Investigation of Sustainable and Affordable Housing Policy Principles and Formulation Adoptable in Kabul City, Afghanistan

  •  Mohammad Sharifzai    
  •  Keisuke Kitagawa    
  •  Ahmad Javid Habib    
  •  Mohammad Kamil Halimee    
  •  Daishi Sakaguchi    


In recent architectural and environmental research, principles of sustainability and affordability with respect to economic, environmental and social policies have been widely discussed on a worldwide scale. Urban housing planning can play a very important role in achieving sustainable growth and development by integrating ‘sustainable development principles’ into urban planning strategies, policies, programs and projects. In addition, affordability is at the heart of households’ efforts to improve their housing situation. It has been widely recognized that employment, income generation and access to housing are highly interrelated internationally. Housing affordability has become one of the dominant research topics in recent years. However, few studies have been undertaken to test the compatibility between affordable housing and sustainable housing. Sustainable and affordable development of housing, a basic unit of human settlement, is also a crucial component of social development in one community. It plays an important role in achieving sustainable development. The concept of shelter differs from individual to individual depending on culture, tradition, profession and way of living. Besides being a basic necessity, it is also a source of identity that has a significant effect on the overall psychological well being of the inhabitants. Sustainable-affordable habitat can be described as a way of developing and maintaining a living environment supporting human health (both physical and psychological), satisfying shelter needs, and protecting and preserving nature for future generations. This paper introduces a conceptual framework for defining housing problems from the perspective of the support of beneficiaries, and it seeks to analyze the effectiveness of Afghan national development policies in facilitating sustainable-affordable habitat across the country. The framework shows the interdependency of different aspects of sustainability in the process of housing development. It also sets out strategies and identifies policy initiatives required to realize the goal of sustainable-affordable habitat in Kabul. The principles developed in this paper can be generally applied and adopted in Afghanistan, a country that is less developed economically.
A fundamental understanding of these two issues is necessary to develop successful examples of this form of accommodation. Because of three decades of socioeconomic and political instability in Afghanistan, the country does not have a national housing policy. This paper tries to create the foundation for an Afghan national housing policy. This research reveals that the majority of Kabul residents are low- or medium-income earners that cannot afford housing produced under market conditions. This paper aims to identify suitable built forms for housing that is both affordable and environmentally sustainable. A series of case studies were conducted to investigate some of the best international forms to be adopted in practices at the national scale. The research is conducted qualitatively, and the required data is acquired from a site survey of Kabul, in addition to data from new World Bank and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Master Plans. The result was the development of a framework that enables the assessment of the overall performance of various types of housing development. There is very little evidence that the present approach of housing provision linked to the vagaries of market forces has provided affordable housing, especially for government employees and low-income citizens. There is a need to incorporate social housing into a policy to assist people who cannot provide their own housing needs.

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