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1. Introduction Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest urbanisation rates in the world, with major acceleration occurring during the last two decades. In 1982, the overall urban population was a mere 21,8 per cent, but this increased rapidly to 36 per cent by 2003, and is expected to reach 50 per cent by 2030 (Kessides, 2005; UN-HABITAT, 2004–2005). Between 1990 and 2003, sub-Saharan Africa’s urban growth rate of 4,6 per cent was almost double the population growth rate of 2,5 per cent (Kessides, 2005, based on World Development Indicators, 2005). Migration plays a central role in this rapid urbanisation, with circular migration dominant in most African countries (Grant et al., 2007). When migrants arrive in urban areas, they have few affordable shelter choices. This situation is worsened by the phenomenal growth of African urban slums. From 1990 to 2001, the population of these slums increased by approximately 65 million people, with an average annual growth rate of 4,49 per cent. By 2001, almost three in every four urban dwellers (72 per cent), or a total of 166,2 million people, were living in slums (UN-HABITAT, 2004–2005). In sub-Saharan Africa, the 1990s was thus a pivotal period of urban transformation. National and local governments, whose plans and policies were geared towards an ideal of home ownership even for the urban poor, were overwhelmed by sheer numbers – urban growth driven by migration streams and natural increase rates – which defied fiscal abilities to meet even minimal basic human needs. Most migrants who entered urban areas had to rely on extended family members, friends and their own resourcefulness to secure shelter – with LODGING AS A MIGRANT ECONOMIC STRATEGY IN URBAN ZIMBABWE MIRIAM GRANT 5 Chapter|83| affordability and availability often limited to some type of rental accommodation. Whether in squatter settlements, peri-urban abandoned farms, or established homes in every type of density, rental shelter emerged as the dominant supplier in African cities, mirroring the situation in most cities of the developing world. Across the globe, the urban poor are severely constrained by lack of affordable shelter options, inflexible financial institutions, local governments that cannot keep pace with the housing and service needs of burgeoning cities, and national housing policies that largely ignore the prevalence and significance of rental shelter. In many cities in developing countries, two-thirds or more of the housing stock is rental (Malpezzi, 1990). The types of rental shelter vary widely by location, culture and built form. In Latin American cities, many families rent rooms in consolidated self-help settlements (Gilbert, 1983) and most households make space for other families in order to supplement their income (Gilbert & Varley, 1991; Gilbert et al., 1993). In cities such as Bangkok (Yap & de Wandeler, 1990), Calcutta (Roy, 1983) and Cairo (Abu-Lughod, 1971), households often rent land on which to build their own shelters. Rakodi (1997) asserts that wherever access to land and home ownership is limited the majority of people become tenants. In South African cities, it was estimated that by 1996 more than a million households lived in backyard shacks or formal rooms in the backyards of other households (Crankshaw et al., 2000). Watson & McCarthy (1998) emphasise the pivotal role of the household sector, or small private landlord, in providing rental shelter for the urban poor. As African cities continue to expand at rates often double the national norm, their coping mechanisms are being strained to capacity. One area of extreme pressure is the provision of housing and basic services. Limitations such as prohibitions on squatting, high costs of new housing and acute shortages of formal rental shelter force many African urban dwellers to turn to lodging, or the informal rental of rooms and part-rooms, as the only available, affordable option. In some cities, such as Nairobi, lodging includes renting rooms in squatter settlements where illegality of tenure has not precluded commercial development (Amis, 1996). With the exception of informal shelters erected for the sole purpose of renting, ‘lodging’ involves the creation of living quarters by the process of involution (the division of existing space). Often, low-income households either add a room to their houses (usually self-built over a long period of time as resources become available) or increase the density of their existing space in order to rent to lodgers and ensure a steady, modest source of monthly income. Schlyter & Tipple (1998) have coined the term ‘multi-habitation’ for the situation where people – who do not define...


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