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Urban Econony (Essay Sample)

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urban economy

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Urban Economics Essay
Introduction
In economic terms, public housing can be considered as a market. Theoretically, market enhances efficiency in allocation using the complex process that links supply and demand. Public housing is the housing tenure system where the government authority owns the property. This is established in order to provide for a safe and decent housing for the low income families, the disabled and the elderly. The public housing can be of any type and size; from single houses to the apartment complexes.
In most cases, the housing authority manages the housing by charging affordable rental rates to the eligible residents. Pursuant to the program requirements, the residents will typically pay rent at almost 30% of annual adjusted income. The provisions for the utility allowances are done by the tenants. The rules and regulations of public housing are outlined in the occupancy policy (Balchin, David and Jean 2000, p.16).1[Balchin Paul, David Isaac, and Jean Jinghan. Chen. Urban Economics: A Global Perspective. Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire: Palgrave, 2000. pp. 16-18.]
Public housing may be restricted to families and individuals with low income levels and the submerged middle class, which may be temporarily out of labor market in case of a depression. The housing authority approves the eligibility based on the annual gross income, the age and disability, the citizenship or immigration status. After the approval of eligibility, the housing authority examines the credit, criminal and rental history. Withdrawal of admission is done upon dissatisfaction of the applicant's behavior by the housing authority. The authority sets income limits for the metropolitan or county area where the housing project has been located (Balchin, David and Jean 2000, p.18).1
Public housing is critical in handling the inner-city isolation and poverty. Proper housing is necessary for human life and is an improvement to life chances among the slum residents. Therefore, public housing is considered as a state's responsibility in ensuring that the citizens have affordable, and decent housing (Cisneros and Lora 2009, p.24).2
Traditionally, poor housing has as an association with high mortality and crime rates. These problems have endangered the lives of the residents and lead to the psychological afflictions because of epidemics due to overcrowding and other unsanitary conditions. Public housing projects have played a significant role in ensuring better housing. This is done through the establishment of low-income housing that can be sustainable. These are intrinsically better when compared to the traditional ones. The designs are sustainable, and they incorporate water conserving and energy efficient technologies in appliances for the buildings. Furthermore, governments have played a crucial role in formulating acts that offer protection against recurring unemployment and outline the remedies for unsanitary and unsafe housing (Cisneros and Lora 2009, p.25).2[Cisneros, Henry, and Lora Engdahl. From Despair to Hope: The New Promise of the Public Housing in America's Cities. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2009. pp. 24-25.]
Problems with Public Housing.
The problems affecting the public housing are considered to be basic and involve the economic development in an area.
Development problems.
The key developmental constraints in public housing include high populations in urban centers, environmental degradation, natural disasters and low economic power. These affect the public housing either directly or indirectly. Many countries suffer from crushing debt-service, the shrinking foreign investments, high interest rates, and unfavorable terms of trade. This leads to the decline of commodity prices within the world market (Garb 2003, p. 1421).3
The increase in population within the urban centers leads to reduced housing space. The increased population demands an increase in infrastructural and housing facilities. Some natural disasters like floods and earthquakes destroy the existing housing stock. As a result of the invariability, there will be overstretching of the meager resources. The housing constraints can be outlined as increased urbanization and population growth, insufficient housing finance, the land tenure and the costs, expensive and inadequate building materials, low purchasing power of the prospective buyers, and low housing priority by the construction sector (Garb 2003, p. 1423).3
The overriding factors affecting the public housing include the availability of finances, cost of the building materials and the land tenure. Many countries have never prioritized the production of the building materials for public housing in their plan of action. The public housing has been violated. The originalobjectives ignored include the increase of self reliance, effectiveness in the mobilization of the human resources, creation of the industrial base and satisfaction of the basic needs of the citizen, and national development of building materials. The other objective is the construction sector encouraging involvement of women during housing construction (Garb 2003, p. 1426).3[Garb, Margaret. " Morality, Housing and Health: "Tenement Problem" within Chicago." The American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003). pp. 1421-1426.]
Local Building materials.
Consumption of local building materials for many countries in is not easy. Often, supply is insufficient to meet demand for the materials. Many countries require stimulation of the building materials like stabilized soil and lime. In many countries, use of lime is at the early development stages, and the little available is enormously charged. Therefore, most of the houses have been developed using local building materials because of the cost advantage over other materials that are popularly used. Furthermore, the skills involved in building and construction may be unavailable in some countries. Therefore, laying costs tend to be high when compared with local methods (Glaeser and Joseph 2008, p.36).4
Cost of building materials.
Building materials compose the single largest input requirement in any housing construction. The supply of some of the popular building materials in many countries is insufficient and expensive. Moreover, the local materials that are available are cheap and of low quality. The research in building materials is not fully developed to marketable level. This results to deplorable conditions in shelters and unavailability of basic shelters. This has facilitated unfavorable patterns in general growth of the population, as well as high migration rates to urban areas. This has resulted to stagnation of the government efforts in improving the situation (Griffiths and Tita 2009, p. 474).5[Glaeser, Edward and Joseph, Gyourko. Rethinking of the Federal Housing Policies. Washington, D.C.: The AEI Press, 2008. p. 36.5Griffiths, Elizabeth & Tita, George. Homicide In and Around Public Housing: Is Public Housing a Hotbed, a Magnet, or a Generator of Violence for the Surrounding Community? Social Problems 56 (2009). p. 474]
The sector of building materials suffers from high dependence on imports. The opportunities to exploit indigenous systems of production of the materials are marginally exploited. Many countries are lagging behind in their efforts towards the promotion of the building materials, especially those based on the indigenous factor inputs. As a result, the local resources are inadequate due to inadequate strategies for development and expansion of the sector of local building materials. Building materials are believed to contribute greatly to the national economic recovery. Nevertheless, the scarce resources have been drained on importing the building materials. The full exploitation for the raw materials is inaccessible because of different constraints; these constrains include unavailability of data on the characteristics of materials and the financial constraints towards the exploitation of the raw materials (Griffiths and Tita 2009, p. 477).6
Many countries have sufficient raw material reserves, but full exploitation tends to be limited due to unavailability of sufficient data on properties of raw materials and the financial barriers. The necessary technologies lack full implementation and expertise in carrying out of the activities towards development of building materials is insufficient (Jacob 2004, p. 233).7[6 Griffiths, Elizabeth & Tita, George. Homicide In and Around Public Housing: Is Public Housing a Hotbed, a Magnet, or a Generator of Violence for the Surrounding Community? Social Problems 56 (2009). p. 477. 7 Jacob, Brian A. "The Public Housing, the Housing Vouchers, and the Student Achievement: Evidence from the Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago." The American Economic Review 94 (2004).pp. 233-235.]
Factors limiting use of local building materials.
Technical factors.
Use of local building materials is associated with technical problems that affect the acceptance degree in the housing sector (Jacob 2004, p. 235).7 The high water absorbent rates reduce the strength of these materials, hence deterioration of the resulting building. Other materials like wood are highly susceptible to termite attack; bio-degeneration tendencies can be easily affected by fires.
Economic factors.
Many families with insufficient economic capacity result to self-help housing. High sacrifices in finances involved and the tenant caters for all the risks. The quality, construction rate and availability of amenities act as determinants of the financial capabilities (Galeser & Joseph 2008, p.62).8
Institutional factors.[8 Glaeser, Edward and Joseph, Gyourko. Rethinking of the Federal Housing Policies. Washington, D.C.: The AEI Press, 2008. pp. 62-64.]
The codes of practice and specification standards i...
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