An investigation of problems and opportunities in the provision of urban housing in Iraq
Al-Izzi, Zuhair Hatim Attia
Master of Architecture
The quality and quantity of housing available to the population are issues of governmental and public concern in Iraq. The government's recent policy is to provide public housing to fulfill the demand. However, because of the problems that arise from the implementation of these housing projects, there is general concern about the success of these projects in dealing with local urban problems and answering the needs of the individual family. Also, the application of this policy does not seem to deal with the rapid growth of the city, compounding the already existing urban problems. Consequently, a deep understanding of the nature of the local situation and its problems is very necessary and important, in order to outline a comprehensive plan to deal with housing problems. This work presents an exploration of the local situation in Iraq, focusing on the capital, Baghdad, as an example of a rapidly developing city. This exploration covers the country's background, emphasizing its location, history, housing policy, type of urban dwellings, economy, climate, demography, social structure, socio-economic groups, and city growth. Three urban case studies are presented as example of different social groups and layouts of localities. The first deals with traditional low-income settlements; the second deals with low-income public housing projects; and the third with middle-income public housing projects. A comparison between these case studies enables us to clearly see the differences between them and to identify the local situation. This study addresses some of the problems of the individual family, and the problems of the urban community, such as utilities, building industry, community facilities, accessibility, and the quality of the environment. Finally, as a result of this study, three levels of recommendations are advanced covering the city, site, and unit levels. These recommendations are based on understanding of the local situation, the problems identified above, and strategy discussions in dealing with reducing the demand. This work offers a reference for understanding and dealing realistically with low- and middle-income public housing, by exploring the problems of existing housing and the local community. It can also enable decision-makers to comprehend these serious problems and- to suggest more adequate solutions.