The accelerated urbanization of the late 20th and early 21st centuries in developing and emerging countries, has given rise to urban fragmentation, the deterioration of living conditions for many city-dwellers and growing inequalities in access to decent housing. Housing is now all the more crucial for sustainable cities, and is inextricably linked to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Quality housing supply suited to local needs, and located near areas of employment and essential services can help to address problems of inequality and exclusion. The improvement of buildings’ carbon footprints throughout their entire life cycle also significantly contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation, given that this sector accounts for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions (WEO, 2019).
The housing supply shortage currently amounts to 330 million residential units worldwide (WRI, 2017). Combined with accelerated urbanization, this housing shortage has led to the development of informal settlements, deteriorated living conditions, and an increase in artificial land cover and soil pollution. This often means insecure tenure, construction in high-risk areas, inadequate housing and higher cost of urban utilities.