Sustainable Housing in Developing Countries: Meeting Social and Environmental Targets by Greening Low Income Settlements in South Africa

By Claudia Loggia, Vittorio Tramontin and Cristina Trois.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In developing countries as South Africa, low income housing represents one of the most important parts of the building sector due to its large consistence and the extreme complexity of related social and environmental issues. Greening low income settlements could play a crucial role for sustainable development of developing countries, especially for meeting environmental and social challenges. This proposes a new approach based on the large diffusion of low cost interventions, local materials and passive strategies in order to achieve a reduction of energy consumption and emissions. In particular, the promotion of green retrofits offers considerable opportunities not only for improving buildings’ energy efficiency and reducing GHG, but for engaging local communities and boosting people’s quality of life.
The fundamental rationale is based on a holistic interpretation of the green guildings concept, intended as a synergy among environmental conservation, affordability and social issues. An example of green retrofits for low income houses is presented to investigate the effectiveness of strategic low cost interventions in achieving sustainable social and environmental goals. The case study shows new important phases of the greening approach for developing countries, such as the people’s involvement, the creation of new jobs, and the establishment of education in order to improve green awareness among people. Economic and social issues were identified as the most massive barriers to the sustainable development of low income settlements.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Developing Countries, Green Buildings, Low Income Housing

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 9, Issue 4, February 2015, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 612.578KB).

Dr. Claudia Loggia

Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Dr. Vittorio Tramontin

Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Engineering, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Dr. Cristina Trois

Dean, School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa