The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the potential link that exists between programs designed to promote improvement of urban housing in developing countries and the development of community infrastructure (focusing primarily on water and sanitation). The paper begins by exploring past efforts in this area, particularly with respect to community involvement in housing (a la Turner) and infrastructure development. Then, through a series of case studies drawn from the literature, and from various countries around the world, it is demonstrated that progressive improvement policies should not be confined to housing development alone but can beneficially be applied to infrastructure as well. If governments insure secure tenure to low-income urban residents and provide technical assistance at crucial points i the development process, the progressive improvement of infrastructure is as likely to occur as is housing development. In the conclusion a classification of outcomes is hypothesized. Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.