Experts advocate community development model for housing in Nigeria

Experts in the Nigeria’s real estate met last week in Abuja at the 4th Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) National Housing Summit, 2015 to discuss the nation’s current planning practices of plots sub-divisions which encourages bit by bit housing development and low dwelling density on prime urban land should be changed with aggregated and co-operative development.

This the Experts said was necessary to bolster housing units and deliver quality yet affordable homes in Nigeria. They opined that professionals in the built industry must evolve community development concepts for housing delivery, the Guardian reports.

This was extensively discussed last week in Abuja during the 4th Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) National Housing Summit, 2015.

The event, which was organised by NIESV’s Faculty of Housing, had several stakeholders both from the public and the private sector, who shared their views on the community housing models.

Mindful of myriad of issues bedeviling the housing sector, Chairman, NIESV Faculty of Housing, Elder Biodun Odeleye, said the way out of the conundrum, was to pursue community approach to housing delivery, hence, he said experts were invited to discuss on “Effective Housing Delivery Models Through Community Development Concepts.”

In his foreword to the lecture delivered by a Prof. Olumide Olusanya of the Department of Architecture, University of Lagos and immediate past president, Real Estate Development Association of Nigerian (REDAN), Chief Olabode Afolayan, Odeleye had said the deficiency in the housing sector could be addressed through the community approach.

“Research and practical experiences have exposed potent and effective methods of dealing with the problems militating against effective housing delivery in Nigeria and this fourth edition of our annual housing summit promises to expose for the benefits of the general public and the government models, which shall be affordable as well as provide a veritable tool towards reducing the deficiency in the housing sector.”

Olusanya, the lead speaker, who spoke on the “The Case For Aggregated Development In Effective Housing Delivery”, said the notion that there can be sustainable urbanisation through piecemeal efforts of one man one plot was naïve in the extreme.

According to him, housing delivery must be aggregated. He added that, a close look at housing in the villages and the older parts of our cities would reveal that even at the traditional level housing was aggregated. “Piecemeal development is grossly wasteful and counter-productive because it involves much duplication and multiplication of effort at every level of housing delivery.”

The don said the incentive for home ownership was however, one of the most effective ways of mobilizing a nation toward qualitative housing development.

But, according to him, the challenge then was to evolve housing type with some requirements including family units with well-defined territorial claims and sense of identity within high dwelling density developments; provision of adequate natural light and cross-ventilation thereby minimizing dependence on mechanical systems; and Standardization and modularisation of spaces and components suited for sustainable industrialised systems building.

On housing co-operative, Olusanya said since it is a legal and social instrument that allows individuals to come together for corporate development and ownership of pro-perties whereby they obtain value for their investment greater than what they would obtain individually, both government and mortgage institutions should give incentives and priority to co-operatives in the acquisition of land and provision of mortgage facilities.

Speaking on the case for high density, the architect, said it was high time for policymakers and professionals to ensure that the infrastructure that should service a million families should not be servicing only a hundred thousand, adding that, without efficient utilization, the cost of provision of services becomes unsustainable. “Sound economic and urban planning requires increasing heights of buildings as population increases.