The challenge of achieving housing quality, safety, and affordability is both daunting and pervasive. The challenge is not limited to poor nations, where nearly a billion people live in urbans; it is also prevalent in the otherwise-thriving economic centers of advanced economies, where many “non-poor”, including middle-income households, struggle to find decent housing. The formal housing sector has been unable to produce new housing at the scale, pace, or price needed to respond to prevailing demand. As a result, housing choice is severely restricted for both low- and middle-income households, and a large part of the population is forced to find alternative informal or illegal housing solutions.
Client countries that face this issue are found in almost every part of the globe and perhaps didn’t engage in systematic knowledge sharing. This TDD sought to deepen countries’ knowledge about, and provide practical tools for, the design and implementation of interventions that bridge the affordability gap of formal housing provision, with a focus on addressing supply-side constraints. It highlighted knowledge of good practices, specifically the Bank’s experience in this sector, as well as examples from Japan and other countries. It sought to begin laying out the backbone of a systematic supply-side training course.
Practitioners and experts from 13 countries participated in the TDD, which focused on four themes, based on the vast Japanese experience as well as experience of other countries: (i) making markets work, (ii) housing the bottom 40 percent, (iii) integrating housing into disaster resilience, and (iv) fostering technology and innovation.
Participants had a further opportunity to witness and learn from Japan’s shift from a housing quantity focus to a housing quality focus by visiting two sites in Tokyo: First Tama New Town, Nagayama District (opened in 1971) and Tama New Town, Tsurumaki, Minamino, and Karakida Districts (developed in the early 1980s). The former site focused on the “quantity” of affordable housing, while the latter focused on the “quality” of affordable housing.