Palestine’s Housing Challenge
Across Palestine, a dramatic mismatch between housing supply and demand makes it challenging for large segments of the population to purchase homes. Housing demand is estimated at approximately 15,000 units annually, but only around 6,000 construction permits are issued each year, leaving close to a 9,000-unit deficit. This imbalance has created overcrowding in urban areas throughout Palestine – the average number of people living in a house is 5.6, compared to Israel’s average of 3.4. Moreover, the available supply of affordable housing – defined as units priced at USD $40-60,000 – is scarce; surveys across indicate that average house prices are unaffordable to 70% of Palestinian households. In the rental market, residents earning less than US $900 per month spend almost half of their income on housing.
IN THE WEST BANK
Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, cannot accommodate the city’s growing population and overcrowding has become a significant concern: projections from international organization Global Communities indicate that 11,601 additional housing units are needed by 2023, and 14,233 by 2031.
A Focus on Green Housing
We believe that any comprehensive and sustainable solution to Palestine’s affordable housing shortage will need to address the need for housing and increased jobs, while utilizing an environmentally friendly approach. Urban areas in Palestine – along with the greater MENA region – are likely to be particularly affected by ongoing environmental deterioration and climate change, facing grave threats of desertification and water scarcity.
Initial research shows significant possibilities for Palestine by integrating new construction technologies and more rigorous urban planning to incorporate “green cities” that are linked with established urban centers. This concept has been successfully tested in other parts of the MENA region. Masdar City, launched in 2006 just outside of Abu Dhabi, operates carbon-neutral while serving as a home to 40,000 residents and a business hub for 50,000 employees. The city of Benguerir in Morocco is developing a new green city to the southeast of the current city center linked by a 4km “green belt” of 50,000 newly-planted trees.
OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
Building off in-depth research conducted by the Office of the Quartet, Shurook is exploring currently unused land plots ripe for development that can be linked to the city of Hebron, providing increased living space, additional economic opportunities, and clean reliable energy for residents.