Thursday, February 23, 2012

squatters build normal urban neighborhoods

In Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, "a chronic lack of affordable housing has resulted in even professionals and public servants moving into informal settlements as they shun available but unattainably priced private homes."

Here's the seriously bad math of housing in the city, according to The Asia Sentinel: "Many people in public service and formal private sector employment earning less than K500 (US$242) per fortnight are unable to pay rental costs of K5,000 per week for a two bedroom apartment, or the average purchase price of K1.3 million for a three-bedroom house in central Port Moresby. The private housing market mainly services expatriates and workers living in employer provided accommodation."

The average two-bedroom apartment in this city of close to 1 million people costs twenty times more than many workers earn.

Do we need any more proof that the housing market is broken? How can anyone even call this a market? It isn't even managed scarcity. It's absolute dysfunction. We're in the second decade of the 21st century -- and it's high time to admit that squatter communities are normal urban neighborhoods

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