Saturday, March 20, 2010

Remote Area Indigenous Housing: Towards A Model Of Best Practice

This article by John Minney, Michelle Manicaros, and Michael Lindfield used a Best Practices model to evaluate the success of 26 rural Indigenous people housing programs in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Manicaros defines Best Practice Methodology as "examples of action which could be recommended for further application whether in a similar or adopted form ." In other words, the technique looks to other similar programs or businesses to determine what works and what does not. Best Practice Methodology originated in a business context, but this article shows its adaptation to a social science. The article mentions that the United Nations Center for Human Settlements uses the technique to evaluate programs to discern their successful characteristics.

Model Strengths:
  • Dynamic
  • Holistic

Model Weaknesses:

  • Ignores the influence of geography, cultural norms, and institutional context
  • Must be confined to a specific time frame
  • Difficult to define which variables should be assessed

How to: The study made a framework to represent best practices in a two dimensional matrix. Then the authors evaluated the degree of success in each area using either a check or minus sign.

Dimension 1: Evaluates the 4 stages of housing provision

  • Needs assessment
  • Development and Design
  • Implementation
  • Post Construction

Dimension 2: Contains variables relevant to the stages of the housing process

  • Funding
  • Skills development and training
  • Technology
  • Organization
  • Cultural factors
  • Hard and soft infrastructure of assistance program

Results: The exercise identified the several areas of weakness in rural indigenous people housing programs. There needs to be more flexibility in the way that funding can be spent. Land titles need to be clearly defined to give the program staff maximum options to assist their clients. Also, there must be sufficient infrastructure within successful programs to maintain the houses after they are built.

This study lacked the robust nature of some Best Practices exercises as it did not quantify the rating of each factor. However, it proved that the model has useful applications in analyzing social programs.


This article came from a proprietary database Academic Search Complete.

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen Best Practices to be dynamic in any area that you have come across so far? I ask because the author of one article I saw complained that Best Practices was NOT dynamic in his specific area of interest.