Against a backdrop of poverty, underinvestment in basic infrastructure and contested land development, housing provision is lacking in African cities. In the absence of state support and affordable market opportunities, many households – including those in the middle classes – find housing in the informal sector, with associated insecurities.

As well as providing safety, security and access to essential basic services, housing also gives urban residents access to labour markets, a legal address and even a site for household economic activities. For city and national governments, housing construction is an important source of enterprise activity and employment. The cost, availability and suitability of urban housing options are influenced by multiple formal and informal systems, with a wide range of actors involved.

ACRC will examine the connections between these various systems and actors, along with other pertinent issues – including mass housing programmes versus incremental development, affordable housing, subsidies and environmentally friendly building materials – and how these intersect with other urban development domains.

Within the housing domain, we are focusing on the following cities: