The 2009 YP Workshop Theme:
“Wat-San in Social Housing: Improving Access to Water Supply and Sanitation for Urban Poor Communities”
Water and sanitation are basic requirements to a healthy and dignified living. Yet worldwide, around 900 million people still rely on unimproved drinking-water supplies and 2.5 billion people still remain without improved sanitation facilities (WHO-UNICEF). It is typically urban poor areas and informal settlements that have the most unreliable access to water and sanitation (wat-san) services. Addressing the lack of access to wat-san services also addresses a host of concerns related to health, education, gender equality, economic productivity, and disaster management. For the poor, adequate and safe water supplies mean direct health benefits and time saved which they can use to study or for productive activities to earn more (especially for women). Hygienic sanitation also protects them from health risks and exposure to environmental hazards since many of the areas where the poor live are vulnerable to floods and contamination from polluted water.
Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities are issues that have always emerged in the YP Workshops’ community consultations since we started the training program in 2005. Constantly identified as a problem area in social housing projects, the lack of wat-san services keep these communities, even with the provision of core housing units, blighted and unsustainable. How can designers successfully integrate wat-san issues in social housing? What low-cost design interventions can be applied to improve access to wat-san services in urban poor communities? What existing community resources can be tapped to prevent negative environmental and health impacts arising from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions? These are just some of the questions participants will try to address as we focus on wat-san issues for this year’s YP Orientation Workshop on Social Housing. The YP Workshop aims to provide a learning opportunity for young architects, engineers, and planners and explore sustainable solutions through participatory, bottom-up approaches and direct community interaction.
The 2009 YP Workshop Objectives:
- Orient young design professionals and students on social housing through training activities that will enable better appreciation of the concerns/issues affecting the urban poor;
- Provide a venue for discussion among experts, young design professionals/ students and urban poor community representatives on water and sanitation issues as they relate to social housing;
- Encourage the involvement of young design professionals/students in community development work through immersion, direct interaction, and the opportunity to implement a small community project after the workshop; and
- Provide participating communities with options to address community problems that require technical assistance through a collaborative partnership with young professionals in implementing a small community project.