Community-led housing: how to deliver housing for people and the planet

A collaboration between IIED and World Habitat, working with local partners, is promoting community-led housing as a feasible and effective solution to advance housing justice and to provide housing that delivers the social and environmental outcomes for our cities and the planet to thrive.

March 2024 - December 2024
Paula Sevilla Nunez

Researcher (housing justice)

Housing justice
A programme of work producing knowledge and methodologies for housing policy and initiatives that promote wellbeing and sustainability in cities of the global South
Housing with a small garden in front of the building.

Community-led housing in Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo: Alex Apsan Frediani, IIED)

The treatment of housing as a commodity and the persistence and often expansion of informal settlements is restricting people's access to adequate housing. Across the global North and South, this global housing crisis has become a priority among a growing number of civil society organisations, as well as across policy, finance and philanthropy.

Most are aware of the importance of safe and secure housing as a foundation for human development. All of them are asking how to deliver it. Yet few know of, perceive or prioritise community-led housing as an appropriate and effective mechanism to successfully tackle this global housing crisis.

What is IIED doing?

IIED and World Habitat are partnering with community-led housing champions and housing justice movements to ensure that policymakers, financiers and philanthropists discover, understand and engage with community-led housing as a key policy tool in the provision of housing.

The partners will work to map and analyse the key obstacles or ‘bottlenecks’ in policy and finance that prevent the implementation of community-led housing. We will then develop the evidence base, tools and advocacy strategies necessary to overcome these bottlenecks. As a result, we hope to promote the conditions that will enable the implementation and scale-up of community-led housing programmes.

The project will produce evidence in the form of case studies led by local partners to identify key bottlenecks limiting the scale and impact of community-led housing initiatives. The project will produce policy recommendations and action toolkits that serve to promote synergies and co-learning between community-led housing initiatives.

The research will also seek to contextualise local findings within wider trends and debates at the international level, as well as to identify challenges and bottlenecks related to other well documented examples of community-led-housing.

IIED and World Habitat will also work with a broad network of community-led housing champions and housing justice movements to mobilise the research findings towards a campaign. We will create evidence-based advocacy strategies, tools and activities to raise awareness of the benefits of community-led housing and create the conditions for future initiatives to be implemented and scaled up in other countries.

IIED is coordinating the work of partners in Brazil (Catalytic Communities), Malawi (Center for Community Organisation and Development), Zambia (Civic Forum on Housing and Habitat) and Nepal (Lumanti Support Group for Shelter), and World Habitat is coordinating the production of case studies from Switzerland (urbaMonde) and Slovenia (Zadrugator).