Book: Casas Melhoradas: Affordable Housing in Mozambique

Casas Melhoradas is an applied research project on housing for low-income groups in the informal settlements of Maputo, Mozambique with a three-fold focus: 1) Improve the quality and reduce the cost of housing through development of alternative construction methods. 2) Initiate sustainable urban development by curtailing urban sprawl and utilizing space and infrastructure more economically through development of compact housing typologies. 3) Scale up the impact of the project by engaging in partnerships with civil society, private companies, and public institutions.

This publication contains background material on the project, information about the first four constructed housing projects, as well as a brief outline of ongoing and future project activities. Cities across the African continent are undergoing rapid urban transformations in order to accommodate the high urban population growth. Informal settlements are the predominant contemporary urban type in Sub-Saharan Africa and the number of residents of informal settlements is projected to double over the next 15-20 years. The growth of African cities causes comprehensive challenges for sustainable development, including issues such as access to safe water, stable food supply, decreasing mobility, growing infrastructure deficit, loss of arable land, and lack of basic services. There are few examples of successful development of informal urban areas.Accordingly, innovation within urban development strategies, urban design, housing typologies, and construction methods for informal settlements in Africa is vital for the future of African cities. On this background, Casas Melhoradas seeks to inspire, provoke, and engage in the discussions about sustainable development of informal settlements in Maputo and the wider African context through construction of alternative housing projects.

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