Towards a strategy for inclusionary inner city housing in Lagos, Nigeria.
Oyebamiji, Okesoto John.
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Lagos with a population of more than 17 million, suffers an acute shortage of housing and general decline in the quality of existing housing stock. Low income earners are worst hit, because they lack the economic means to choose where to live. They desire to live closer to where they work, which in most cases is the Central Business District (CBD). However, the exorbitant cost of housing in the inner city makes it unaffordable for the poor, hence their exclusion from the inner city. This study examined the possibility of meeting the housing needs of the poor in the inner city of central Lagos through an inclusionary housing strategy. It is based on the assumption that the weak planning and control of land use and building development enable rapid and unregulated succession of residential land use by competing land use activities. The effects are twofold; the poor are inadvertently excluded from the inner city and there has been a rapid decline in the housing function. Among other theories, the classical urban land use theory, and the concepts of the compact city were employed to explain these problems and how they could be addressed. A hybrid research method that combines qualitative and quantitative approaches was used to conduct the study. The quantitative data was descriptively and inferentially analysed and presented in line with the themes that emerged. The study found that the majority of those that live in the inner city of central Lagos are in the upper economic echelon of the society, while the majority of low-income earners live on the city’s outskirts. In respect of residential location decisions, the concern amongst the high-income group is location, while the lower-income group decides on the basis of affordability. Based on these findings, it recommends the mandatory provision of affordable rental and rent- to- own inclusionary housing. A set proportion of inclusionary housing would thus be required as a pre-condition for new residential developments within the inner city. The study’s major contribution to knowledge is the introduction of inclusionary inner city housing as a strategy to meet the housing needs of low-income earners in the inner city of central Lagos.