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Title: Meeting housing needs in Libya : towards a responsive owner-built housing with particular reference to Benghazi City
Authors: Abdalla, Abdulsalam
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Over the past three decades, `Owner-built Housing' (OBH) has been the predominant mode of housing provision in Libya, with state support given to prospective owner-builders including easy access to building resources. This is the first study to explore the development of Libyan OBH aiming to achieve a better understanding of its implementation and the influence of the socio-economic changes in the country. The main research question was to what extent is the OBH process adaptable and responsive to the changing housing needs of Libyan families. Three indicators were used to answer this question, concerning the accessibility and sufficiency of building resources, the management and control of construction work, the adaptability of and satisfaction with the resulting residential environment. A case study approach was adopted to conduct the research. This enabled the integration of both documentary and empirical data gathered for five neighbourhoods reflecting the development of OBH over the past three decades in the suburbs of Benghazi. Empirical data was obtained from questionnaires, open-ended interviews and observations while documentary data was acquired from various resources such as official documents, academic literature, and other relevant printed materials. The descriptive analysis of quantitative data was integrated with and complemented by qualitative data to interpret the study findings and strengthen the discussion, and enhance the credibility and validity of the findings. The findings indicate that the contribution of OBH to the housing supply and the ability of OBs to build their own houses over the past three decades have been strongly influenced by the different roles performed by the state and its relevant institutions. The `active enabler' role played by the state during the 1970s gave many OBs access to sufficient and affordable building resources allowing them to meet the total costs of house construction. In contrast, the `passive enabler' role played by the state during the 1980s and 1990s, associated with instability in the institutional and regulatory framework concerned with the management and allocation of building resources, meant that low and middle-income OBs encountered serious problems in building their houses. Shortages of available land resulted from delays in the approval of new residential subdivisions, loans were too small, materials supplies were mismanaged, and technical assistance was lacking. OBs, therefore, experienced delays and suspensions of construction work, and frequent disputes occurred with hired builders over the quality and cost of construction work. Furthermore, a lack of neighbourhood infrastructure made OBH areas less attractive and subject to social and environmental problems such as burglary and pollution which affected the residents' wellbeing and overall satisfaction with their neighbourhoods. Despite this, the results indicate that owner-built houses are adaptable and satisfactory to their occupiers reflecting the remarkable level of alterations carried out to improve their quality, as well as in attitudes among OBs regarding OBH as the most desirable and affordable mode of housing provision. It is concluded that, improvements are necessary in the productivity of, stability in, and coordination between the different public institutions and private actors involved in the development of OBH. Key factors in making the OBH more responsive to people's need and aspirations include ensuring a regular and transparent mechanism of land supply and allocation, exerting efficient control over supplies of basic materials, providing technical assistance to prospective OBs, and ensuring the incremental provision of neighbourhood infrastructure.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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