West African uncontrolled settlements and the intra-urban mobility model : a case study of a secondary city, Jos, Nigeria
Turner's (1965,1967,1968) study of Lima's squatter settlements led to the view that uncontrolled settlements of the Third World cities are mainly a manifestation of the desires for housing ownership by people who are well integrated in the city and have experienced some amount of social mobility. In his work, Turner (1968) advanced a theoretical model of intraurban mobility in which rural-urban migration; upward social mobility, intra-urban mobility and the growth of spontaneous settlements are inter-related. Within this model, migrants are classified into three successive groups which corresponds with their level of involvement in gainful employment namely, 'Bridgeheader' i. e. the newly arrived migrants who are in search of employment or involved in low paid jobs, 'Consolidators' i. e. those who have had some urban experience and are"in relatively better paid jobs; and 'Status Seekers' i. e. the upper class of low income group. Three housing priorities: - Location, security of tenure and quality of housing and environment were assigned to those class of migrants. Upward economic and social mobility from a low paid job to a better paid jobs, is argued within this model, to be reflected in a housing priority and expectation about living conditions. Those who move from lower position in the social hierarchy to a higher position also move from inner city slums to the suburbs. In other words, social mobility necessarily entails spatial mobility within the urban. environment. Security of tenure and improvement of the quality of housing are thus functionally related. Consequently, it is recommended that stimulating those spontaneous activities as opposed to their eradication would benefit enormously from the resourcefulness of the squatters. Legalisation of land tenure, provision of infrastructural services and support-for local neighbourhoodorganisation are some of the essential elements for a more healthy urban policy. In this study attempt is made to test Turner's model of intraurban mobility in a regional context of West Africa. The study specifically examines the validity of the model in relation to a secondary city of (Jos) Nigeria, and asks whether Turner's model which is based almost entirely on the migratory characteristics and experience of Latin America has gone far enough in acknowledging the various dimensions of Third -World rural-urban migration in which some migrate permanently while others intend only a temporary migration as well as the varying types of uncontrollecl subareas that have emerged as a result of these differences. In most of West Africa, Including Nigeria, rural-urban migration tends not only to be temporary in character but is also structured by kinship relationships. Within this migratory context, migrants do not strive to consolidate their stay in the city. They prefer cheap rental accommodation, with a view to consolidating their position in the rural home towns. Security of tenure does not therefore rank. high in their order of priorities, their social mobility does not lead to a spatial mobility. Within this migratory context, the distinction between permanent and temporary migrants has more validity and practical application than Turner's bridgeheader - consolidator dichotomy, since bridgeheaders are likely to remain bridgeheaders while in the city. Adopting the proposed distinction between permanent and temporary migrants provides a lot of insight into the ways in which migrant groups perceive the city environment and how their perception of the city in turn affects the development process of their settlement areas. Indeed, varying migratory characteristics leads to varying housing demands and housing ambitions in the city of migration. This also leads to variation in migrants reception areas in the city and thus affords the capacity of uncontrolled subareas to improve via self help housing. Thus, the distinction between permanent and temporary migrants provides a lot of insight into the understanding of why some uncontrolled settlements might improve through self help housing and why others might not. Most Importantly, it provides more insights into the policy dimension of the problem.