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Doctoral thesis, 2020

Rethinking adequate housing for low-income women of the Global South : reflections on women initiated housing transformations to Masese Women Slum-Upgrading Housing Project, Jinja, Uganda

Elwidaa, Eiman


The global discourse on low-income housing promotes participation to provide slum dwellers of the Global South with adequate housing. Despite acknowledged women’s extra vulnerability to the substandard housing of slums, how their participation, or what design considerations support their housing adequacy, remains ambiguous. Case study methodology was used for the exploration of the research presented in this PhD thesis. Targeting women as its main beneficiaries, Masese Women Slum-Upgrading Housing Project (MWSUHP) was selected as the case for the research explorations at it represents the state of the art in providing adequate housing to women living in Ugandan slums. The research aims at describing, exploring and developing an understanding of the contribution of women’s participation in MWSUHP housing processes, as well as identifying design considerations to support their adequate housing provision. Empirical evidence was gathered using combined methods of documents and drawings analysis, walk-throughs, interviews and focus group discussions.

The research identified the domination of the colonial ideologies, men’s over representation, ad the gender blindness of the Ugandan low-income housing discourse. These factors contributed to the production of housing designs that promote gender stratification, segregation and subordination. The research results acknowledged Ugandan low-income women’s substantial design knowledge to their housing adequacy and highlights the importance of interpreting housing designs in gender-related terms. To attain housing adequacy to the Ugandan low-income women, the research advocates for; i) including low-income women in their housing design processes, ii) increase women’s representation in the Ugandan housing design discourses, iii) developing housing design ideologies that understand housing in gender related terms iv) developing housing designs that appreciate the Ugandan low-income women’s socio-cultural contexts and lifestyles, respond to their productive, reproductive and community integration roles v) embracing women’s intersectionality vi) considering flexibility, spontaneity, improvisation and incremental development in their housing designs.

This research contributes in filling the knowledge gap in the low-income housing discourse, with a focus on providing women living in the Ugandan slums with adequate housing.


low-income women; slums; housing transformations; adequate housing; gendered space; women triple-roles; women practical needs; women intersectionality

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2020, number: 2020:28
ISBN: 978-91-7760-574-4, eISBN: 978-91-7760-575-1
Publisher: Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Elwidaa, Eiman
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

UKÄ Subject classification

Human Geography
Gender Studies
Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)