Housing conditions and aspirations of popular housing tenants in Kuwait
Since the middle of this century, many cities in the Developing World have experienced rapid growth and fundamental transformation in their socio-economic structure. Rapid population growth due to massive migration created an acute shortage in housing stock which resulted in squatter settlements and problems of insufficient urban services. Proposals for solving the problems of housing shortages and urban growth in the Third World Countries have always been based at first on Western ideas. However, due to financial constraints many have resorted to more innovative responses, mainly supported and sponsored by the World Bank. Judging from many studies of the failures and successes of housing schemes in Third World Countries, it appears that the main difficulties they have to contend with are a lack of finance coupled with a large influx of poor people. Yet, despite being a wealthy country with a small population size, Kuwait had to pass through the same housing problems. Kuwait's unique situation arises from a political system discriminating between citizens and non-citizens in housing choices and supply. Catering only for the citizens, yet requiring the labour of many others, resulted in great housing inequalities, because more than 71 per cent of the population are non-citizens. This thesis was set up to investigate the housing conditions and aspirations of popular housing tenants in Kuwait. Popular housing emerged as a solution for squatter settlement problems in Kuwait. However, it created a great housing disparity within the Kuwaiti housing system. The study begins with a review of the literature on low income housing in the cities of rapidly developing countries, and particularly the emergence of squatting with its implications, and the nature and degree of government intervention. Subsequent to a discussion of Kuwait's physical, economic, political and demographic trends, the study reviews housing and urban development in Kuwait with special reference to the government's efforts in housing its citizens. These chapters highlight the disparity between citizens and non-citizens in housing cost and design, location and access to public services. The field work undertaken for this study critically examined the relationship between popular housing tenants, their dwellings and the surrounding environment. This provided a basis for evaluating the living environment by measuring the tenants' degree of satisfaction, and exploring their aspirations and expectations regarding their future housing. The impact of housing disparity on the occupants' social and physical performance is then examined to throw further light on the types of problems they are facing. Finally each major component of this evaluation is separately analysed in order to determine its effect on present and future housing policy. This study, being the first documentation of the housing conditions of the popular housing tenants in Kuwait, had the main objective of presenting recommendations both for immediate action and for long term policy to solve their problems.