Somsook Boonyabancha, Chairperson, former Secretary General of Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, a coalition of organizations working on urban poor housing and city development in Asia. She was a former Director of Community Organizations Development Institute in Thailand.
She has been working extensively on urban poor housing development and slum upgrading in Thailand and in countries in Asia in the past 40 years (since 1977). During her CODI years, she implemented the national city-wide community upgrading which has been implementing in 300 cities using new community finance and revolving fund mechanism, in Thailand. Apart from urban community process, she also have good experiences on various community-led development process on various rural development activities, community welfare activities, the rural-urban link and community-led disaster rehabilitation while working with CODI (and UCDO) during 1992-2009. Under ACHR, she has supported city-wide upgrading activities under Asian Coalition for Community Action Program (ACCA) in 215 cities in 19 countries in Asia.
Title: Community Driven Housing Initiatives: Building Resilient Communities and Overcoming Housing Problems in Asian Cities
Housing is one of the most central issues for social and human security to achieve sustainable development. Unfortunately, Asian cities still face great challenges in developing sufficient and good quality housing which is affordable for our people in rapidly urbanizing Asian cities. To meet the increasing demand for housing, most countries mainly inject new housing supply through government or private sectors initiatives. However, these are usually scattered housing projects developed for selected individuals, and mostly allocated on an individual basis with little opportunities for community building. Therefore, it is very important to have an alternative approach to the implementation of housing developments in Asian cities by focusing more on city-wide upgrading and a people-centric housing development approach.
It is posited that such steps could potentially enhance community building, while driving social, economic and environment development at the same time. It is the approach to let “People and their Communities” at city-wide scale to be active actors for housing development activities. The presentation will show examples of this new approach in Thailand and in other Asian countries.