Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

affordability Related Abstracts

5 Principles of Sustainable and Affordable Housing Policy for Afghan Refugees Returning to Afghanistan

Authors: Javid Habib, Mohammad Saraj Sharifzai, Keisuke Kitagawa, Mohammad Kamil Halimee, Daishi Sakaguchi

Abstract:

The overall goal of this paper is to examine the suitability and potential of the policies addressing the sustainability and affordability of housing for returnees, and to determine the impact of this policy on housing delivery for Afghan refugees. Housing is a central component of the settlement experience of refugees. A positive housing situation can facilitate many aspects of integration. Unaffordable, and unsafe housing, however, can cause disruptions in the entire settlement process. This paper aims to identify a suite of built forms for housing that is both affordable and environmentally sustainable for Afghan refugees. The result was the development of a framework that enables the assessment of the overall performance of various types of housing development in all zones of the country. There is very little evidence that the present approach of housing provision to the vagaries of market forces has provided affordable housing, especially for Afghan refugees. There is a need to incorporate social housing into the policy to assist people who cannot afford to have their own houses.

Keywords: Housing Policy, Social Housing, Afghan refugees, affordability, housing provision, environmental sustainability principles, resettlement

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4 Affordability and Expenditure Patterns towards Sustainable Consumption in Malaysia

Authors: Affordability and Expenditure Patterns towards Sustainable Consumption in Malaysia

Abstract:

Safe drinking water is needed for survival. Households have to pay the water bill monthly. However, lower income households are sometimes unable to afford the cost. This study examines water access and affordability among households in Malaysia and the determinants of water affordability using cross-sectional data and multiple regression. The paper expects that the bill for basic water consumption is inversely related to average income. This means that policy makers need to redesign the water tariff to improve the quality of life of lower income households.

Keywords: Sustainable Consumption, Income, affordability, water tariff

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3 Braille Lab: A New Design Approach for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Assistive Tools for the Visually Impaired

Authors: Claudio Loconsole, Daniele Leonardis, Antonio Brunetti, Gianpaolo Francesco Trotta, Nicholas Caporusso, Vitoantonio Bevilacqua

Abstract:

Unfortunately, many people still do not have access to communication, with specific regard to reading and writing. Among them, people who are blind or visually impaired, have several difficulties in getting access to the world, compared to the sighted. Indeed, despite technology advancement and cost reduction, nowadays assistive devices are still expensive such as Braille-based input/output systems which enable reading and writing texts (e.g., personal notes, documents). As a consequence, assistive technology affordability is fundamental in supporting the visually impaired in communication, learning, and social inclusion. This, in turn, has serious consequences in terms of equal access to opportunities, freedom of expression, and actual and independent participation to a society designed for the sighted. Moreover, the visually impaired experience difficulties in recognizing objects and interacting with devices in any activities of daily living. It is not a case that Braille indications are commonly reported only on medicine boxes and elevator keypads. Several software applications for the automatic translation of written text into speech (e.g., Text-To-Speech - TTS) enable reading pieces of documents. However, apart from simple tasks, in many circumstances TTS software is not suitable for understanding very complicated pieces of text requiring to dwell more on specific portions (e.g., mathematical formulas or Greek text). In addition, the experience of reading\writing text is completely different both in terms of engagement, and from an educational perspective. Statistics on the employment rate of blind people show that learning to read and write provides the visually impaired with up to 80% more opportunities of finding a job. Especially in higher educational levels, where the ability to digest very complex text is key, accessibility and availability of Braille plays a fundamental role in reducing drop-out rate of the visually impaired, thus affecting the effectiveness of the constitutional right to get access to education. In this context, the Braille Lab project aims at overcoming these social needs by including affordability in designing and developing assistive tools for visually impaired people. In detail, our awarded project focuses on a technology innovation of the operation principle of existing assistive tools for the visually impaired leaving the Human-Machine Interface unchanged. This can result in a significant reduction of the production costs and consequently of tool selling prices, thus representing an important opportunity for social entrepreneurship. The first two assistive tools designed within the Braille Lab project following the proposed approach aims to provide the possibility to personally print documents and handouts and to read texts written in Braille using refreshable Braille display, respectively. The former, named ‘Braille Cartridge’, represents an alternative solution for printing in Braille and consists in the realization of an electronic-controlled dispenser printing (cartridge) which can be integrated within traditional ink-jet printers, in order to leverage the efficiency and cost of the device mechanical structure which are already being used. The latter, named ‘Braille Cursor’, is an innovative Braille display featuring a substantial technology innovation by means of a unique cursor virtualizing Braille cells, thus limiting the number of active pins needed for Braille characters.

Keywords: Human Rights, visually impaired, affordability, social challenges and technology innovations, assistive tools

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2 Financial Planning Framework: A Perspective of Wealth Accumulation and Retirement Planning

Authors: Mahadevan Supramaniam, Stanley Yap, Chong Wei Ying, Fatemeh Kimiyaghalam

Abstract:

Purpose: The paper shows the framework of financial planning in a different paradigm. It highlights the results from a focus group on retirement planning in the aspect of financial literacy and wealth accumulation in Malaysia. Design/methodology/approach: A focus group consisted of thirty individuals and divided into six different clusters amongst 25 to 55 years old. The selection of focus group members is pertaining to retirement planning behavior and saving profile from the different level of educations. Findings: Our results show, firstly, the focus group reflects individual capacity on saving attitude, financial literacy and awareness towards financial products. Secondly, availability, accessibility and affordability which are the significant factors that influence saving attitude, financial literacy and awareness on personal retirement planning behavior. Practical implications: The participants express the concerns of retirement planning during their golden years and the current financial products in the Malaysian financial market. Originality/value: This study is a different approach that recognizes the needs of the consumers in the context of retirement planning and wealth accumulation. Therefore, customers should obtain financial services and products from financial providers to achieve financial independence.

Keywords: Accessibility, Availability, Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning, focus group, affordability, wealth accumulation, saving attitude

Procedia PDF Downloads 135
1 An Affordability Evaluation of Computer-Based Social-Emotional Skills Interventions for School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: Ezra N. S. Lockhart

Abstract:

The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased approximately 173% during the last decade making ASD the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. This rise in prevalence rates indeed has an effect on schools. ASD is overwhelmingly the most reported primary special education eligibility category for students accessing special education, at a national average of 61.3%. ASD is regarded as an urgent public health concern at an estimated annual per capita cost of $3.2 million. Furthermore, considering that ASD is a lifelong disorder estimated lifetime per capita cost reach $35 billion. The resources available to special education programs are insufficient to meet the educational needs of the 6.4 million students receiving special educational services. This is especially true given that there has been and continues to be a chronic shortage of fully certified special education teachers for decades. Reports indicate that 81.1% of students with special needs spend 40% or more in general education classrooms. Regardless of whether support is implemented in the special education or general education classroom the resource demand is obvious. Schools are actively seeking to implement low-cost alternatives and budget saving measures in response to this demand. In public school settings, programs such as Applied Behavior Analysis are challenging to implement and fund at $40,000 per student per year. As an alternative, computer-based interventions are inexpensive, less time-consuming to implement, and require minimal teacher or paraprofessional training to administer. Affordability, pricing schemes, availability, and compatibility of computer-based interventions that support social and emotional skill development in individuals with ASD are discussed.

Keywords: Social Skills, Autism spectrum disorder, affordability, computer-based intervention, emotional skills

Procedia PDF Downloads 23