to 998million in 2005 and is expected that by 2020 slum dwellers worldwide will hit 1.4 billion. The most pressing problem facing most of the countries is housing the urban poor.
Sustainable housing gives more priority in meeting housing needs for the future generation without compromising the present generation. Sustainable housing is firmly embedded in the social, economic, technological and environmental sustainability from planning stage to implementation stage and should aim at delivering house that is affordable, accessible and environmentally less damaging. (choguill, 1994)
According to Van Weesep (2000), argues that sustainable housing is a valuable asset in the society in terms of creating wealth and opportunities, but most important is, ensuring that people live in a healthy, productive and in harmony with nature ( Nazirah,2005). Indeed, sustainable housing is more of psychological importance rather than physical importance since it take into consideration the desired quality of life and social status. According to King (1996) argues that housing is not important for what it is, but what it can allow to develop through it
Housing co-operative has been historically, still remains the preferred choice for provision of sustainable housing for majority of low income household globally. Basically they are two broad groups of housing cooperatives namely; consumer housing co-operatives and producer housing consumer co-operatives. Housing co-operative is described by the ICA as “a legal association formed for the purpose of providing housing to its members on a continuing basis. A cooperative is different from other housing associations by its ownership and its commitment to co-operative principles (Munkner, 2001).
Housing co-operatives manage over 3.5 million dwellings in Poland approximately 27% of the total housing stock in the country in 2009, In Turkey 25% of housing stock, 15% in Norway and 2% of the United Kingdom’s housing stock is co-operative, 17% in the Czech Republic and Sweden. On average, 10% of Europeans live in housing co-operatives. (Karlyle, 2005)
According to UNCHS, (2001) classified housing co-operatives into three different types namely; Market equity housing co-operative-The aim of this co-operative is to trade shares of members at market price because houses are individually owned. Limited-equity housing co-operatives-This kind of co-operative limit a member from getting full returns from the sale of share in the market because of other factors like inflation, interest or improvement. Last, leased housing co-operatives-members are allowed only to hold long term lease from their community land trust, mutual housing association or similar organization that grants them particular rights but not to own units (UNCHS, 2001).
According to UN classified housing co-operative tenure into the three main types. Limited housing co-operatives acquire land and subdivide this land to the members. Multiple mortgage housing members owns individual units and land but common areas are owned and maintained by co-operative; continuing housing co-operatives-co-operative owns land, houses and common areas but members hold equal shares for all assets. Rental housing cooperative owns housing development but members pays rent to the co-operative regularly; Finance co-operative provides loans to members for building construction or repairs; Building cooperative undertakes building construction and develops land on behalf of members (UNCHS, 1999), Generally, housing co-operatives in Kenya can be described as limited housing cooperatives since co-operative members acquire dwellings in freehold ownership status after completion.
In Africa, about 40% of the total population currently lives in cities, but overall urban growth rates indicate that by 2030 this will have risen to over half of the sub-continent’s population and governments effort to address shortage of housing in Africa have been minimum and no impact to the society. However, most countries on the sub-continent continue to face ever-growing housing backlogs. In 2001 71.9% of the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa were living in slums, which represents the largest proportion of the urban population resident in slums in the developing world (UKaid 2015)
Housing co-operatives were introduced to Kenya in the early 1980s with the establishment of the National Co-operative Housing Union (NACHU). NACHU’s primary objective is to provide affordable and decent housing and infrastructure to the urban low and modest-income communities, also provide microfinance products and services (Sally et al, 2007)
Housing co-operative have been involved in different activities with different socio-economic groups including resettlement of homeless, upgrading of slums, rehabilitation of slums, acquisition of land and construction, financing among others. But these achievement would have not been possible without the role played by other stakeholders including KUSCCO, SACCOS, financial institutions, housing finance, government and development partners. (Onyango, 2011)
Despite the achievement, Housing co-operative has been facing a number challenges including; lack funding, inappropriate government regulation and policy, low income, unemployment, high level of poverty, lack of cooperation between institutions, poor infrastructure and limited research on sustainable housing among others. (Onyango, 2011)
In summary, there has been increased demand for sustainable housing in Kenya, particularly for low income household who constitute of 89% who demand for housing in urban area .However, housing providers have been providing housing particularly for upper-middle and top class who constitute of 21% who demand for housing in the market. Much more is needed to address housing shortage in Kenya. As such this study will go a long way in filling gaps left by previous studies.
1.1 Statement of the problem
Housing is where successive generations find home; to keep healthy, protect, develop, socialize, be educated and prepare one to adulthood. Housing is basic human need. But no country is yet to satisfy the delivery of sustainable housing to various socio-economic groups that make up its populace. Sustainable housing has been declared by international and national laws as fundamental right to all citizen.
The annual demand for housing in urban towns is 200,000 units and the current annual production is 30,000 units both private and public sector. However, government has initiated some strategies to address the shortage of housing but this strategies have not be able to change the situation. For instance, public-private partnership build houses which consist of 80% of the new houses were for high-and upper middle-income people, while 83% of the demand is coming from low-income families and 89% of the urban population cannot afford a mortgage, generally this explain why low and middle income groups have been left out in housing development and as a result slums and informal settlement will continue to increase.
In order to fill the gap left by public and private investors, housing cooperatives focus on collective ownership, collective action and participation. As collective organizations, the housing cooperatives are not only instruments of collective ownership, but are also mechanisms of housing finance and construction for low- and moderate-income household.
Housing co-operative are part of a larger community of providing housing needs to their members including affordable housing , quality housing, security of tenure, safe and secure neighbor hoods without compromising the future generation. They demonstrate the principles of sustainable human settlements in design, construction and operation of their buildings.
Institutional structure have been key in supporting housing co-operative in providing housing that are not only accessible to low income household but also responding to diverse social and cultural needs. Housing co-operative is long term investment with multiple positive outcome for the economy and natural environment.
Housing cooperatives are different from other housing association in many ways. First housing co-operatives provide a long term shelter with different tenure system. For instance, tenant housing co-operative and consumer housing co-operative. Second housing co-operative is “one stop shelter shop” by providing variety of services to their members. Third housing co-operative facilitate mobilization of resources together from their members hence lowering the individual cost, fosters collective action and self-help. It also increases the creditworthiness of a member .Lastly it limits or prevents speculation housing co-operative
Even though there are limited studies in housing co-operative in Kenya, currently the role of institutional structure supporting housing co-operative is not well defined. These all accumulate the housing problem of the low income households. The backlog is ahead of delivery. The pressing demand creates spontaneous squatter settlements in the cities. This calls for studying different housing delivery option to the urban poor. Therefore, the main objective of the study is to examine the role of housing co-operative in provision of sustainable housing in Kenya. What strategies are viable options for housing co-operative to ensure sustainable housing? What are the methods of assessing sustainable housing? Housing co-operative is one, which can be used to alleviate the housing problem when supported by other institutional structures.
1.3 General objective of the study
The main objective of the study is to examine the role of housing co-operative in provision of sustainable housing in Kenya
1.3.1 Specific objective of the study
1. To determine the level housing co-operative deliver sustainable housing in Kenya
2. To assess whether funding affect housing co-operative in provision of sustainable housing in Kenya
3. To establish whether government regulation and policy framework affect housing co-operative in provision of sustainable housing in Kenya
4. To examine income generating activities influence housing co-operative in provision of sustainable housing in Kenya