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Despite four decades of development planning, at least one third of the urban population of Africa, Asia and Latin America remain poor. Over 600 million live in "life and health threatening" homes and neighbourhoods because of poor housing and inadequate or no piped water, sanitation and health care. But as the shortcomings of governments and development programmes become more apparent, the untapped abilities of low-income groups and their community organizations to develop their own solutions are increasingly recognized. This book analyses the conditions necessary for successful community initiatives and includes 18 case studies of intermediary institutions (most of them Third World NGOs) who provide technical, legal and financial services to low-income households for constructing or improving housing. Many also work with community organizations in improving water, sanitation, drainage, health care and other community services.

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