How to Help Provide Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families

This thesis explores innovative design strategies that help provide affordable housing for low-income families in Maseru.

The study aims to introduce innovative ideas in Lesotho architecture to help promote the availability of sustainable and affordable housing to those in need. This research should provide information on environmental and financial solutions that can help reduce housing cost cost cost costs. Thus, the problem definition of this thesis is: To answer this question, the research begins with the investigation of the affordable housing need in Lesotho.


The structure of related literature in this chapter has five themes, namely, the definition of affordable housing as a housing concept, the need for affordable housing in Maseru, affordable housing design strategies, innovative housing design strategies for affordable housing, and sustainable design strategies for affordable housing. Reviewing literature many literature Coston these identified themes, assist in outlining the nature of the barriers to the provision of affordable and sustainable housing without placing the financial burden on the low-income families in Maseru.

Identified Themes

Definition of affordable housing as a concept

What is Affordable housing?

The idea of affordable housing recognizes the needs of households whose incomes are not sufficient to allow them to access appropriate housing in the market without assistance (Milligan et al 2004 pi). Thus, the term ‘affordable housing’ describes housing that assists lower-income households in obtaining and paying for appropriate housing without experiencing undue financial hardship (Milligan et al 2004, pi). A range of publicly or Coston-initiated forms of housing may meet this specification (Milligan et al 2007, p27).

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In fact, in recent years, the term ‘affordable housing’ has been used as an alternative to terms such as ‘public’, ‘social’, or ‘low-cost housing (Gabriel et al 2005, p6).

Definition of affordability can be very difficult as well as conceptualizing and measuring affordability. Understanding casual factors of housing affordability are difficult. The discussions and debates on affordability show that the affordability concept and measurement start from misunderstandings of the problem. For example, housing affordability can be described in terms of rents relative to income, not being able to afford housing costs after all household expenses have been met, or income that is too low and high housing prices. Different households experience housing affordability in different ways; that is through employment, transport, health, and other consumption trade-offs that have to be made by singles, single parents, and couples with children as they adapt to their circumstances to high housing costs and/ or low income (Gabriel et al 2005 p37).

Whitehead (1991, p875 ) has pointed out that definitions usually focus on the relationship between housing expenditure and household income, typically to establish a standard in respect of which the amount of income spent on housing is deemed unaffordable. For example, traditionally, financial institutions have applied a rule of not allowing households to take out home loans requiring more than 30 percent of gross income for their servicing (insert reference), but for many households, that 30 percent of their income is too high an amount of expenditure; some households can afford absolutely nothing for housing (Bratt, 2002).

Indeed, one definition of ‘affordable housing is that it is housing that would not put the buyer into mortgage stress (Select Committee 2008, p33). Yi Tong (2004 in Gabriel et al 2005, p8) introduces the concept of ‘homeownership affordability’ to differentiate the concerns of owner-occupiers from other groups. The Australian debate describes this as ‘accessibility’ (e.g., Yates 1987 in Gabriel et al 2005, p8). In the case of homebuyers, concerns about affordability are typically about the accessibility of homeownership, or the ability of younger households to gain access to homeownership for the first time (Richards 2008).

What is the problem with the above definitions?

‘Affordability’ is a simple idea to uncost cyclesderstand when all is said in done however can be difficult to put into practice particularly as far as the changing conditions of individuals and households after some time (Bramley 2006 in Paris 2007, p1). Investigations of affordability commonly embrace a proportion approach by estimating the connections between household incomes and housing costs. A proportion approach more often than not utilizes a benchmark normal or percentile dimensions of incomes and expenses to study the degree of inconstancy between areas or household types or potentially evaluate changing conditions over time (Hulchanski 1995 in Paris 2007, p2).

There are numerous technical and conceptual issues related to using a proportion approach. A main issue with the proportions approach is that incomes and costs change completely over life low-costcyclesCoston initiated cost cycles, for the most part with higher extents of salary being spent on house purchase during the early years of a home loan or credit and lower extents later. During times of rapid house cost and salary inflation, therefore, high costs might be related to the early years of a home loan repayment; however, many cost cycles and other strategies can this can before long be pursued by much lower genuine expenses and fast development in value (Paris 2007, p2).

Another worry with proportions and averages identified with salary and riches conveyance. Usually, ‘affordable’ housing is characterized as not being over a predefined proportion of household expenditure, commonly now 30 percent. Notwithstanding taking point-in-time correlations without needing any proof, critics of this methodology contend that 30 percent of a low pay might be less ‘reasonable’ than 40 percent of a high salary since 60 percent out of a high pay still leaves this family unit with a better than expected extra cash (Paris 2007, p2). Battleline (2008a, p4) strengthens the concern with the utilization of a single 30 percent proportion to all households, including those with elevated amounts of remaining pay, and contends that the increase in real wages since the mid-1990s has generously changed the premise on which the 30 percent benchmark was initially proposed. Households with high incomes can spend over that extent on housing and still have a lot of money to spend on different things. It is not astounding, along these lines, that a few correspondents who utilize a settled benchmark for housing pressure, for example, housing repayments surpassing 30 percent of salary—are finding that an ever-increasing number of households are exceeding the benchmark (Battellino 2008a, p6).

Henceforth Stone (2006, p459 in Paris 2007, p2) contends clearly for a residual income approach to deal with affordability since ‘housing costs will, in general, be inflexible and make the first case on after-tax income for most households. Nevertheless, the limitation of this methodology is that it is dependent on subjective assumptions about household expenditure. Burke et al. (2004, p2 in Gabriel et al 2005, p27) have remarked that, while various examinations that audit low-income housing issues perceive the utility of residual housing costs measures (for example HNZC 2004; Bramley 1990; NHS 1991, pix). The inclination for most researchers has been to deploy a proportion measure given the apparent challenges of characterizing estimation criteria.

Consequently, the 30/40 rule is yet the favored measure of housing stress; being a household in the lowest 40 percent of the income dissemination pays more than 30 percent of income on housing. This benchmark— also sometimes called the ‘Ontario measure’— is also used abroad as a manual for qualification for government assistance (Select Board of trustees 2008, p37).

The agreed definition of Affordable housing

Practical definitions of what establishes affordable housing are normally explicit to the policy and program context in which they are used. Normally, however, they have regular features, for example, an idea of what includes affordability and a reference to the target group(s) for whom they are planned (Milligan et al 2007, p26). Gabriel (2005 et al, PV) gives a method of reasoning to proceed with utilization of the 30/40 affordability rule since it gives coherence to customarily utilized measures and because it is easy to apply and straightforward. A case is also made for giving extra corresponding indicators that are increasingly receptive to household needs and ability to pay.

The multifaceted nature surrounding affordability suggests that there is an unknown measure for surveying the nature and level of housing affordability issues. The test is subsequently to distinguish the arrangement needs around the issues and to devise estimates applicable to the strategy prerequisites of recognizing the scale and type of the issue, assessing housing market patterns, advising approach plan, or giving rules to industry (Gabriel et al 2005, p37). Quantitative measures can uncover that there is an affordability issue yet not proposed arrangements (Gabriel et al 2005, p37).

The need for Affordable housing in Maseru

How do achieve housing affordability?

Kwon (2012), states that achieving housing affordability requires multi-strategy and multi-tactic approaches according to the given context, including social, economic, regulations, and, physical elements, but those strategies and tactics do not necessarily need to be new technological interventions.

Affordable housing design strategies

Affordable housing design strategies are a very important tool for reducing the cost of housing; however, many other strategies can plan regulations many other strategies can lower the housing cost (Friedman, 2005). For instance, controlling and changing public policy and land use regulations set by the government would be effective tools to make affordable housing more efficient.

Open spaces or Landscapes

As Le Corbusier’s planregulationsplan regulations, Voisin recommended, as housing density increases, the spaces between individual dwelling units should be expanded too for utilitarian and mental wellbeing. As indicated by Friedman, open spaces configuration ought to embrace a few key standards. Open spaces need to join existing natural features to decrease costs through preservation structure, which spares costs for changing existing common habitatswellhabitats well-being. All homes and all inhabitants must have equal access to open spaces to appreciate daylight and natural air; this can likewise diminish the requirement for fake lighting and cooling. Open spaces should be turned into the green lungs and play territory for occupants to safeguard both dynamic entertainment and passive recreation. Additionally, open green spaces can work as integrated storm-water management systems. Above all, open spaces must be intended to add to the well-being of plants help, and prosperity of the network (Friedman, 2005).

Innovative landscaping decreases costs for abiding units. Instead of using lawns, be water proficient nearby plants utilized for ground cover multi-vegetation to spare water system and utilization of manure. A blend of hard landscape with low or no upkeep on locplants helped The gathering gatheringthelent excellent gathering accomplishingishing affordability. These local trees are used for sunshades avoiding heat gaining during the summer. The gathering of trees can be utilized for protecting and diverting winter wind to reduce warming costs (Friedman, 2005).

Innovative design strategies for affordable housing

There is a skeptical view toward technical innovation for affordable housing. Technical innovation just has constrained the gathering capacity to decrease housing development costs (Schmitz et al., 2005). In contrast, design innovation can add to bringing housing costs down from numerous points of view, particularly concerning affordable housing development. The building construction industry’s concern for obligation issues concerning the utilization of new technologies has prompted a conservative association with its client base. Architects who see affordable housing as an essential territory of their training will dependably attempt to discover inventive structure strategies and applications for affordable housing. Regularly the generation of affordable housing plans thusly has more prominent accomplishment than market housing; frequently an extremely restricted spending forces designers to achieve unique creativity (Schmitz et al., 2005).

There are numerous impediments that affordable housing needs to defeat regarding innovation; in any case, affordable housing must deliver exceptional structure results, which show a proficient utilization of space and material, and it must serve the network as an instrument for conquering the difficulty that affordable housing is looked with. Great design affordable housing configuration is an ultimate everlasting tool for changing negative perspectives of affordable homes in our public (Schmitz et al., 2005). For good design, numerous Architects believe that technical and design innovation must be pursued.

Sustainable design for affordable housing

Sustainable design for affordable housing is one of the new design innovations for accomplishing affordability. BeforeFuture any talk of green design and sustainable design for affordable housing, the meanings of the two terms must be explained, because they are frequently utilized conversely to portray a similar circumstance. As indicated by the Green Development Service arm of the Rocky Mountain Institute, green development is “a field in which pursuit of environmental excellence produces fundamentally better buildings and communities-more comfortable, more efficient, more appealing, and ultimately more profitable (Bradshaw et al., 2005).” The 1987 report ‘Our Common Future’Future by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) presented the most usually utilized meaning of the idea: “Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Berke and Conroy, 2007).’ Green design or sustainable design in the housing affordability does not mean extra expense for development; sometimes the expense of green housing can remain lower than that of standard development. Green buildings not just enhance the proficiency of running expenses and related maintenance costs in the long term but also enhance the durability of a building, so it will keep going for quite a while without continuous replacement. This can be achieved without compromising comfort, which is accomplished through a more advantageous environment including natural light, passive ventilation, fresh indoor air, and natural heating (Bradshaw et al., 2005). As indicated by the cost examination report ‘The Costs, and Benefits of Green Affordable Housing’, which breaks down the advancement cost of affordable green activities in the USA, the normal green improvement premium is 2.42 percent, and the middle esteem is 2.94 percent of absolute advancement cost (Bradshaw et al., 2005).

Natural ventilation and Light

Natural ventilation systems rely on the power of nature, which include wind, pressure, and variations in temperatures between areas to deliver fresh air or outside air into a building. The basic principle of airflow is that air moves from areas of high pressure (outside) to areas of low pressure (indoor) and warm air (stale air) ascends while cool air (fresh air) descends (Sustainability Vitoria, nd).

The primary advantage of natural ventilation is a significant amount of energy saving by reducing the use of mechanical cooling to lessen the maintenance costs in the long run. Likewise, it enhances indoor air quality, which can provide a comfortable and pleasant indoor environment for the occupants. Natural ventilation systems efficiency improves by 40 percent when used in a narrow building and an open floor plan. (Sustainability Vitoria, nd).

There are three types of ventilation: cross ventilation, stack ventilation, and night ventilation (Baker, 2011). Cross ventilation (figure) uses the differences in air pressureskylights by wind control methods. This type of natural ventilation relies upon the accessibility and bearing of the wind. To improve ventilation efficiency, should not be more than five times its ceiling height (Sustainability Vitoria, nd).

Daylight is admitted into the building through windows and skylights to increase the living comfort and to reduce the use of artificial lighting, the light can either be direct or indirect (Andre, 2011). The success of daylighting is affected by three main factors: the shape of the space, the building orientation and the direction of windows, and the condition of the interior surface (Robertson, 2011).


Innovative affordable housing design strategies do not increase the housing cost, ToTobut they reduce the cost in many ways. To achieve affordability in affordable housing development, architects have to be creative to provide the best design solutions to overcome the negative misassumptions about affordable housing. This means that the design must be excel lentexcellent excellent so Coston initiated to maintain and increase the value of the building. Making use of green design and sustainable design for affordable housing development is not an entirely new concept; the design also suffers the misassumptions that this is an expansive design approach, which leads to higher costs of the development. The truth of the matter is, that a green building does not necessarily cost more than a conventional building. In the long-term, the design helps reduce unnecessary maintenance and replacement costs, but it also enhances affordability by increasing the durability of the building and eventually leads to cost reduction. The greatest benefit of making a green affordable housing income approach; helps provide a healthy lifestyle for the occupants and the neighbors.


  1. Gabriel M, Jacobs K, Arthurson K, Burke T and Yates J (2005) Conceptualising and measuring the housing affordability problem, National Research Venture 3: Housing affordability for lower-lower lower Australians Research Paper No. 1, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
  2. Milligan V, Phibbs P, Fagan K and Gurran N (2004) A Practical Framework for Expanding Affordable Housing Services in Australia: Learning from Experience, Final Report No. 65, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
  3. Milligan V, Phibbs P, Gurran N and Fagan K (2007) Approach to Evaluation of Affordable Housing Initiatives in Australia, National Research Venture 3: Housing affordability for an an-incomer income Australians Research Paper No. 7, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
  4. Bratt, R. (2002). Housing and Family Well-Being, Housing Studies, London, Routledge.

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How to Help Provide Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families. (2022, May 25). Retrieved from

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