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Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) is a broad coalition of grassroots community organizations, NGOs, architects and engineers currently working in 215 cities across Asia.

ACHR was established in 1988 in response to public evictions in South Korea before the Summer Olympics. The coalition’s philosophy is simple: decent housing is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, as Asian cities have seen explosive growth in the last few decades, large populations have been forcibly moved from city centers to make room for development. 

In its 25 years of operation, ACHR has expanded to include a variety of supportive activities on many scales. It supports small-scale upgrades and community improvements, as well as larger city-wide initiatives. The work of ACHR details the significant challenges faced as the human population becomes increasingly urban, and our cities transform overnight into megacities.

Currently, the ACHR coalition’s work has come to a new stage of scale and action: the ACCA Program, which brings together many of the elements the ACCA groups have developed over the years. The program allows people in a city to come together, think, look at their problems, and take action to fix them, using the simple tools the program offers. As this action by people grows in scale and strength around the Asia region, it becomes a new, proactive political process also, in which the poor are winning support for their initiatives from their local governments and other local stakeholders and becoming vital and accepted development actors in their cities. The ACCA Program is now supporting groups in 165 cities, in 19 Asian countries to take action in different ways to show visible change by people, to show that poor people themselves can make this change, and to show this change happening at scale.

We had an opportunity to speak with The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights about their methods and strategies on Social Design Insights. Listen to the episode below.

8 | Growth, Equity & Asian Cities


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "Rivers of Dub" by Asian Dub Foundation from their album "Frontline 1993-97."