HIC-MENA [ Habitat International Coalition ]

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Welcome to Social Production of Habitat. This website section presents the theory and practice of diverse people-centered development processes leading to the realization of the human right to adequate housing. The term “social production” arises from social theory, but “social production of habitat” (SPH) has become commonly associated with a particular type of social movement experience, especially in Latin America. It refers to a range of initiatives by ordinary people and communities to improve their living conditions. This site emphasizes also the necessary human rights—especially housing and land rights—dimension of social production of habitat. It also presents actual cases in the Middle East/North Africa and other regions and allows you to promote your own SPH experience as well.

 1. This section begins with the Concept and History, for those requiring an introduction to “social production” as a mode of social and economic activity. [For more information, click on the words “Concept and History” in this paragraph, or on the “Concept and History” icon above.]

 2. This section presents the meaning and essential features of Social Production of Habitat (SPH), which is the particular category of social production that takes advantage of social capital to carry out physical development and improvement of living conditions. Herein you will find (1) an introduction to social production as social movements around the world have worked together to develop their habitat and (2) some of the lessons derived from HIC’s “Social Production of Habitat” Project implemented through its Housing and Land Rights Network in the Middle East/North Africa.

 3. Social production is a feature of Social Movements wherever they are formed, and their accomplishments are particularly measurable where those movements identify with a particular location and engage in physical development as SPH. Social Movements and their collective actions are diverse and vary by the space, time, scale and intensity of participation, constituent skills, objectives, the nature of their adversaries, available resources and other environmental factors. This section offers a typology that helps clarify generally and comparatively the nature, role and function of social movements in ushering in social change and social production.

 4. Social Capital is a concept essential to social movements, social production and social production of habitat. This section summarized the principle features of social capital. In the context of SPH, social capital involves drawing on and further developing productive solidarity relationships within a community toward the completion of collective development tasks. Some economic development pundits recognize the potential in local social capital for serving the objectives proposed by external parties. However, social capital in the SPH context is seen as an asset rightfully belonging to the community of its partners to be applied toward their own development needs and plans. Therefore, social capital in this context is a factor in ensuring local ingenuity and relevance of an activity to meet locally generated objectives, while also compensating for the relative scarcity of other resources.

 5. The objective of the social production of habitat is to “gain and sustain a home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.”  Thus, social production of habitat serves as a model for people and communities to claim and realize adequate housing as a human right. Their practical solidarity to realize a shared vision of a better life is wholly consistent with the norms of human rights law as developed. Human Rights are organic to social production of habitat not only because of the international guarantees for self-determination of peoples, the right to participation, freedom of expression and the right to adequate housing Development of our human civilization requires respect, protection and fulfillment of the bundle of all human rights, and development as a human right is derived from the combination of all these.

 While self-motivation is a common feature of the experiences presented here, government authorities and other duty holders bear an active or passive role to play in enabling (or impeding) social production. Quite naturally, each human right that the SPH process touches also carries with it corresponding obligations of the State under binding human rights treaties. While this aspect of the social production formula is elaborated in detail in the HLRN Housing and Land Rights “Toolkit, it is summarized here in specific connection to provide legal specificity that applies to the roles and responsibilities of State actors and inhabitants.

 7. HIC and HLRN have collected a variety of community self-development cases from all regions of the world through its global SPH Project. As these dossiers become available, we will post them in the SPH Case Database

 8. The site also allows you to Present Your Case by providing you with a questionnaire designed to be consistent with the other case studies found here for your reference. You can record and include your experience on this site by following the methodology and submitted the completed questionnaire electronically for others to appreciate and learn from.

 By using this site and presenting your social production of habitat case, you will be promoting social production of habitat with Habitat International Coalition and its Housing and Land Rights Network. This final section contains information on HIC and HIC-HLRN efforts and plans to promote social production of habitat as an alternative to persistent exclusion, marginalization and vilification of popular initiatives. It records joint actions with other partners, and provides examples and guides for further efforts to promote social production of habitat as practical, effective and legitimate modes of human-settlement production that the States and governments are bound by law to support. The cases also provide success stories and guides for communities and authorities both to succeed in advancing their country’s development process.

. under the SPH Experiences section. There you will find the diverse people’s processes presented by geographical region and by the strategies/techniques used in each case.”

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