So far the elements that comprise housing standards have been considered separately. However, in order to give an overall view of the variations of housing standards within the occupied territories, some of the elements discussed have been assembled into a single housing index, which includes main building material, density of dwelling, external infrastructure and internal amenities. In this index building materials, household density and infrastructural facilities have been given more weight than the internal comfort and protection offered by the home. It should be stressed again, however, that the human density of the surrounding environment and certain municipal services, such as rubbish disposal and roads - both of which indirectly impact on housing standards and the general welfare of residents - are not included in the index.

Figure 3.7 General housing standards by type of locality

The results indicate that urban residents have better general housing standards than the rural population and that camp residents have the poorest housing standards of all. They also indicate, not surprisingly perhaps, that the worst housing standards are found in Gaza. However, the single most important factor that produces the poor score for the camps, towns and villages of Gaza in relation to their West Bank equivalents is the substandard building materials, particularly zinc and asbestos roofs, that are widely used. If the quality of building materials were not included in the measurement of general housing standards, West Bank villages would rank as badly as the Gaza camps and West Bank camps would emerge as the areas worst afflicted by unacceptable housing standards. In particular, the lack of a comprehensive sewage network, grid electricity, as well as generally poor internal amenities, combine to pull down general housing standards in the West Bank.


al@mashriq                       960715