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It’s Rural Housing Week so we’re highlighting five World Habitat Awards projects which have improved the lives of rural communities around the world.

1. Rent to Buy Scheme, United Kingdom (finalist 2015)

New houses are built and rented to families at below market rates in the remote highlands of Scotland. Part of this rent is retained by the scheme and made available as a lump sum that is used as a deposit to buy the house. Access to affordable homes helps families with a range of incomes and skills to remain in the local area, creating a diverse community.

2. Dissemination of Passive Solar Housing in the Cold Desert of the Indian Himalayas, India (finalist 2011)

Rural populations in the cold desert areas of the Indian Himalayas lives have been improved through the installation of Passive solar housing technologies. New homes and current properties are upgraded to be more energy efficient and families benefit from a warmer and healthier home.

3. ‘Caprichando a Morada’: Living well is part of human dignity, Brazil (winner 2009)

Small independent family farmers across Brazil are supported through this rural housing cooperative scheme. It makes housing a starting point for improved living standards and livelihoods. It is community-led and managed, and families take part in the building work with the help of trained masons.

4. Building and Construction Improvement Programme, Pakistan (winner 2006)

Low-income rural families in Pakistan are supported to develop and make affordable home improvement products. Local production keeps costs low and allows for independent local ownership of the programme. This was one of the first initiatives to address the indoor built environment by integrating social, economic and environmental sustainability.

5. Windy Hill Apartments, USA (finalist 2006)

A derelict housing complex was redeveloped into rented homes in a rural area of New York State. This provided affordable housing to 30 families, who had an income of less than 60% of average earnings. The re-use of an existing dilapidated building transformed a previously neglected area into a positive part of the local community.

Follow the hashtag #ruralhousing on Twitter for more on Rural Housing Week.

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