Beyond building: how social norms and networks shape mason construction practices in incremental homebuilding
How do low-income households and masons make house construction decisions? A three-country study examined social norms, networks, and information flows that influence construction practices in Kenya, India, and Peru. The study used a suite of qualitative research strategies, including desk research, site observation, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews, to examine households and informal construction service providers, and the interactions between them. The research sought to answer the following questions: 1) How do households and individuals make housing decisions? 2) What are the information flows, key influences, and social norms that steer these decisions? and 3) How can programmes leverage knowledge about norms to improve the quality of home construction? Findings covered areas of gender, disaster resilience, and construction labour – this article focuses on the latter. Ultimately the paper argues that designing impactful programmes for low-income housing markets requires understanding and incorporating these social norms, networks, and information flows.