City Interventions

Bhutan Green and Resilient Affordable Housing Advisory Project

Country: Bhutan
City: Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Samtse, Mongar

Key Stakeholders and PartnersNational Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), city governments, Asian Development Bank

CDIA SupportUS$ 500,000

Expected Downstream Financing$37 million (Asian Development Bank)

Infrastructure sectorsUrban Renewal

CDIA priority impact areasClimate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Environmental Improvement; Good Governance; Poverty Reduction

Key City Development Issues

Most towns in Bhutan are faced with rapid in-migration of population and urbanization resulting in housing shortages and inadequacy of basic infrastructure facilities and services. Housing affordability is another major urban issue, especially for low-income groups. Even the households in the upper-middle groups in larger towns are observed to face severe to moderate rent burdens. The towns of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Samtse, and Mongar identified for the Green and Affordable Housing Sector Project (GRAHSP) under ADB financing face housing challenges in terms of both availability and affordability. Any development in these towns will also have spillover benefits for the surrounding areas and regions.

Details of Cooperation

The Government of Bhutan, through the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) and ADB, requested CDIA for advisory and capacity development support that will build the knowledge and capacity of NHDCL, the agency responsible for public housing in Bhutan, and key city departments to achieve the Green and Resilient Affordable Housing Sector Project (GRAHSP) objectives.

CDIA supported NHDCL and the cities on climate- and disaster-resilient planning and the design of affordable housing units, as well as the conduct of a comprehensive review of housing regulations to facilitate improvements and leverage private sector support. It has also developed an institutional and capacity development roadmap to address the capacity needs and gaps that can hinder GRAHSP implementation. Out of this, it has organized bespoke training activities to better prepare project implementers. Furthermore, it has provided advisory support in crafting affordable housing models for the pilot cities of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Samtse, and Mongar. These models aim to address housing challenges and can be replicated in other cities in Bhutan.

Expected Development Impacts

The project will contribute to the delivery of affordable housing in selected settlements in Bhutan, thereby improving human settlements’ livability, safety, and sustainability. The project is anchored on Bhutan’s National Housing Policy 2020; and seeks to strengthen the institutional capacities, policies, and the regulatory framework of the housing sector in the country.

Download: Final Report      

Key City informationArea: 38,394 km2

Population: 780, 000 (est. in 2021)

The Kingdom of Bhutan is rapidly urbanizing. The share of the country’s urban population increased from 30.9% in 2005 to 37.8% in 2017 with an annual growth rate of 1.9%. Furthermore, it is projected to increase to 56.8% by 2047. In-migration flows exert additional pressures on urban infrastructure and housing with a corresponding negative impact on affordability.

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