AN APPRAISAL OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME (A CASE STUDY OF LAGOS STATE)
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1.1 Background of the study
Housing has been unanimously time-honored as the second most important essential human need, after food. Housing, in all its ramifications, is more than mere shelter since it embraces all the social services and utilities that go to make a community or neighbourhood a liveable environment (Agbola, 2019). It plays a crucial role in integrated physical and economic development, environmental sustainability, natural disaster mitigation and employment generation as well as wealth creation (Erguden, 2001; Boehm and Schlottmann, 2001; UN-HABITAT, 2006a). On the other hand, Mabogunje, (2018), stated that shelter unlike other basic needs such as food, clothing which man obtains from nature, leaves the most visible impact on the built environment. Ilesanmi (2015) emphasised that housing fulfils physical, psychological social, economic, and political roles. In physical terms, housing is a basic need of human beings for shelter or protection from weather elements, as well as from hostile intruders. Housing is invested with profound psychological and social significance, as a centre of privacy, and a place of interaction with other members of the household, friends, and acquaintances.
In economic terms, housing constitutes a major financial investment and therefore a vital aspect of the economy. The problems of housing in Nigeria are enormous and complex, exhibiting apparent and marked regional differences. In most of the urban centres, the problem is not only restricted to quantity but also to the quality of available housing units and environment. The result is manifested in growing overcrowding in homes, neighbourhoods and communities, and increasing pressure on infrastructure facilities and rapidly deteriorating environment (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2016). Housing developments not only provide structures to live in but are supposed to address other aspects of housing as well. This includes the provision of services, schools, community halls and economic opportunities. These aspects support a community‟s move to a new housing environment. If possible, the transition to the new environment should be easy with no disruptions in the lives of the people who move there. Besides the evaluation of the housing units itself, the evaluation of housing estates should include other aspects of housing development, community and environment as well. This will indicate whether the needs and expectations of occupants have been met (Darkwa, 2016).
The housing policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria States stipulates that the interested citizen should have access to decent, safe and healthy accommodation at affordable cost. The Nigerian Housing Policy also sets standards for State delivered housing that should be met by developers and designers (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2016). State Governments in Nigeria are expected to provide subsidised housing units in an effort to prevent the low-income groups from living in shacks. For instance, Ogun State government in Nigeria in the state housing policy stipulated the following objectives which are to: (i) enhance the evolution of appropriate institutional framework for public housing delivery (ii) encourage home ownership with secured tenure among all socio-economic groups (iii) promote private sector participation in public housing (iv) provide self-sufficient public housing estates that meet the daily challenges of all residents and (v) provide all socioeconomic groups access to adequate housing at affordable cost.
Lagos State government in Nigeria planned to provide about 12,230 housing units between 2013 and 2019. Though, the idea of providing subsidised housing scheme is good for the people, the economy and the quality of life of the poor but it does not end there. After the houses have been occupied for some time, projects need to be evaluated periodically to check whether these housing developments indeed meet the needs and expectations of the occupants based on the minimum acceptable standards. In addition, assessment of built facilities (housing inclusive) had often been based on how well the physical structure conformed to design specifications. Mohsini (2018) as well as Torbica and Stroh (2019) mentioned that this approach is meaningful though not without limitation, because the main concern of the occupants is how the constructed facilities meet their needs and expectations. The current and future prospects in the housing sector depend on the extent to which owners/occupiers are satisfied with the built facilities. This emphasis is based on the fact that many problems in the built environment are the result of neglecting the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) from the occupiers‟ satisfaction approach. It is based on this background that the study was carried out to evaluate the affordable housing scheme and determine whether or not the State affordable housing scheme fulfil the initial design concept and/ or the needs of the users, as regards the occupants` satisfaction.
Statement of the Research Problem
In Nigeria, State Governments are expected to provide affordable housing units in an effort to prevent the low-income groups from living in shacks. For instance, Lagos State government in Nigeria recently planned to provide about 12,230 housing units between 2013 and 2019 through its public housing programme which is adequately reflected in the objectives of the State`s Housing Policy. After the houses have been occupied for some time, projects need to be evaluated periodically to check whether these housing developments indeed meet the needs and expectations of the occupants. Unfortunately most of State governments in Nigeria provide housing estates and do not regard building evaluation of these housing estates as an area of legitimate interest. They do not lay much emphasis on the user-value of the buildings which are not adaptable, flexible and fit for the purpose that they were created. They have provided housing estates and there is no evidence to show that any study has been done to assess the resident’s satisfaction of these housing schemes. Therefore, a research need arises to study residential satisfaction of the public low-income housing inhabitants whose economic ability for alternative housing is limited. Furthermore, continuous assessment of residential satisfaction of the low-income housing estates is essential in order to guide future public housing policies especially for low-income people in Lagos State.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to evaluate affordable housing scheme in Lagos State with the following specific objectives of the study:
- To examine the institutional framework of Lago State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) in relation to housing delivery process.
- To evaluate the physical characteristics and conditions of the housing units at post occupation.
- To examine the socio-economic characteristics of the residents in the selected public housing estates.
- To ascertain factors which influence levels of residents’ expectations and satisfaction with the housing estates.
- To compare the occupants` expectations of the housing units with their housing experience in the estate.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the initial intention of the State Government for establishing the housing estates?
- What are the expectations of the occupants of the housing estates?
- Are the occupants of the State Government Housing Estates satisfied with their houses?
- Which factors affect the levels of satisfaction of the residents in the housing estates?
- What are the present physical conditions of the housing units, the housing complex and the housing estates?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will highlight the importance of occupants’ satisfaction by assessing the housing estates to know whether the buildings provided work to the satisfaction of the occupants. Consequently, it would help the housing providers and State Government in providing better new buildings, improve design for future buildings, develop new facilities and manage the buildings more efficiently and more cost effectively. Applying the BPE framework to large-scale residential construction would not only improve the cost and quality of such housing, but it would also ensure that the environments occupied by the users meet criteria of environmental quality, cost-effective construction practices, and other social needs. Measuring residential satisfaction is therefore important because it would broaden one`s understanding of how and why occupants respond to certain factors in the environment in which they live as well as to certain housing types and living conditions. The study provided information that can be used to improve residential living conditions of the people whose preferences and requirements are not known through the normal housing channels and markets.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of the study is therefore limited to low- income housing schemes initiated by Lagos State government. Ten public housing estates will be covered by the study. The sample size of the population will consist of those low income housing units that have been occupied for at least one year. The study will evaluate the aspects of planning and detailed design as well as matched performance of the buildings against expectations of the occupants of the estates.