Civic Engagement Research Fellow Lunch Presentation
“Rental Housing Markets at the Base of the ‘Economic Pyramid’: Insights from the Slums in Kenya and Senegal”
Providing adequate housing and services to residents of rapidly growing cities remains a significant challenge to local and national governments worldwide. Nowhere is the challenge more daunting than in the cities of developing countries where the growth of “informal” or slum settlements outpaces citywide growth. The lack of data, especially statistically representative large-sample datasets, is very acute in the case such informal housing and rental markets. As part of a bigger project, in this study, we use the World Bank’s data on households in the slum settlements in Nairobi, Kenya (sample size 1755 households) and Dakar, Senegal (1960 households) to comparatively analyze the informal rental markets in the two cities. We focus on the following questions: In what ways, if any, do living conditions differ for tenants and owner-occupiers? How much do tenants in slums actually pay in rent and what features—of the housing, infrastructure and neighborhood—influence rents in these informal housing markets? How do the rental housing markets in the slums of these two cities compare in terms of housing quality offered, prevailing rents, and value for money? We discuss policy implications of our findings. This research was supported by a 2010-11 Civic Engagement Research Fellowship awarded to Dr. Talukdar.