Reading: Farming Systems and Poverty


Building on the discussion in Chapter 1 of the global trends influencing farming system evolution, this section provides an overview of common trends affecting
most farming systems in the region. These are discussed under the headings of population, hunger and poverty; natural resources and climate; science and technology; trade liberalisation and market development; policies, institutions and public goods; and information and human capital.
Population, hunger and poverty
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by 78 percent in the coming three decades. This is considerably faster than the projected growth rate for developing countries as a whole. During this 30 year period, the rural population is projected to increase by 30 percent, and the agricultural component is expected to expand by a slightly lower proportion, moderated by growing urbanisation. Urban population – currently 33 percent – is expected to rise to 50 percent of the overall total by 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is unique in that rapid urbanisation has been occurring during a period of economic contraction. HIV/AIDS has already depressed population growth rates in many East and Southern African countries and is causing immense suffering; infection rates are already rising in West Africa. If HIV spreads faster than expected, East and Southern Africa could experience an extremely sharp contraction of the labour force in the prime working age group (although with the exception of South Africa Urban and peri-urban agriculture are often referred to collectively. Whilst urban agriculture refers to production inside city (including suburban) limits, there are many definitions of the outer boundary of peri-urban agriculture. In this book, farmers outside the boundaries of cities and towns are included in the corresponding farming system.

See United Nations Population Division (2000) for an analysis of the demographic impact of AIDS.

net populations growth will continue), a corresponding rise in dependency ratios, and an increase in the number of AIDS orphans requiring assistance. Already, traditional social safety nets are unable to cope with the existing orphans. The cost to the economy – in loss of productive labour, medical costs and orphan support – is likely to be overwhelming. Up to the present time, the farming systems most affected have been the Highland Perennial and the Maize Mixed Systems, but the Large-scale Commercial and Smallholder System has also lost much of its skilled supervisory labour force. Because labour requirements for cassava are more evenly spread throughout the year than they are for cereals, farmers try to cope by expanding the area under cassava and reducing the area under cereals. In the Highland Perennial System, neglect of coffee and bananas is partly due to AIDSrelated labour shortages. Moreover, HIV/AIDS is adversely affecting government staff and private agricultural service providers. Staff turnover is so high that much of the investment in human capacity building by agricultural projects, including overseas training, may have been wasted. During the past 30 years the number of undernourished people in the region has increased substantially, to an estimated 180 million people in 1995-1997. During 1995-1997, the average daily Sub-Saharan African diet contained 2 188 kcal/person/ day compared with 2 626 in developing countries as a whole. It is estimated that 33 percent of the regional population was undernourished at this time, with a higher incidence of undernourishment found in rural areas than among urban dwellers. During the period until 2030, the average energy intake is projected to increase by 18 percent to 2 580 kcal/person/day. In spite of the increased calorie supply, it is estimated that around 15 percent of the population (about 165 million people) will still be undernourished – an increase in the absolute number – unless
deliberate measures are taken to ensure better access to food. The region has a higher proportion of people living in dollar poverty than any other region of the world. Across the whole region, rural poverty still accounts for 90 percent of total poverty and approximately 80 percent of the poor still depend on agriculture or farm labour for their livelihood. Of even more concern, the total number of poor people is increasing.

Natural resources and climate
Currently, forest covers approximately 400 million ha (almost 17 percent of land area). The current annual deforestation rate is 0.7 percent and the decline in forest area is expected to continue. The farming systems that are most closely linked with deforestation are: the Forest Based System; the Tree Crop System; the Root Crop System; and the Cereal-Root Crop Mixed System. Currently, the Maize Mixed, the Highland Perennial and the Highland Temperate Mixed Systems are experiencing particularly acute fuelwood shortages. Cultivated area has expanded from 123 million ha in 1961-1963 to 173 million ha (including annually cultivated land and permanent crops) in 1999. This represents a slow annual expansion of 0.73 percent mostly through conversion of forest and S U B – S A H A R A N A F R I C A grasslands and shortening of fallows. During the period until 2030, cultivated land is projected to expand even more slowly, but the actual rate of expansion will depend upon the future evolution of farming systems. The area affected by land degradation is increasing and the causes are complex. There are many aspects of land degradation; including soil erosion, soil compaction, reduced soil organic matter, declining soil fertility and soil biodiversity. Although land degradation is evident in a majority of farming systems, it is particularly notable in those such as the Highland Perennial and the Highland Temperate Systems where – in the absence of policy incentives for good land management – high population density places excessive pressure on land. The region has a moderate level of renewable water resources, but only two percent of the available resources are currently utilised for irrigation compared with 20 percent in the overall group of developing countries. Only 6.5 million ha are currently irrigated and during the period until 2030, projections suggest a slower expansion than the 2.1 percent per annum achieved during the past four decades.
As global warming accelerates the most affected farming systems are likely to be those in the arid, semiarid and dry subhumid areas18. The increasing frequency and severity of droughts are likely to cause: crop failure; high and rising cereal prices; low and falling livestock prices; distress sale of animals; decapitalisation, impoverishment, hunger, and eventually famine. Households will probably try to cope with their cash and food shortage by cutting and selling firewood – thereby exacerbating land degradation and accelerating the onset of desertification – and by moving temporarily or permanently to more favoured areas. Conflicts between sedentary farmers and pastoralists will become more common as a result. The Forest Based System, on the other hand, might benefit from reduction of excess moisture, but it is likely to face a population influx from neighbouring areas. The new settlers will cut and clear the forest to plant their crops – which might reduce beneficial effects of carbon sequestration by tropical forests. With increased population pressure, fallow periods would decline, making it progressively more difficult for farmers to maintain soil fertility and to control noxious weeds. Not only could yields fall, but biodiversity could also suffer.

Works Cited:


Reading: The cut-flower industry in Tanzania

“Tanzania, like many other developing countries, is attempting to diversify its export base with a view to gaining new sources of income and foreign exchange and thus reducing its exposure to price volatility that typify international markets. A handful of non-traditional products such as oilseeds and oil, spices, fruits, vegetables and cocoa beans – which are almost invariably traded unprocessed – are beginning to contribute to total exports. Tanzania is strategically located between 1° and 12° south of the equator, thus commanding an enviable tropical climate to accommodate the production of a wide range of fruits, vegetables, spices, and flowers, both tropical and temperate. Some of the crops can be produced throughout the year and the majority are highly seasonal, consumed at farm level with a potential for local and export markets.”

“Flower-growing in Tanzania is a new activity practised in the northern zone, mainly in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions where the climate is favourable and an export gateway available through Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). Being an agricultural activity, flower growing has the advantage of being a natural adjunct to more traditional exports, while the availability of ready markets in developed countries provides powerful financial incentives.”

cultivation of cut flower/foliage such as Carnations, Euphorbia and Ami Majus”

The location of all the surveyed farms in Arusha region owes itself to the region’s favourable climatic conditions and to the proximity of the Kilimanjaro and Jomo Kenyatta international airports.”

Table 1. Flower production, 1994-98 (millions stems)

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Roses 97.5 104.4 148.1 199.7 256.4
Lisianthus 0.7 1.1 2.0 2.0 2.4
Chrysanthemums 19.4 63.0
Total 98.2 105.4 150.0 221.1 321.8

“Drip irrigation is the system most commonly used, being the most efficient available. Six farms used drip irrigation while the remaining two used overhead sprinklers. The sources of water are boreholes, springs and rivers such as Usa and Nduruma.”

Table 8. Investment costs (average in %)

Land 17.7
Infrastructure 2.6
Greenhouses 49.3
Irrigation systems 1.6
Packing shed 1.1
Cold storage 4.0
Machinery 7.8
Trucks 2.4
Office equipment 0.3
Housing 0.8
Planting material 12.3
Total 100.0
Source: Field Survey 1999.

Only 26 per cent of the total costs involved in flower production for the past five years were investment costs. This is because most of the items in this category are fixed costs, e.g. land and the infrastructure were investment costs. Greenhouse construction is the costliest investment, accounting for 50 per cent of the total, mostly because construction materials have to be imported. Land accounts for 17 per cent of the total costs followed by planting materials (12.3 per cent). Office equipment costs are the lowest (0.3 per cent). This is due to the fact that most farms maintain small offices without much equipment.

Works Cited:

“WP.152 The Cut-flower Industry in Tanzania – Sectoral Activities.” International Labour Organization. Mar. 2000. Web. 01 Apr. 2011. <;.

The African landscape is more vast than the diversity of its peoples, languages and cultures. Native plants of Africa traverse tropical, savanna, desert and high-mountain subarctic regions, and the abundance of plants in the tropical rain forest regions of Africa plays an important role in the amount of oxygen available in the world’s atmosphere. There are many native plant species of Africa used around the world for their decorative beauty, food and non-edible products.

African Violet

A delicate flowering plant that has graced many homes around the world, the African violet (Saintpaulia varieties) is native to the Nguru Mountains area in the central East African country of Tanzania. The African violet’s blossoms bear a close resemblance to violet flowers, varying in colors ranging from white to purple. Its leaves have fine, furry surfaces and round or oval shapes.


The common names of this plant, which belongs to the same family as cotton, hibiscus and cocoa, include lady fingers, gumbo, quingumbo, bamyah, kopi arab and bhindi. Okra plants (Abelmoschus esculentus) are both annual and perennial depending on the variety, and they produce flowers that greatly resemble white hibiscus flowers prior to their fruit-bearing phase. The edible okra pods and leaves are prepared in a variety of vegetable and meat dishes around the world. Its seeds are also roasted and prepared as a coffee substitute.


Native to the Sudan and cultivated in tropical areas around the world, tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) is a tree that bears sweet and sour fruits that tantalize the taste buds of those who like a natural yet tasty kick. The tamarind tree grows to heights of 100 feet, bearing evergreen leaves and brown elongated fruit pods. Inside each pod is a collection of brown, shiny seeds covered in a tangy, edible fruit pulp eaten raw or used in chutneys and culinary recipes.


Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus) is native to the central and southern countries of Africa. Also known as African Horned Cucumber, Hedged Gourd and Horned Melon, Kiwano is a vine of the melon family that produces fruit with a spiked appearance. Although Kiwano is cultivated and exported for its decorative appearance, the fruit itself is long-lasting and very nutritious.

Bermuda Grass

Although its namesake comes from the Bermuda Island, Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is native to Africa. It grows in dense, creeping clusters close to the ground, producing deep root systems that make the grass highly drought-tolerant. Some other names of Bermuda grass include wire grass, dogtooth grass and couch grass.

Reading: Indigenous Vegetables in Tanzania, Significance and Prospects

African indigenous vegetables play a highly significant role in food security of the underprivileged in both urban and rural settings (Schippers, 1997). They can serve as primary foods or secondary condiments to dishes prepared from domesticated varieties. They are also valuable sources of energy and micronutrients in the diets of isolated communities (Grivetti and Ogle, 2000). Further, they may serve as income sources and may be marketed or traded locally, regionally, even internationally, and the primary importance of edible wild species during periods of drought and or social unrest or war is well documented (Humphry et al., 1993, Smith et al., 1995, Smith et al., 1996). However, the important role of African indigenous vegetables in Tanzania’s health sector, diets and as an income source is threatened through extinction of the genetic resources of these species. Many landraces of vegetables are in the process of being replaced by modern varieties (FAO, 1998). (Weinberger and Myusa, pg. 11)

Of the three target vegetables, amaranth had the highest Fe contents (up to 37.05 mg per 100 g of edible portion) followed by African nightshade (up to 15.90 mg)(Table 3.1). The African eggplant has the lowest contents of Fe (being as low as 2 mg per 100 g of the edible portion). (Weinberger and Myusa, pg. 18)

Although many health and nutrition workers in Tanzania have paid much attention on promoting consumption of ‘imported’ vegetables such as spinach, when it comes to using a food-based approach for combating dietary anemia, they may need to rethink and focus more on some of these indigenous vegetables. For example, while the iron contents of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) found in most parts of Africa is known to be 1.7 mg per 100 g edible portion (FAO, 2004), the values observed in this study for amaranth and nightshade are as high as 37 mg. Other noted good sources of iron include spiderflower plant and hairy lettuce (up to about 50 mg per 100 g of edible portion). (Weinberger and Myusa, pg. 23)


Plants Commonly grown in household gardens:

Pumpkin leaves
Sweet potato leaves
Cowpea leaves
African eggplant
Ethiopian mustard
Cassava leaves
Wild cucumber
Spiderflower plant


Share of households engaged in cultivation of IVs in home gardens (urban areas)
City          Amaranth               Nightshade               African eggplant                    Grows IV
Arusha       45.5                            45.5                                  36.4                                         52.9

various IVs (top 10)

Jute mallow
Spider plant
Wild cucumber
Hairy lettuce
Pumpkin leaves
Cowpea leaves
Black jack
Sweet potato leaves
Cassava leaves

Buying IV crops is much more important during the dry season, when approximately two-thirds of all households purchase IV crops at the market. During the rainy season hardly any household buys IV crops since vegetables are either found and collected outside the homestead or produced in home gardens during that period. In Kongwa and Singida one-third of households never buy IV on the market (Table 4.9). The crops most frequently purchased on the market, listed in order, are amaranth (67% of all households), okra (37%), African eggplant (33%), nightshade (25%) and sweet potato leaves (23%). Amaranth is by far the most popular crop to be purchased on markets, and this is true for all districts (Table 4.10). Exotic vegetables are more often purchased at the market than IV crops, which are more often produced at home (Weinberger and Myusa, pg. 32)

Table 4.11. Source of vegetables consumed
Exotic vegetables                      Indigenous vegetables               Total
Source               (N)            (%)                            (N)                 (%)                                   (%)
Purchased     661           65.4                            86                22.1                                  53.4
Produced       331           32.8                          232               59.6                                  40.2
Collected            0                 0                             67                17.2                                    4.8
Gift                      18              1.8                             4                    1.0                                      1.6
Total                1010        100.0                       389               100.0                              100.0


Question                                                        Arumeru                    Kongwa                  Singida               Muheza                   Avg
Do you offer IVs when visitors                 93.0                           85.8                          85.7                      95.3                     89.8
come to your home?
Do you consume IVs at special                36.6                               39.6                       37.8                        61.3                     44.6
Are IVs an important contri-                    94.4                               94.3                       90.8                       93.4                     93.2
bution to the diet when
there is food shortage?
Do adult males in your house-                95.8                                 87.7                      93.9                        96.2                     93.2
hold eat IVs?
Generally, do your children                   100.0                              93.3                        96.9                         96.2                    96.3
like eating IVs?
Are you teaching your children             84.5                                 80.0                      91.8                          88.7                    86.3
how to prepare IVs?
Is it important to be able to                      93.0                                97.2                       83.7                         84.0                    89.2
identify IVs?
Are fewer varieties of IVs to                    56.3                                 35.8                       64.3                          22.6                     43.3
be found nowadays than
20-30 years back?
Note: Figure represents the share of respondents who answered “yes”. Source: Survey conducted by AVRDC in cooperation with HORTI-TENGERU, 2003. N = 359 households


Table 5.6. Number of harvests per crop
Vegetable                      Mean                       Maximum                N
Sweet potato                30.7                              180                      12
Okra                                 21.3                                90                        51
African eggplant          15.0                               48                        21
Pumpkin                          12.6                                32                       18
Amaranth                         9.7                                60                       56
Nightshade                      5.3                                 40                       39
Cowpea                              5.3                                 50                       91
Ethiopian mustard        4.5                                 21                        13
Wild cucumber               4.2                                  9                            5
Jute mallow                     2.0                                  2                            1
Total                                  10.8                              180                        307
Source: Survey conducted by AVRDC in cooperation with HORTI-TENGERU, 2003. N = 307 plots


Labor distribution in IV production (family labor)
Men &                                                Women &
Activity                                          Men                      Women               women              Children                  children                       Family
Nursery bed/ sowing                109                         57                          77                         3                                 5                                    10
Land preparation                       142                          36                           98                         2                                 8                                    18
Harrowing                                       59                           11                           29                         0                                 3                                     2
Transplanting                                34                            17                          44                         1                                 6                                     16
Seed broadcasting                        11                             9                              6                         0                                 2                                       3
Weeding                                           85                             55                         127                       5                                12                                   32
Mulching                                          1                                0                               1                        0                                  0                                      0
Fertilizer application                 36                              13                             6                        0                                  0                                      2
Manure application                    49                              32                           39                       2                                  6                                     13
Pesticide application                 71                               3                                1                       0                                  0                                       0
Irrigation                                       121                             33                             18                      2                                 12                                      7
Harvest                                             51                            179                           43                      4                                  13                                   16
Transport to market                    27                             39                             8                        0                                   0                                      1
Total                                                   796                          484                          497                  19                                67                                   120
Source: Survey conducted by AVRDC in cooperation with HORTI-TENGERU, 2003. N = 220 plots


Positive traits identified by farmers
Vegetable Production Consumption

Early maturity Short cooking time
Long production cycle Good taste
Repeated harvesting Micronutrient content
Little input required Low water content
High yield (large leaves) Can be dried
Low susceptibility

Vegetable cowpea

Early maturity Short cooking time
Long production cycle Good taste
Repeated harvesting
Grows in low fertility soils
High yield (large pods)

Early maturity Short cooking time
Long production cycle No spines/ hairs
Repeated harvesting Avg mucilaginous material
High yield (large fruit)
Jute mallow

Early maturing Short cooking time
Long production cycle Soft
High yield Good taste
Rain tolerant Storage
African nightshade

Early maturity Short cooking time
Long production cycle Nutritious
Easy harvesting
Little input required
Low susceptibility
African eggplant

Early maturity Good taste
Long production cycle
High yield (large fruits)
Low susceptibility
Source: compiled from various tables in Keller, 2004.

Indigenous vegetables are important both for consumption and production, and in both cases, poor households rely more on these vegetables than more wealthy households. However, in comparison to older literature, the importance of IVs for consumption appears to have declined over the years. For poor households, the value of IV consumption is approximately 11% of the value of all food consumption, compared to 2% for the wealthiest households. Indigenous vegetables contribute significantly to the consumption of micronutrients, particularly of poor households, where approximately half of vitamin A and one-third of iron requirements are consumed through IVs.
Approximately 40% of farmers who cultivate small plots of land are engaged in the cultivation of IVs, while only 25% of relatively largescale farmers are engaged in the cultivation of IVs. The share of both marketed and non-marketed indigenous vegetables in total household income is, on average, nearly 13%. Indigenous vegetables thus contribute significantly to overall household incomes. It would be wrong to believe, though, that IVs are a purely subsistence crop. Several IVs are highly commercialized, and some of them can nowadays be found in supermarkets and convenience stores. Thus it appears that there is a good market potential for these crops, both in the high-price segment, as well as in the low-price segment.

A willingness-to-pay analysis among urban consumers indicated there is considerable scope for price increases. On average, consumers were willing to pay an additional 34% for amaranth to 23% for African eggplant. Commercial seed companies are also recognizing this potential and are entering—albeit cautiously—the market of IV crop seeds. (Weinberger and Myusa, pg. 64)


Works Cited:

Weinberger, Katinka, and John Msuya. “Indigenous Vegetables in Tanzania, Significance and Prospects.” (2004). The World Vegetable Center. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <;.

Reading: Boutin’s review on Roger Riewe

“The simple is not simply simple. Roger Riewe.”

“The architecture of Riegler Riewe is strategically positioned in contemporary practice between a modernist exclusivity and a post-modern inclusivity. The advocacy of concepts that are limited to the essential, the economical, and the realizable, while defining function as the point of departure in the projection of minimal forms, reflects modernist sensibilities.” (Boutin)

“These concerns contrast sharply with Riegler Riewe’s insistence on elevating process over product in an effort to deny the consumption of the building, a specifically postmodern intention that was well represented in the work of Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi amongst others.” (Boutin)

“It is a redefinition that shifts an objective, exclusive, and defined paradigm, to an open-ended, evocative and inclusive paradigm – the creation of an architecture of conditioned openness. Where function implied the definition of an empirical purpose, utilization suggests a broader palette of occupation, an understanding that a building frames not only the performance of specific functions, but the manner in which the totality of human life unfolds in these endeavours. It is the unpredictability of this unfolding and its evolution over time that Riegler Riewe address through the generosity of a spatial freedom facilitated by minimum means” (Boutin).

“In explaining the relationship between use, abstraction and form, Riewe states: “…we are interested in the display of utilization– in an open structure, which inevitably results in an abstraction of spatial and organizational dispositions.”[2] In this way, utilization as content, interpreted through abstraction, becomes the means to spatial fluidity and flexibility, dictating not a precise function, but a framing of the present and future potentials of that architecture” (Boutin).

“Here, as in the other examples of postmodern practice, the intentions of the architecture is to construct, in this case, constructing place through the careful definition of particular relationships between site and artefact. The central argument in Riewe’s theory of place to space is the provision of not a single and idealized conception of place defined by the architect, but of numerous and different potentials of place, defined by its occupation and the forces already present in the site” (Boutin).

“ARR’s strategy is of a non-prescription of space and form that allows the inhabitants to take possession of their building, initiating a process of continual evolution between architecture and user” (Boutin).

“Riewe insists that the development of the construction details and the selection of materials are the extension of the same design process. Specifically, he recognizes that the exploration into the details must commence during the analysis of the utilization, imbuing the design of the detail with the same conceptual questioning, thereby “…integrating it into the context of the task to be solved” (Boutin).

“That these new relationships between the building occupant and their architecture create an initial level of friction is confessed by Riewe. However, he also suggests that: “A phase of irritation due to abstraction can well lead to a strong identification with the project.” (Boutin)


Works Cited:

Boutin, Marc. “Insitu: Review.” Home | University of Calgary. Web. 03 Jan. 2011. <;.

Reading: Heidegger’s “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”

“… when to dwell means merely that we take shelter in them” (Heidegger 100)

“What, then, does Bauen building, mean? The Old English and High German word for building, buan means to dwell. This signifies; to remain, to stay in place. The real meaning of the verb, bauen, namely, to dwell, has been lost to us” (Heidegger 100).

“When we speak of dwelling we usually think of an activity that man performs alongside many other activities. We work here and dwell there. We do not merely dwell – that would be virtual inactivity” (Heidegger 100).

“The old word bauen says that man is insofar as he dwells, this word bauen however also means at the same time to cherish and protect, to preserve and care for, specifically to till the soil,, to cultivate the vine. Such building only takes care – it tends the growth that ripens into its fruit of its own accord” (Heidegger 101).

“Here building, in contrast with cultivating,is a constructing. Both modes of building – building as cultivating, Latin colere, cultura, and building, that is dwelling as the raising up of edifices, aedifiare – are comprised within genuine building, that is, dwelling” (Heidegger 101).

“1) Building is really dwelling. 2) Dwelling is the manner in which mortals are on the earth. 3) Building as dwelling unfolds into the building that cultivates growing things and the building that erects buildings” (Heidegger 102).

“Gathering or assembly, by an ancient word of our language, is called ‘thing’. The bridge is a thing – and indeed, it is such as the gathering of the fourfold” (Heidegger 104).

“Things which, as locations, allow a site we now in anticipation call buildings. They are also called because they are made by a process of building construction. Of what sort this making – building – must be, however, we find out only after we have first given thought to the nature of those things which of themselves require building as the process by which they are made. These things are locations that allow a site for the fourfold, a site that in each case provides space” (Heidegger 105).

“Yet space is not something that faces man. It is neither an external object nor an inner experience” (Heidegger 106).

“Building puts up locations that make space and a site for the fourfold. From the simple oneness in which earth and sky, divinities and mortals belong together, building receives the directive for its erecting of locations” (Heidegger 107).

“For his cultivates the growing things of the earth and takes care of his increase. Cultivating and caring are a kind of building. But man not only cultivates what produces growth out of itself; he also builds in the sense of aedificare, by erecting things that cannot come into being and subsist by growing. Things that are built in this sense include not only buildings but all the works made by man’s hands and through his arrangements” (Heidegger 112).

“Building in the sense of the farmer’s cultivation of growing things, and of erecting edifices and works and the production of tools, is already a consequence of the nature of dwelling, but it is not its ground, let alone its grounding. This grounding must take place in a different building” (Heidegger 112).



Works Cited:

Heidegger, Martin. Building, Dwelling, Thinking. 2000. 100-124. Print.

Reading: Turner’s “Housing by People: towards Autonomy in Building Environments”

“This confusion and consequent error can only be avoided by recognizing the different meanings of ‘housing’ and ‘value’ and by using them properly. Market values are, of course, different from human values” (Turner 64).

“In English the word ‘housing’ means both the stock of swelling units (a noun) and the process by which that stock is created and maintained (a verb)” (Turner 64).

“Housing must, therefore, be used as a verb rather than as a noun- as a process that subsumes products. Real values are those that lie in the relationships between the elements of housing action – between the actors, their activities and their achievements” (Turner 66).

“Quantitative methods cannot describe the relationships between things, people and nature – which is just where experience and human values lie. They may be essential for determining resource allocation, and as aids in identifying complex systems and their components, but quantitative methods can only indicate, not measure, non-quantifiable components – the human realities of housing” (Turner 66).

“as a subsystem of the large system or systems of which it can been seen as a part. Any subject matter of value must have three elements: people, the things they do, and the relationships between the two. Or, as Geddes expressed it: organism – function – environment (where function is the relationship and oth organism and environment are acting on each other). In the simplist useful terms, any specific housing process can be described as the interaction of the people (or actors) and their products (or achievements) through the medium of their roles and responsibilities (or activities)” (Turner 70).

Works Cited

Turner, John F. C. “Chapter 3.” Housing by People: towards Autonomy in Building Environments. New York: Pantheon, 1977. 53-77. Print.

Reading: Habraken’s “Supports: an Alternative to Mass Housing”

” to build is first and foremost serve, and therefore is principally concerned with the humanitarian side of the problem” (Habraken, 3)

“We can only talk about a housing problem when all the difficulties connected with living and building slot together. That is, when one problem causes another, or the solution of one problem depends on that of all the others” (Habraken 6).

“In short, those who are concerned with housing feel largely powerless to produce more and better results because action in their own field either appears to be insufficient or presupposes interrelated action on the part of many others…. The way in which it fits in with the others is what requires our attention.” (Habraken 7).

“Forces by themselves of course are neither destructive nor constructive nor constructive: their effect lies in the direction in which their operate” (Habraken 12).

“If we investigate the nature of the influence which the inhabitant can exercise, it will soon appear that it is not negligible, for because it arises from the everyday actions of people it is closely connected with essential human activities” (Habraken 12).

“These activities of the individual turn out to be the undesirable interference which mass housing has made them out to be, but are on the contrary so natural and self-evident, so simple and everyday, that it seems superfluous to mention them. At the same time they are so interwoven with human happiness and human dignity that they are far more than merely an influence in the housing process” (Habraken 12).

“It may be that the individual will be asked to make certain sacrifice to enable society as a whole to fulfill its housing task” Kabraken 12).

“But there are totally different requirements to be fulfilled in the field of housing; requirements which do not ask for products, but which are themselves productive or creative” (Habraken 14).

“… for civilization is first and foremost rooted in everyday actions of ordinary people going about their business. The material forms in which civilization is expressed result in the first place from these simple daily tasks” (Habraken 15).

“We imagine that, to produce, no matter how, or why, or by whom, means ‘civilization,’ whereas on the contrary civilization is concerned with the interaction between people and their activities in terms of each other and their environment. When these activities result in tangible forms, these are symbols of a civilization only by virtue of the manner in which they came about, which is reflected in their form” (Habraken 16).

“To possess something we have to take possession. We have to make it part of ourselves” (Habraken 18).

“The creation of a building is sometimes an artistic event, but ist is always an identification, and therefore it is of importance to us to note that this identification is closely connected with the urge to possess” (Habraken 20).

“And yet no two things are further apart than the dwelling and the machine. For the purpose of the machine is to perform certain actions for us, while the dwelling should enable us to perform certain actions ourselves. We live in it, a great part of our lives is ‘performed’ in it” (Habraken 24).

“These two notions cannot be separated, but together comprise the notion of man housing himself; dwelling is building. We are constantly faced with the results of the same relation between man and matter” (Habraken 25).


Works Cited:

Habraken, N. J. “Chapter One.” Supports: an Alternative to Mass Housing. New York: Praeger, 1972. Print.