ASSESSMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF HIGHER INSTITUTION AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES IN SLUM DEVELOPMENT
Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study is to examine the impact of Kogi State University (KSU) on slum development and the environmental quality of Anyigba town with a view to determining emerging physical development challenges in the area.
Pursuant to this aim, the evolved objectives of the study are to:
- Assess the trend of housing development in Anyigba town between 1999 to 2019
- Examine the relationship between the establishment of KSU and housing development in the study
- Determine the influence of off campus student housing choice on the environmental quality of Anyigba
- Identify emerging physical development challenges arising from the pattern of housing development for off-campus students‘ accommodation in Anyigba town.
2.1 Conceptual Framework
2.1.1 The concept of Slum
The slum question is not marginal to urban development; it is at its very heart. Urban growth takes place primarily in developing countries in which populations move from rural to urban regions at a very fast pace. According to UN-HABITAT (2003), ‘some 923,986,000 people, or 32% of the world’s total urban population, live in slums; some 43% of the urban population of all developing regions combined live in slums; some 78% of the urban population in the least developed countries live in slums; some 6% of the urban population in developed regions live in slum-like conditions’. The total number of slum dwellers in the world increased by about 36 per cent during the 1990s, and in the next 30 years the global number of slum dwellers will increase to about two billion if no concerted action to address the challenge of slums is taken.
In both territorial and demographic terms, the world is becoming more and more urban. This process now affects above all the developing countries in Asia and Africa, and Latin America to a somewhat lesser degree (where the level of urbanization is already exceedingly high). The rate of urban growth in many countries in the South continues to be high, and invariably leads to a serious degradation of living conditions for the majority of city dwellers. The figures quoted in the UN study speak for themselves: depending on the level of poverty in each country, between two and four city dwellers out of five live in slums, with significant consequences for their own lives and the lives of coming generations, precarious conditions for them, uncertainty for their offspring.
The scale of the urban-rule shift is more perceivable if looked at in historical perspective. In 1800 a mere three per cent of the world’s population lived in an urban environment, a proportion that rose to 14 per cent in 1900 and to 30 per cent in 1950.
In the year 2000, 47 per cent, that is, almost half of the 6,055 million inhabitants of the world were city dwellers 76 per cent in the developed countries and 40 per cent in the less developed ones. Globally, this proportion is likely to reach 60 per cent by 2030, due primarily to urbanization in the developing world. This trend goes hand in hand with an explosion of metropolitan centers of over one million inhabitants Worldwide; there were 12 such cities in 1900, 83 in 1950, and 411 in 2000.
Nevertheless, in 2003 the United Nations Population Division confirmed that a majority of the current three billion city dwellers who will become five billion by 2030 still live in small or medium-sized urban agglomerations. In the developing countries, 16 per cent of the population lives in a megalopolis of over five million inhabitants, 24 per cent in a metropolis of one to five million, 9.4 per cent in an agglomeration of 500,000 to one million inhabitants, and 50.5 percent in cities of less than 500,000 inhabitants (United Nations, Population Division, 2003).
Waste generation is inevitable as long as life continually exist on planet earth. The increasing growth of cities has implications on solid waste management among other social services required in the urban communities. Man’s activity encapsules the totality of deriving benefits from raw material while creating left over complexities. The nature of these complexities have been tied to factors as civilization, improved living standards, economic and cultural attributes of man in his environment.
Waste generation nationally is alarmingly on the increase with an estimated annual rate of about 0.5 – 0.7% and current figures ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 Ton /capital /annum. Complexity in waste is also increasing with biodegradable waste currently accounting for over 50%. This amounts to an annual average approximately 50milion tons per annum of waste burden on the nation with less than 10% waste management capacity (Ossai, 2006).
Many of the researchers who have undertaken studies in the area of environmental pollution are mainly from the natural sciences who are interested in studying the nature and the chemical properties of environmental pollution, as well as its effects on plants and animals (e.g. Yongsi et.al, 2008). Though some studies conducted by social scientists have examined the social consequences of the present urban waste management issues, yet, few of these studies examined the health implications of people living in close proximity of waste dumpsites (Sarkhel, 2006; Yongsi et. al 2008; Abul, 2010; Babatunde and Biala, 2010, Nabegu 2010, Nwanta et. al. 2010).
In developing nations, a great proportion of solid waste generated are dumped either in controlled landfills or open dumps which constitute sources of health risks to surrounding residents. The use of sanitary landfills is not feasible for many waste management authorities of most countries due to cost constraints. In their study of health risks of urban solid waste landfill sites in Sao Paulo, Gouveia & do Prado discovered that in Brazil; only 47% of all the garbage collected were disposed of in sanitary landfills, 23% in controlled landfills while the remaining 30% were in open dumps. For Manzini city in Swaziland, Abul (2010) confirmed that open dumpsites rather than secured landfills are more in number for waste disposal and this constitutes great health hazards to the residents. Such open dumps are found on the outskirts of urban areas which form breeding sites for disease-carrying vectors in the communities. The cost issue has prompted some municipal government authorities in some developing nations to adopt cost-reduction program as well as conservation tenets of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to reduce the level of waste generation and recycle others, whether bio-degradable or non-biodegradable items. This is being achieved through aggressive community education of consumers and producers on waste reduction methods, while institutions and businesses that could buy up discarded materials are facilitated to enhance recycling and reuse. These activities not only have positive environmental impact on the communities involved, but also have an important economic dimension (Goldman and Ogishi, 2001).
Concept of student housing
Globally, the issue of student housing has attracted concerted concerns from academics, policy makers and non-governmental organizations (Jiboye, 2011). This is so because majority of the higher institutions of learning, particularly in developing countries, do not have enough on-campus accommodation for its students (Amole, 2009; Mohit et al., 2010). The problem becomes more worrisome in sub-Saharan Africa where majority of the higher institutions have hostel accommodation only for a minute proportion of their students (Jiboye, 2011). In Nigeria, students‘ hostel accommodations in higher institutions are grossly inadequate; thereby increasing the rate of hostel squatting and consequently, overcrowding of hostel rooms. Therefore, students have devised alternative means of meeting their housing needs through off-campus housing.
Mohit et al. (2010) have demonstrated that off-campus student housing is a significant contributor to the housing market globally. Similar opinion was offered by Jiboye (2011) who argued that in Nigeria, rental housing development around tertiary institutions is a widespread practice. In fact, Jiboye (2009), Amole (2009) and Mohit et al. (2010) have established a link between students seeking accommodation off-campus and housing development in neighbourhoods where higher institutions are located.
Concept of development
Like most social science concepts, the concept of development is not amenable to a single and unambiguous definition. In recognition of this, Todaro & Smith (2006) saw development as a physical reality as well as a psychological state, in which societies has obtained the means for securing a better life. Similarly, Coetzee (2001), noted that the major concern of development is the wellbeing of humanity. In other words, development is less concerned about economic growth and wealth. Following this, Gran (1983), defined development as the practical and social procedure whose goal is the emancipation of human prospects so that people can achieve the highest socially practicable and realistic control on all the accessible assets required for the satisfaction of basic human needs and safety.
Korten (1990) from the economic standpoint, defined development as a process of economic transformation for accelerated and increased economic growth. This definition centred on economic and human development. However, it is clear that economic and human development cannot be achieved in a vacuum; they are a function of the environment. Therefore, there is an environmental perspective of development.
The connection between environment and development is captured in the definition of development in the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Laws (1992). It sees development as the totality of human activities that alters or improves the configuration on, in, or under the physical environment. WCED (1987) opined that development is what humans do in a bid to improve/enhance the environment in which they live.
Concept of environment
Conceptually, environment encompasses social, physical and economic aspects. However, this research centres on the physical/ecological aspect of the environment. FEPA (1990) cited in Coker (n.d) defines the environment the totality of human surrounding, including plans, animals, land, air, water, and humans beings living therein and the forces that connect them in one way or the other. Similarly, Coker (n.d) saw environment as comprising the water, air, land and the entire surrounding ecosystem. There is need therefore, for maintaining that environment is the entirety of space, time and natural living space of human being and other living things that exists.
It can be deduced from the foregoing that everything surrounding humans, including the houses, landscapes, land cover and activities across space are components of the environment. As a result, environment consists of the atmosphere, the biosphere, the lithosphere and all other layers of the earth.
Concept of environmental quality
Environmental quality denotes the features that make the environment acceptable, liveable and adorable. It refers to the standard worthiness of ecosystem and ecosystem services, including the value of air, water and biodiversity. As Rosa et al. (2004) cited in Ifatimehin et al. (2009) noted the impending pressure on the environment due to uncontrolled urbanization involve a wide range of greenhouse effects, change in biogeochemical cycles; extensive scattering and dumping of non-biodegradable municipal solid wastes (MSW); and constant release of liquid and gaseous pollutants, deforestation, rising level of water runoffs, a dwindling ground water recharge, emergence of flooding and a change in the natural water balance.
The foregoing argument indicates that development activities, including housing development, interferes with environmental quality. However, the quality of the built environment is central to sustainable urban development. Therefore, urbanization and the resultant slum development are related.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Establishment of tertiary institutions have tremendous impacts on the slum development of the host communities. Tertiary institutions act as growth factors and growth poles to the communities hosting them. This study has revealed that the establishment of KSU has engendered a unidirectional growth pattern in Anyigba. However, the growth rate was higher between 1999 and 2009 than between 2009 and 2019. In other words, higher physical/housing development in Anyigba is more noticeable during the earlier years of the establishment of KSU. These notwithstanding, housing development in the study area is evidenced by inadequate (or complete absence) of physical planning and development control. This has led to arbitrary and unhealthy housing development without taking into cognisance the possible environmental and health impacts of such developments.
An important factor responsible for off-campus housing development is the relative inability of on-campus housing to provide adequate, accessible and affordable accommodation to the teeming student population. In most cases, the student population far outstrip the available hostel accommodation. More so, staff housing shortage (and in some cases, availability) necessitates off-campus residence by some staff of higher educational institutions. The situation in Anyigba is worrisome as both staff and students‘ on-campus accommodation are grossly inadequate, thereby necessitating off-campus residence as the only available solution.
This study has also revealed that establishment of higher educational institutions and consequent population explosion and physical/housing development affects vegetal cover of the host community. This, in turn, affects the biodiversity of the area. Similarly, the physical quality of the environment is affected through continuous uncontrolled and unplanned process of housing and structural development. The study has also shown that the quality of the environment is a significant determinant of housing choice. However, proximity, less stringent rules and affordability are some of the most important determinants of the choice of residential location among off-campus residents.
This study suggests the urgent need to prepare and or implement a workable master plan for Anyigba. This will go a long way in guiding physical development in the town on the one hand, and checkmate and consequently forestall uncontrolled and haphazard housing development on the other. However, it is suggested that the plan should be prepared incrementally to prevent implementation lag.
The study also recommends that every developer must prepare and submit their building plan to Kogi State Town Planning and Development Board for approval. Furthermore, every residential building plan other than an Estate must be accompanied with a Site Analysis Report (SAR) and a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for other developments so as to ascertain the level and severity of the impacts of the development on the physical/surrounding environment before approval is granted. There is therefore the need for adequate monitoring and control of physical development activities in the study area. This will go a long way to ensure the achievement of reasonable environmental quality in the study area.
The need for adequate enlightenment of the residents is also suggested, especially in terms of housing maintenance and the quality of construction materials to be used. This will help in boosting the physical quality of the residential units in Anyigba.
There is also the need to construct more hostels in the university in order to increase on- campus housing stock. This will engender an increase in on-campus residence since this will address the problem of proximity.
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