URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING CHALLENGES THE WAY-OUT (SOLUTIONS)
In other to have a clear and complete understanding of this project, there is then need to break down the various concepts that constitute the research work and thereafter define them one after the other. These concepts include Urban, Development, Housing/Housing challenge cum the way-out to this housing problem (challenges).
The word urban simply means a place where agriculture, forestry and fishing are dormant or less in practice. According to oxford Advance learners Dictionary of current English, urban means a place situated at the city or town. Also it is not out of place to say that “Urban” simply means the opposite of “rural” or rural area. In Nigeria, a place that has about 20,000 populations of people is considered as urban. More so, to urbanize is to remove a rural character of a place. In other words, urbanization is the process by which the rural character of a place is castrated or removed and changing such a place with urban characteristics such as increases in technological, economic and political activities with little or no space for agricultural production.
THE MEANING OF DEVELOPMENT:- It has remain a puzzle as it concerns what development is all about, also the term development is both a continuous process as well as a relative term. Therefore, development being a “continuum” or continuous process is that, development never cease to exist or never ends, in addition, as a relative term, this implies that developmental indicators vary among societies or countries. For instance, what one may call a development in Enugu State may not be a real development in some other places in Nigeria like Lagos or Abuja. In the same vein, what may be referred as development in Nigeria or even Africa at large may not be a real development in some advance countries of the world like U.S.A, Britain, France, etc.
This conundrum delineated above has made it difficult to have a working or generally acceptable definition of the term Development” many scholars and/or schools thought have emerged trying to solve the problem of producing a working definition of development but they all ended up in defining it according to their own perspectives. For (Eyiyere,2004) in his book (economics for senior secondary schools) He defines development as a growth accompanied by certain desirable changes, thus some scholars saw development in terms of institution building whereas others view it in terms of human building. According oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary of current English, Development means to become or make larger, more mature or more advanced. Development According (Ape- C. Ejike. 2012) means to improve, to make progress, and change for better or better standard of living. Fred .W. Riggs however compared development with independence as he defines it as increase in the level of autonomy and discretion of social system.
The United Nations publication (1963) defines development as a process of allowing and encouraging people to meet their own aspirations. Dr. Olewe B. N. (2001) quoting Melton .J. sees development as the rational process of organizing and carrying out prudently conceived and staff programmed or projects as one would organize and carry out military engineering operations.
Furthermore, as one could see from the definition proffered above, each scholar ended up in explaining what he see or perceived development to be according to his personal view or perspective. Also others have more to say about development. Thus, Mr. Lee Grant, Secretary General, United Nation (1962) sees development as growth plus change, he further stressed that development involve quantitative and qualitative increase, To him, development should transcend beyond the income or the financial side of the people down to institutional, social, political, and economic sphere as well as the peoples attitude and Behaviour including their customs and beliefs. SEE.A (1990) in his own opined that development is the expansion of the peoples capabilities, a process of emancipation from factors which constraints the fuller realization of human freedom.
Finally, it was in search of more acceptable definition of development that the liberal school of thought came with the views of shift development from the institution building perspective to human building perspective hence, Duddley Seer gives a clue as to what to look for in a country’s development, by asking the questions below:-
a. What has been happening to poverty?
b. What has been happening to unemployment?
c. What has been happening to inequalities?
And we the members of this group can also add “what has been happening to illiteracy. If these questions have become less severe, then no doubt this has been the period of development for the country concerned but if one or two of these central problems has been growing worse especially these three questions, it will be wrong to call the result development.
To juxtapose these two concepts “Urban” and Development, otherwise known as urban development, it is the opposite of “rural development”. Urban development may be defined as a strategy put in place by Government in the National development plan towards ensuring the improvement of life at the urban centers. It is also the process of promoting the political, economic, technological and socio-cultural activities at the urban areas thereby making the urban areas habitable or conducive to those living in the urban – cities or town, that is – the urban dwellers. Urban development is a harbinger of urban administration hence urban development deals with plans put in place by the government in order to improve both the political, economic, technological, and social lives of the urban people. The urban administration on the other hands is the process of formulating policies and programmes by the government aimed at ensuring that the positive values of urbanization are retained, sustained and strengthened, consolidated or maximized while the negative effects or what is called undesirable consequences according to Ezeodili .W. (2003) are prevented and/or controlled to the largest extent possible. Urban development and urban administration are interwoven and some time used inter-changeably but there is a clear distinction between the two. To differentiate this two phenomena, this statement below according Ezeodili walter (quoting Oladosu 1981) would help to do justice to it, he stated inter alia, usually, urban centers assumes increasing significance with the increasing rate of a Nations development, for it is at this centres that a nations capability is largely demonstrated.
The cultural, social, political and economic viability of a nation is usually made evident in her urban centres. Also it has been noted that this transformation process involves changes- (urban development) which requires proper management in order to ensure that its negative consequences would not or do not manifest the more. (Urban Administration).
In addition, from illustration above, there is however clear distinction between urban development and urban administration because urban development considers or focuses on the process which the viability of the nation’s cultural, social, political and economic activities are created and evident in her urban centres whereas urban administration dwells or deals with the proper management of both the positive values and undesirable consequences of urbanizations in order to make the urban development effectives or work. From here we go to the housing challenges:- The way out.
THE HOUSING CHALLENGES IN THE URBAN CENTRES AND THE WAY OUT (REMEDICAL /SOLUTION)
According to Ezeodili .W. (2003), provision of houses for the rapidly increasing urban dwellers is one of the most recognized urban challenges or problem(s) which is aggravated by the increasing or influx of people from the rural areas, in fact the housing situation in some parts of the urban areas is quite deplorable, some of those arriving from the rural area are finding no alternative, but to live on the streets. The reason is that the rate of growth in our urban centres is totally out of proportion to the speed with which urban services including housing are provided.
Therefore, the demand for house as a result exceeds the dwelling units available.
The few available ones are always exorbitant thereby making it difficult for the ordinary man to acquire a decent house. In the developing countries today including Nigeria, one cannot over- emphasized the fact that housing constitutes one the major problems of development particularly in the urban centres, the housing problem is fully recognized in the nation’s development plans, where it is emphasized that housing deficiency in both quantitative and qualitative terms is a universal problem in the country. Consequently, many urban dwellers live under bridges as in, Lagos, batchers, uncompleted and abandoned building, construction company containers while some live in parked vehicles in mechanic workshops in the urban centres.
In view of the above, the provision of adequate housing has become one of the objectives of the government of the federation of Nigeria but it appears that management strategies and administrative framework for translating this objective into reality constitutes one of the bottlenecks of development in the country. This inherent weakness are seen in most government initiatives such as, Nigeria staff housing scheme, the federal mortgage Bank and the federal low-cost housing scheme. Though, government through the low-cost housing scheme provides houses in various urban centres. The scheme however failed in meeting the expected target of 2,600,000 housing units by (1990) in Ezeodili .W. quoting (Okunna, 1973).
Moreover, it should be noted that the housing problem in urban centres does not stop at the need to provide housing for the increasing urban population due to migration from the rural areas, but the following problem or needs face these urban centres such as.
ØThe need to house those at present without homes.
ØThe need to maintain existing houses and replaces the dilapidated house.
ØAnd finally, the need to provide for improved housing as income levels in the society grows.
It is in acknowledgement of the above problems that the third National Development plan (1975- 80) set projection for housing units which was planned to be accomplished by 1980 in selected urban centres. The new housing units in the 20 selected urban centres by 1980 were to be 867,316 in number which was over 111 percent of the existing housing units of 755,708 in the urban centres in 1972 (see federal republic of Nigeria third National Development plan, 1975-80 vol I p. 359) though the above projection was not realized but it was an indication of government awareness of the acute housing need in Nigeria.