Basra Urban Profile
UN-Habitat seeks to provide up to date, holistic documentation and analysis of the impact of the crisis in key cities, through City Profiles, synthesising information and insight from existing sources and priority sectors, supplemented by direct field research by UN-Habitat teams based in each city. This profile is part of a regional urban profiling exercise that aims to develop urban profiles for the cities of Basra, Sinjar, Derna (Libya), Mareb (Yemen) and Dara’a (Syria). UN- Habitat’s expertise in urban analysis, community approaches and crisis contexts have informed the development of the City Profiling process. All City Profiles are developed in close association with the concerned governorates and municipalities.
While most efforts to implement urban plans in Basra been ineffective, this has not curbed the growth of the city. Unplanned settlements along streets and on public land (about 24,0002 dwelling units), rapid urban expansion in neighbouring agricultural areas (about 84,000 dwelling units), and subdivision of plots and apartments has been the unregulated market response to the growing needs of housing. Even though these developments are rarely welcomed by policymakers, they are also not easily reversed. Even not taking into consideration the social ramifications of attempting to reverse these developments, it is clear that sunk cost in these dwellings alone, which cannot be matched in terms of government investments in any foreseeable amount of time, should be a justification to incorporate these developments into any housing strategy as an asset.