Assessing housing approaches for Iraq: Learning from the world experience
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Iraq is facing a housing shortage of around 1.0 million housing units, which is equivalent to around 25% of its current housing stock. At the same time, it suffers from having a low housing production. As a first Step towards managing this challenge, the country needs to identify a proper approach to drive developments. For this purpose, a new Iraqi National Housing Policy was issued in 2010. It proposed adopting private sector-led production to handle the housing problems. However, within a context dominated by instability, a negative investment environment, and weak private sector, the Policy's approach has not been applicable. The private sector has not been able to take this role. Accordingly, a comprehensive investigation is required to assess the possible housing approaches and to define a prospective way forward for the country, which has not been found in previous literature. This paper aims to address this challenge by exploring and investigating what has been done by other countries to successfully manage problems similar to those currently faced by Iraq. The research methodology underpinning this paper includes a mathematical extrapolation of data stemming from UN-Habitat housing statistics as well as a wide-ranging literature review. The results demonstrate that supporting the formal private sector-led housing production is a promising principal approach. It has enabled countries to have sustainable housing development. However, due to Iraq's current situation and the inability of its formal sector to satisfy large needs, an interim approach is needed. This should support the public sector intervention and, mainly, adopt informal housing related strategies, such as self-help housing. This is to be done alongside the efforts to support the formal private sector to take its principal role. This research's approach of using a mathematical extrapolation to guide investigating and examining previous literature is highlighted by the research as an innovative approach that has not been adopted by previous studies. It can be used to have a comprehensive investigation of various housing aspects in all countries.
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