YABATECH Don Urges Review of Urban Housing Policies

Funmi Ogundare A chief lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Dr Philip Fagbohun, says the only viable solution to cities’ challenges is through adequate provision of basic needs. Fagbohun stated this while delivering the 12th inaugural lecture of the college, titled ‘City of Uncertainty: A Traumatised Living Environment’.

He noted that housing was essential to the good life and a key requirement for an efficient and satisfying labour force. Fagbohun stated, “Effective transport system is the basis for determining how cities work and also plays an important role in socio-economic development. Streetlight facilitates free movement of people at night, prevent crime, help in security surveillance and promote social integration, while access to safe water is a universal need.”

The lecturer also mentioned that cities came into being due to urbanisation and are very important in human development, adding that an apparent lack of basic facilities is the root of cities challenges. “The level of availability of the facilities has not afforded the urban residents the opportunity to maximise public goods consumption. Consequently, human activities have contributed inadequately to sustainable urban development.

These have further increased poverty level and polarised urban geographical space,” said Fagbohun. He affirmed that the giant cities and their agglomerations should be properly defined and carefully planned, where all modes of transport would be utilised. He, however, stressed the need to adopt the concept of a compact city, which will bring many activities together in a small geographical area.

“Self-build housing method which has become the major approach in resolving homeownership should be well coordinated. Since the building of cities and infrastructure is more complex, technological education should be encouraged,” Fagbohun added. “More hands should be attracted from the formal sector into housing provision. Change in the use of land and building should be properly regulated and managed to avoid the elimination of residential land use from the city centres and reduce urban sprawl.”

He called for a review of the national housing policy to “make it mandatory for large-scale employers to provide some staff accommodations around their premises.” He added, “There is a need to exploit the opportunity provided by the technology in the facilities provision, particularly power supply in the area of solar energy. More funds should be made available for the provision of public infrastructure because they are critical sector.”

The college’s rector, Obafemi Omokungbe, noted that Fagbohun had successfully presented a contemporary work to demonstrate his research activities in Urban and Regional Planning over the years.

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