Sustainable Housing for the Poor Facilitated by NGOs in Costa Rica and Nicaragua

University essay from Lunds universitet/Högskoleingenjörsutbildning i byggteknik med arkitektur

Abstract: The bachelor thesis contains a presentation of three NGOs working for sustainable housing and infrastructure development for the low-income families in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the future prospect of introducing a wider range of multi-storey buildings. A high number of the Central American population live in densely populated slums in urban areas with harsh living conditions far below the poverty line. They lack access to basic needs such as clean water, electricity and sanitation which makes their daily life a struggle. The need of improvement is obvious but it requires commitment from both public and private institutions. The financial capacities of the Costa Rican and Nicaraguan governments are diverse which directly influence their capacity to help the impoverished population with housing development. Costa Rican welfare is unambiguously higher than the Nicaraguan, which is clearly reflected in the countries poverty rate and its ongoing housing development projects. The governments of some industrial countries are contributing to the improvement of the housing situation in the developing countries by education and financial aid. Thanks to their contribution in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the countries have established organisations that aim at helping the poor population to rise to a higher social level, inter alia through housing and infrastructure development and social education programs. Rapid horizontal growth of the cities harvest the surrounding rural landscapes and is environmentally and economically unsustainable. The conservative mentality of the housing developers and their lack of knowledge make it difficult to introduce new building techniques such as multi-storied buildings, although a high share of the population could imagine themselves living in the vertical plane. A change in the cities architectural structure could solve many of the growing urban problems and guarantee more people the right to dignified housing conditions.

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