A student-organised class debate on issues of housing and everyday life in Namibia took place at the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014. The debate was organised by the third-year students, who invited professionals from various fields related to the production of housing as well as lecturers of the Department. After an introduction to the Housing and Everyday life course content by the lecturer Guillermo Delgado, each presenter took 10 minutes to elaborate on their field of expertise before the session closed with comments and questions from the students and a dialogue between the guests.
Moderators,Sara Nakalilaand Nangula Shilongo(third-year students)
Environmental and architectural perspectives, Nina Maritz, architect
Nina Maritzelaborated on the paradoxes of current construction typologies (one-story detached houses in individual 300m2 plots) as well as construction materials vis-a-vis the desert landscapes in Namibia. She suggested that denser typologies of housing are needed not only to reduce the footprint (geographical and environmental) of Namibian towns and cities, but also to trigger a more urban experiences.
Community-based planning perspectives, Braam Harris, planner, Namibia Housing Action Group
Braam Harrispresented on the current state of living conditions in informal settlements in Namibia, as well as efforts by NHAG and SDFN in order to not only improve materially the living conditions of inhabitants, but also to develop a process of empowerment through organising, self-enumeration, and participation in planning decisions.
Inhabitants' perspectives, Ronnie Hoxabes, member, Shackdwellers' Federation of Namibia
Ronnie Hoxabesspoke about the lived experiences of living in informal settlements, and questioned whether housing was a luxury, a right, or a basic need.
Sustainable planning perspectives, Hennie Ferreira, planner, Bob Mould architects
Hennie Ferreiraargued that sustainable planning lies in the intersection between economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equality.
Pilot projects on alternative housing typologies in Windhoek, Bob Mould, architect
Bob Mouldpresented a self-initiated pilot housing project in Goreangab which presented an alternative to the current housing model in favour of more affordable housing developments and typologies oriented towards higher social interaction.
Comments on mass housing in Namibia, Gabriel Marin Castro, architect, Special Advisor on the National Mass Housing Program (NMHP), Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD).
Lozonte Lopez, Senior Consultant Land Management, Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD).
Gabriel Castro Marínpresented the challenges that developing a mass housing program for the first time meant for Namibia. He stated that none of the institutions had experience on building at this scale, and that the program needs to be seen in that light. He also prompted for a more careful use of resources, both in terms of construction as well as in the contracting procedures.
Lozonte Lopezalso spoke about the current challenges regarding the mass housing program, particularly explaining how the attempts of the NHAG and SDFN, although highly appreciated, fell outside the program in views of the inability of these houses to be accepted by banking institutions, which are also a player in these process.
It is worth noting that property managers and developers and banking institutions were invited to the debate, but ultimately were unable to join.
*Originally published on 9 November 2014