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Climate-Smart Affordable Housing: A Route to Green Infrastructure in Cities

Donovan Storey



Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 6
Greener Urban Futures
NE 146


Meeting the housing needs of over 1.6 billion people, while supporting global climate goals, provides one of the most transformational opportunities in emerging markets today. This session provides evidence, through case studies, that green affordable housing does not have to be expensive or complicated. It highlights how cities can support the delivery of this infrastructure, without requiring a trade-off between shelter, resilience, and climate needs. For too long, affordable housing solutions have been underpinned by high carbon, low quality and energy inefficient approaches which have resulted in unhealthy and poor-quality outcomes. An estimated 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the built environment, and a systemic failure to address this paradigm is undermining long-term household and community resilience. As approximately 70% of buildings that will exist in Africa and Asia by 2050 are yet to be built, a critical opportunity exists to ensure that solutions to the housing crisis support – and do not undermine – the Paris Agreement and global sustainability goals. Addressing affordable housing has historically been driven by either unregulated and informal processes, or by public sector models. Both of these have failed to respond to people’s needs and expectations. More needs to be done to crowd in dynamic and creative builders and designers of future cities across Africa and Asia, and support them to go to scale. Affordable housing should be seen as vehicle for greater city-wide climate resilience and mitigation, providing a highly investible proposition, in which the private sector can play a key role. The session will outline how partnerships, linking global agendas, tools and investment to local action, has achieved tangible progress from which lessons can be drawn. Supportive and transformational platforms and materials developed through IFC EDGE and Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) are highlighted, demonstrating how they support private and public sector innovation and investment at the local level. Three case studies from the frontiers of green housing innovation, ModulusTech (Pakistan), Build X Studio (Kenya) and New Story (Mexico), will represent how to achieve scale and impact across emerging markets. Such innovations and investments have shown that an affordable, climate-smart and resilient urban future is possible and that, far from being a temporary measure, affordable and low-income housing solutions can contribute to urban and global Net Zero goals. In addressing future demand – estimated to be over 3 billion people by 2050 – it is no longer possible nor is it necessary to separate the agenda for SDG11 and the Paris Agreement. Finally, through interactive dialogue, this session will encourage shared learning and identify key actions to bring innovation to scale from those at the forefront of change.


  • Demonstrate that meeting affordable housing solutions which drive low carbon and resilient city outcomes is an investible proposition and opportunity
  • Share and explain key tools and mechanisms which are translating global agendas to specific actions, with a focus on IFC EDGE and GlobalABC
  • Learn from three examples from the global South, which demonstrate climate-smart housing innovation in practice.
  • Identify key impediments to scale (policy, finance, capacity and knowledge) and how market reticence can be overcome.

Session speakers

Mr. Ian Shapiro
Mr. Sean Khan
Programme Manager
Ms. Michelle Marie Farrell
Marketing and Business Development Lead EDGE Program
Ms. Etta Madete Mukuba
Architect & Affordable Housing Lead
BuildX Studio
Mr. Miran Saifi
Business Development & Strategy
Ms. Joanne Ng
Systems Portfolio & Partnerships Senior Manager
New Story
Mr. Ruben Werchan
Senior Policy Officer for Sustainable Urban Development
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)