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Causes of Slum Emergence from Decently Built Government's Affordable Housing Projects in Enugu, Nigeria: The Experts’ Perspectives

Authors: Anthony Ikechukwu Agboeze, Walter Timo de Vries, Pamela Durán-Díaz

Abstract:

Since attaining urban status, the population of Enugu, Nigeria, has continued to grow rapidly, leading to growing demands for housing by the teeming population which is predominantly low income. Several government dispensations have developed various affordable housing projects to help deliver decent housing to the Enugu populace. However, over a long period of usage, some of those housing projects in Enugu are unabatedly deteriorating into slums alongside rising housing deficits which has remained problematic for most Nigerian urban centers to address. Emerging from a literature review, this research posits that the link between slum and affordable housing is that both the seekers of affordable housing and slum housing are the low-income earners. This research further investigated the possible causalities of slum emergence from decently built affordable housing projects in Enugu, Nigeria. To do so, we first analyzed the Nigerian housing policy to examine how the policy addresses slum prevention. We further conducted semi-structured expert interviews (qualitative) to sample the views of private housing developers on the degeneration of government housing projects into slums in Enugu, Nigeria. Findings from the housing policy analysis suggest that the housing policy itself is not legally binding on anybody to implement. Sequel to this non-compulsory nature of the housing policy is the poor/non-implementation of the Nigerian housing policy, leading to a constant tendency by the government developers (contractors) to deliver potential slums. The expert respondents corroborated this viewpoint by suggesting that poor planning (including designs of the housing units and the master plan) and poor management (including non-maintenance, poor documentation, and inaccurate housing inventory) are germane to the emergence of slums from affordable housings. This research recommends periodic auditing of delivered housing projects to evaluate the developers’ adherence to the housing policy guidelines – it proposes incentives to policy adherents since the housing policy is not legally binding. We also recommend a participatory management to engage the occupants in the monitoring and reporting of breakdowns in the housing properties – to help improve the quality of management and maintenance to have slum-free settlements.

Keywords: Affordable housing, Enugu, low income, Nigeria, slum.

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