What is informal housing?

By informal housing we refer to those residential settlements that are usually developed on the outskirts of urban or rural settlements, where the lands are legally or illegally occupied and buildings are unauthorized or respect the building permits only partially. The dwellings to be found in these situations are sometimes rudimentary shelters built of reused or poor quality materials. Access to basic utilities and roads is reduced or even absent. In many cases, such settlements are located in risk areas. Accessing national or European funds is a real challenge in the context in which Romanian national legislation does not refer to informal housing. Because of this, authorities can not invest in running water, sewerage or electricity in these communities. This is a description of a general situation. Informal housing and informal settlements are diverse, presenting all of the aspects above or only some of them. But what they all have in common is that they endanger the safety and health of resident population. Informal housing is an expanding phenomenon that affects large scale communities around the world.

For more information on the phenomenon of informal housing and how it manifests in Romania, we recommend the Research Report on Informal Housing in Romania

In global context

Informal housing is a large scale phenomenon that affects communities around the world. In the context of radical changes in political, economic and social systems, more and more settlements in the former socialist space have expanded as informal settlements.
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In România

In Romania there are at least 64,000 families, respectively over 200,000 Romanian citizens living in informal settlements, on the outskirts of villages and cities.
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