An assessment of the housing policy in the Gaza Strip between 1994 and 2000
Abusalim, Murad Ibrahim
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Since the beginning of the 20th century, the housing sector in the Palestinian Territories, including the Gaza Strip, has been facing distinctive challenges. Based on personal observation and an extensive body of statistics, housing reports, and literature available, it is evident that the housing sector in the Gaza Strip is struggling. Two major factors have contributed to the problem: unstable political conditions and lack of legitimate national authority in the past. Some of the housing problems’ symptoms in the Gaza Strip include affordability, considerable crowding, and supply and demand distortion. Immediately following the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994, a new housing policy was declared in the Palestinian Territories, includ ing the Gaza Strip, aiming at enabling each citizen of the territories to have a permanent and appropriate housing even for those who could not afford it. The main objective of this research is to evaluate this housing policy in the Gaza Strip and assess its enabling potential. The assessment process is limited to the period between 1994 and 2000, and it is conducted based on the Enabling Index that was developed through the Housing Indicators Program. The Housing Indicators Program was initiated by the United Nation Center for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) and the World Bank back in 1990, which, in turn, was as a part of ongoing process of implementing The Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 that was adopted by the United Nations general assembly in 1988 in an effort to solve global housing problems. This dissertation provides systematic evaluation of the various components of the housing policy in the Gaza Strip and clarifies the major weaknesses and strengths of the current housing policy in the Strip. It offers opportunity for comparison with other countries in the region and world-wide, and thus, better understating of the appropriate alternatives that could be adopted to develop the housing sector in the Gaza Strip. Although this research focuses on the Gaza Strip, the procedure could inform decision- makers in other parts of the world where there are similar conditions and/or urban problems related to political conflicts.