Laying the Foundation for Green and Resilient Affordable Housing in Bhutan

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CDIA has proposed a set of targeted capacity building activities that will lay the groundwork for the design and implementation of Tranche 2 of the Green and Resilient Affordable Housing Sector Project (GRAHSP) in Bhutan with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Bhutan has the third highest urban population growth rate in South Asia and the increase is largely due to intensive rural-urban migration that is putting pressure on the housing sector.

Housing affordability is identified in the National Housing Policy as one of the key priorities of the Bhutanese government; yet, there are only a few actors that are engaged in affordable housing construction. Also, the program of the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), which is the sole provider of affordable housing in the country, is directed toward civil servants for now.

With the need to expand affordable housing, CDIA is providing an advisory and capacity building support to NHDCL, as well as the cities of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Samtse, and Mongar to enable them to deliver affordable housing services for their residents to improve their living conditions.

“With the country prone to natural hazards like landslides and earthquakes, it is equally important that the green and resilient aspects are fully integrated in their affordable housing program,” said Kathleen Jovellanos, Capacity Development Specialist in charge of the project.

Halfway through the advisory support, CDIA has developed a capacity development roadmap that sets out a diverse spectrum of training activities to be conducted in the short-, medium-, and long-term horizons. It aims toward effective participation of all relevant stakeholders in delivering green and resilient affordable housing services in Bhutan.

“The training activities were based on observations and findings from field visits by CDIA’s team of consultants in the four cities and the training needs assessments conducted among project stakeholders,” said Kathleen.

Following the development of the roadmap, CDIA is expected to deliver the short-term activities. The latter will address the most pressing demands expressed by project stakeholders and provide solid theoretical and practical perspectives on affordable and resilient housing development at the outset.

To maximize learning and elicit the active involvement of all target participants, the lectures and workshops will be conducted in-person, covering the following topics: 1) urban planning; 2) affordable housing needs, demand and supply; 3) affordability considerations and arrangements; 4) affordable housing design with green components; 5) communication and social aspects; 6) financial and data management; and (7) hands-on training on relevant topics.

CDIA will incorporate best international practices, but which will be adapted to the local context to ensure as much practical understanding and application as possible.

Meanwhile, the medium-term capacity development activities will focus on more technical modules such as affordable housing design and green components and other hands-on training activities. These are targeted for implementation in mid-2024. Finally, the long-term training activities will seek to provide continuous education and training to relevant stakeholders and are expected to take place past 2025.

The series of training activities will be kicked off in April 2023 in three geographic poles: Thimphu in the west of Bhutan, Samtse and Phuentsholing in the south, and Mongar in the east.

Apart from preparing the capacity development roadmap, CDIA also examined Bhutan’s regulatory, financing, policy, and institutional issues hindering affordable housing development, as well as the affordable housing needs and demand in each of the four cities covered by the project. The findings of the assessments will be fed into the planning and design of the green and resilient affordable housing program.


Related story: Building Knowledge and Capacity for Managing Green, Resilient, and Affordable Housing

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