70% of Abuja’s residents live in slumps – Senatorial aspirant

 

According to a senatorial aspirant Mr. Olanrewaju Lawrence, about 70% of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) citizens are living in the slumps.
Mr. Lawrence, who is contesting on the platform of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) for a Senatorial seat in FCT in the 2019 general elections, said the situation was caused by past leaders who refused to plan well for the people.
The aspirant who made this know during the ANRP-FCT chapter primaries in Abuja, added that the capital needed a pragmatic shift in leadership in order to bring about the desired development.
“FCT is over 35 years and those elected has not brought the desired development”, he lamented.
“FCT ought to be having more than 10 million tourists as a revenue generating area for the government and creating jobs for the citizens duelling in the capital but look around, you will see infrastructure that are not well conceived”, he added.
Mr. Olanrewaju lamented that money politics was responsible for poor leadership in the capital city.
While noting that Abuja was created to be the proud black capital of the world, he called on the Abuja residents to vote wisely during the 2019 elections.

 

Housing: A Health Issue

 

Affordable housing, it’s a hot-button issue in Rochester and something so many struggles with on a daily basis, medical experts from across the nation were addressing the topic in a way we don’t always think about –from a health perspective.

“When people don’t have housing, when they don’t have a place to call home when they don’t have a place to lay their head, number one, their stress levels go through the roof,” said Dave Dunn, executive director at Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

In the past five years, 5,000 housing units were built in Olmsted County, but only 10 percent are considered “affordable.”

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“Having poor quality or unstable housing is one of the most potent forms of toxic stress, so what we’re finding is that it really is directly negatively affecting the well-being of people who are living in low-quality housing or have to move often,” said Dr. Douglas Jutte, who’s been studying health as it relates to housing, for years.

“We’ve seen more and more that your zip code, your health depends on your zip code,” Dunn said.

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At Mayo’s Transform Conference, Dr. Jutte talked about how health happens in neighborhoods.

“Things like housing, things like access to a park, like grocery stores, good transportation, decent jobs, how are the schools,” Dr. Jutte said.

“How do we help an area holistically with the physical improvements and looking at the people inside,” Dunn said, explaining it’s something the OCHRA has been incorporating.

Dr. Jutte said despite appearances, affordable housing is a great investment.

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“There are lots – billions, trillions of dollars being spent on medical care for avoidable, chronic diseases. Some of that money could be spent to help keep people healthy in the first place,” he said.

ABC6News

London’s affordable homes in expensive locations, a lesson for Nigeria

The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, like the Banana Island in Lagos and Maitama District in Abuja, Nigeria, has some of the most expensive properties in the UK, but a new development of affordable homes has been approved for that location.

In the Nigerian highbrow locations, especially Banana Island, property values are such that the houses built on that island are targeted at a particular class of people. Any other person is a total stranger who is expected to leave immediately after his visit because he does not belong here.

But the story is different elsewhere. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has taken over the Notting Hill Gate scheme and doubled the amount of affordable housing being built to 35 percent, up from 17 percent. Under the new plans, about two thirds of new affordable homes will be available at social rent levels, others capped below the London Living Rent level.

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The application to redevelop Newcombe House in Kensington and Chelsea was turned down by the local council in March, before the Mayor took over the application later that month. The borough has consistently failed to meet targets for new and affordable homes.

Khan pointed out that last year no affordable homes were given planning permission by the council. But through his takeover, the Mayor has secured amendments to the plans that increase the level of affordable housing from 17 to 35 percent.

This is a big lesson for government’s at all levels in Nigeria. The mayor in London who is influencing the redevelopment of affordable homes in expensive areas is an equivalent of a local government chairman in Nigeria.

This underscores the importance the government attaches to housing the citizens but in Africa’s largest economy, housing is a luxury. The expensive locations in the country are exclusive for only the rich and high net-worth individuals who have chosen to live in such locations for a number of reasons including affordability, class, taste, and above all exclusivity of that location where only men of means are found which widens the inequality gap in society.

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For the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea to have chosen to develop more affordable homes in the expensive locations means there is a deliberate attempt to close the inequality gap in the society.

The development will include a medical centre, step-free access to the nearby Notting Hill Gate, underground station and a new public square with permanent pedestrian and cycle access.
“Since taking office, I’ve been clear I will use all the levers at my disposal to increase the supply of council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes that Londoners need across the capital,” said Khan.

Continuing, he explained, “having considered all the evidence available to me, and following hardwork by my planning team to increase the level of affordable housing, I have decided to grant permission for this development”.

This is a huge lesson for Nigeria where affordable homes for low income earners is not part of the concerns of government. Majority of private sector operators don’t factor affordable housing into their calculations and those who do usually go to the hinterland to develop. Demand here is not strong because many people would rather rent at the city centre than own a home in the ‘bush’.

The proposed development in London will also include important new step-free access to Notting Hill Gate station, a major improvement benefitting local residents and visitors coming to enjoy this vibrant and exciting part of the capital. This is unimaginable in a location like Banana Island where such a development will not be permitted because it will impact negatively on the exclusivity of the location.

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London has housing crisis like Nigeria, but unlike Nigeria, the government at various levels are addressing the crisis. Nigeria has a deficit estimated at 17 million units that requires an annual housing delivery of about 700,000.

But, Chudi Ubosi, an estate surveyor and valuer, says aggregate output at the moment is not up to 100,000 units.

Khan believes that ‘London’s housing crisis won’t be solved overnight, but hopes “this will send a clear message that I expect developments to include more genuinely affordable housing and other benefits for local people,’ he added.

CHUKA UROKO

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

 

A steel-reinforced concrete, is so much needed material in the countries in a development. But, many of them do not have it and is very expensive and too much is needed to buy or produce it. But, in order to be saved from such crises the Laboratory of Future Cities in Singapore suggested the bamboo as a great alternative. It is abundant, sustainable, extremely resilient, which are great specifics for construction materials.

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Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand. Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global MARKET dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo. Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.

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In trials of tensile strength, bamboo outperforms most other materials, reinforcement steel included. It achieves this strength through its hollow, tubular structure, evolved over millennia to resist wind forces in its natural habitat. This lightweight structure also makes it easy to harvest and transport. Due to its incredibly rapid growth cycle and the variety of areas in which it is able to grow, bamboo is also extremely cheap. Such rapid growth plant growth requires the grass to absorb large quantities of CO2, meaning that its cultivation as a building material would help reduce the rate of climate change. These factors alone are incentive for INVESTMENT in developing bamboo as reinforcement.

Indeed, despite these benefits, there is still work to do in overcoming bamboo’s limitations. Contraction and expansion is one such limitation, caused by both temperature changes and water absorption. The grass is also susceptible to structural weakness caused by fungus and simple biodegradation. Ironically, many of the countries that would benefit from bamboo reinforcement also lack the resources to develop it as a viable alternative to the steel on which they currently rely.

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The Future Cities Laboratory is currently conducting research to determine the full gamut of applications that bamboo has as a construction material. Their experimentation in this field has earned them a Zumtobel Group Award.

Kekanaan

Home sellers slash prices, especially in California

A home awaits sale at a reduced asking price  in Glendale, California.

After three years of soaring home prices, the heat is coming off the U.S. housing market. Home sellers are slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years, especially in the West, where the price gains were hottest.

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In the four weeks ended Sept. 16, more than one-quarter of the homes listed for sale had a price drop, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. That is the highest level since the company began tracking the metric in 2010. Redfin defines a price drop as a reduction in the list price of more than 1 percent and less than 50 percent.

Home Sales Declining in Southern California  

“After years of strong price growth and intense competition for homes, buyers are taking advantage of the market’s easing pressure by being selective about which homes to offer on and how high to bid,” said Taylor Marr, senior economist at Redfin, in a release. “But there are some early signs of a softening market, and the increase in price drops may be another indicator that sellers are going to have trouble getting the prices, and the bidding wars, that they may have just months ago.”

Critical shortage remains

There is still a critical shortage of homes for sale, especially on the lower end of the housing market, but supplies did increase annually in August for the first time in more than three years, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, the increase in the median home value is now in the 4 percent range, rather than the 6 to 8 percent range where it has been for the past two years.

“While inventory continues to show modest year-over-year gains, it is still far from a healthy level and new home construction is not keeping up to satisfy demand,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “Homes continue to fly off the shelves with a majority of properties selling within a month, indicating that more inventory — especially moderately priced, entry-level homes — would propel sales.”

That may be true on a national level, but in California, where home price gains were in double digits, active listings were 17 percent higher in August compared with August 2017, and sales dropped to the slowest pace in two years, according to the California Association of Realtors. California home prices were still up 5.5 percent annually, but that is down significantly from recent gains, and the median number of days it took to sell a home rose from 18 to 21.

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California ‘market shift’

“While home prices continued to rise modestly in August, the deceleration in price growth and the surge in housing supply suggest that a market shift is underway,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist at the California Realtors group. “We are seeing active listings increasing and more price reductions in the market, and as such, the question remains, ‘How long will it take for the market to close the price expectation gap between buyers and sellers?'”

The price gap may close even more quickly if mortgage rates continue their trend higher. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage loan is up more than a quarter of a percentage point in the past month and is knocking on the door of 5 percent, a level not seen in nearly a decade.

Diana Olick

Student Challenge Winners Bring Innovative Ideas to Creating Affordable Rental Housing in Canada

 

With innovative and fresh approaches to create more affordable rental housing in the country, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, today announced the winners of the Innovation Fund Student Challenge.

Three teams have been selected as winners earning the full award of $10,000:

The Beaver – York University
Compact Homes: Innovative Solutions Solving the Affordability Challenge – Queen’s University
The Jetty: An Affordable Housing Cooperative – Dalhousie University

Three additional teams have been chosen to receive awards of merit of $2,000:

Affordable Housing Initiative for Single Mothers – Dalhousie University
Affordable Live-Work Rental Cooperative – McGill University
Canada Affordable Housing Real Estate Investment Trust – Université du Québec à Montréal

Launched in September 2017, the Innovation Fund Student Challenge for Affordable Rental Housing asked post-secondary students to submit a proposal for affordable rental housing solutions that are new to Canada, with innovative building techniques and business or financing models that lower the costs and risks associated with rental housing.

Quote:

“The Innovation Fund Student Challenge has inspired students to not only think of new ways to address affordable housing, but to perhaps consider a career in housing as well. The proposals we’ve received are creative and offer solutions ranging from innovative building techniques to new financing models. I would like to congratulate all the winners and everyone who participated in this challenge.” – The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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Quick Facts

Students were able to work individually or create a team, with the goal to rethink and revolutionize the affordable rental housing sector.
The deadline for submitting their project was April 30, 2018.
The National Housing Strategy (NHS), through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, is providing $200 million over 5 years for projects that showcase new funding models and innovative building techniques, lowering the costs and risks of financing affordable housing projects and helping to make the affordable housing sector more attractive for private market developers and investors.
The NHS is an ambitious 10-year, $40-billion plan that will reduce or eliminate 530,000 families from housing need across Canada, create 100,000 new housing units, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.

Winning Submissions: The Beaver – York University

Michael Kenny, Bria Hamilton, Allison Evans, Helen Lam, Jane Bae

The Beaver Co-op is a proposed 12-story affordable rental apartment building that incorporates an innovative building technique and cost-saving measure through the use of mass timber construction in affordable housing, which is still relatively new to the sector. Passive design and green technology are incorporated to minimize waste and energy usage. The financial innovation stems from the multi-stakeholder community development approach that aims to generate financial support via community bonds, union pension funds, and credit unions.

Compact Homes: Innovative Solutions Solving the Affordability Challenge – Queen’s University

Lindsay Allman, Andrew Eberhard, Gabrielle Snow, Peter Huan

The Compact Homes project proposes an innovative Tiny Home Community that seeks to leverage existing programs and lands to produce single occupant, rent geared to income units, and can be constructed to meet stringent accessibility and environmental efficiency requirements.

The Jetty: An Affordable Housing Cooperative – Dalhousie University

Juniper Littlefield, Mitch Gold, Lina El-Setouhy, Chloe Espiard

The Jetty Affordable Housing project proposes a housing cooperative operated in partnership with local post-secondary institutions, targeting the student population with recycled shipping container apartments, as well as providing additional housing for seniors, singles and families.

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Awards of Merit

Affordable Housing Initiative for Single Mothers – Dalhousie University

Julianna Robertson, Jeff Meaney, Odeisa Stewart, Matt Cawood, Amirezza Shahisavandi

The Affordable Housing Initiative for Single Mothers aims to create ten multi-family housing complexes for low income single mothers in Halifax through the use of Social Impact Bonds to fund social housing initiatives. This financial model encourages private investment and operation of affordable housing, which has typically been a publicly-funded social service.

Affordable Live-Work Rental Cooperative – McGill University

Olivier Lalancette, George-Étienne Adam

The Affordable Live-Work Rental Cooperative project proposes a live-work rental cooperative apartment building that caters to today’s young professionals who are interested in self-employment, working from home, and who are in need of affordable housing. The project proposes a unique building design element with the goal of enhancing affordability and reducing initial costs through the use of an online customized unit selection process, along with moveable features and rental furniture, which gives residents flexibility to pay only for what they need and can afford, from the unit layout down to the furniture.

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Canada Affordable Housing Real Estate Investment Trust – Université du Québec à Montréal

Nicolas Langlois

Canada’s Affordable Housing Real Estate Investment Trust aims to create a responsible residential real estate investment fund. The Fund allows investors interested in responsible investments to enter the market and brings new sources of capital to the affordable housing market.

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