The roles of intermediary agents in housing for the poor in Indonesia : three models of intervention

  • Heracles C. Lang

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis addresses the issues faced by the urban poor in their efforts to gain housing in developing countries. It argues that participation in housing is a matter of governance, in which the Public, Private and Popular sectors interact, and Intermediary Agents (IA) are necessary to act as catalysts in this interaction. In Indonesia there are two major problems related to housing the urban poor. The first problem concerns the quantity of housing. The second problem concerns the quality of housing, infrastructure and the environment. The government usually addresses these problems through a project-based, sectoral approach that lacks community engagement and accountability. Intermediary Agents have assisted many of these housing projects. However, little research has been undertaken on their role in these housing projects, as well as in the informal housing process. This thesis examines the role of IAs in the housing process of four different communities: one community in a government-sponsored project and three communities in informal settlements. The findings showed that the IAs, in engaging with the four different communities, played different roles and have different values. The involvement of IAs in the housing process elucidates a fundamental issue. On one hand, the IAs offer a mechanism to assist communities in providing and improving access to housing, infrastructure and services. However, there are limitations to their role: they have not the capacity to improve security of land tenure for the residents, which is essential for sustainable housing development. Where there has been some recognition of residents' rights to occupy the land, there have been substantial gains in community engagement in investing and improving their living environment. The thesis demonstrates the importance of community participation and acknowledges stakeholder engagement and community empowerment are crucial, roles that are often dependent on the involvement of IAs. It also extended the research on movement and development IAs demonstrating that both functions are complementary and important in housing delivery and that there are five roles that these IAs could play depending on the housing situation. The thesis offers new approaches to housing delivery and policy in Indonesia by involving urban poor communities, as the beneficiaries of housing for the poor programs. The qualitative method of the research has not been able to provide a generalised conclusion, but the lessons learned are important not only for providing housing for the urban poor in Indonesia but also possibly to addressing housing problems in other Asian countries. This thesis addresses four areas of intervention in transposing skills for a more democratic approach in housing the poor. Within these areas the research proposes new models of engagement for relevant stakeholders in public, popular and private sectors involving Intermediary Agents. These models are underpinned by a set of basic principles to guide IA engagement. Lastly the thesis proposes three models for IAs involvements in the housing process.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBrian Roberts (Supervisor) & Kath Wellman (Supervisor)

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