Housing & slum upgrading

Rapid urbanization places remarkable strain on housing and serviced land. By 2030, about 3 billion people, or about 40 per cent of the world’s population, will need proper housing and access to basic infrastructure and services such as water and sanitation systems. This translates into the need to complete 96,150 housing units per day with serviced and documented land from now till 2030. Unfortunately, especially in the developing world, supply is often limited by inadequate governance systems and human resource deficiencies, as well as by institutions and regulations which are either obsolete or lacking in capacity, or are poorly informed.

So far, the failure of urban planning and the construction sector in matching demand for homes has resulted in a huge housing backlog that has led to the development of slums in a variety of contexts globally. Due to constraints in formal housing and land delivery systems, more and more people who would otherwise qualify for housing programmes are resorting to slum settlements. In some cities, up to 80 per cent of the population lives in slums. Fifty-five million new slum dwellers have been added to the global population since 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa has a slum population of 199.5 million, South Asia 190.7 million, East Asia 189.6 million, Latin America and the Caribbean 110.7 million, Southeast Asia 88.9 million, West Asia 35 million and North Africa 11.8 million.

Slums are a clear manifestation of a poorly planned and managed urban sector and, in particular, a malfunctioning housing sector. Each day a further 120,000 people are added to the populations of Asian cities, requiring the construction of at least 20,000 new dwellings and supporting infrastructure. In Latin America and the Caribbean current housing needs are estimated at between 42 million and 52 million dwellings, respectively. Estimates concerning total housing needs in Africa have been set at around 4 million units per year with over 60 per cent of the demand required to accommodate urban residents.

Provide access to inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for all

Housing policy development

Housing rights

Improve the living conditions in existing slums

The United Nations five characteristics defining a slum

Slum upgrading: key for overall urban development

UN-Habitat and housing

Global Housing Strategy (GHS)


Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 18.05.58 Learn about the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme   Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 18.06.15 Learn about Planned City Extensions


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