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Title: The urban housing crisis and a cultural framework for housing policy : the Ajegunle community case study
Author: Oluwole, O. A.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study presents the argument that if housing provision should be orientated towards long-term goals and solutions, then housing policy must consider surely the cultural requirements of the people in the community. Cultural dimension as it relates to the study focuses on urban housing as a strategic vehicle for exploring the evolution of the housing crisis by concentrating on real people and their approaches to informal processes within the community. The study views the informal processes of the people as part of the solution and not the problem by drawing from their lived experience and offering a culturally-informed framework for the development of future housing policy. It suggests that the government must view the informal settlement not as a slum, but as a “case” to understand the intricacies and complexities in housing provision and delivery. Thus the cultural dimension derived from the colloquial knowledge of the people is demonstrated as an important element in the maintenance and continuity of an existing community by doing an in-depth investigation of the internal survival strategies relating to urban living and the government’s role in the existing housing crisis. The study expands to issues surrounding the sustainability of the built environment by examining the cultural, economic, environmental and its social aspects in developing countries and challenging the existing practices in the built environment, as regards to urban housing. This is an empirical study, which has a qualitative perspective that is cross-disciplinary, connecting social theory with architecture and the built environment. In order to understand the lived experience of the Ajegunle residents from their human efforts relating to urban housing crisis, an “African phenomenology” is formulated. While the phenomenological part is used as both the method (practice) and guiding philosophy driving the study, African philosophy, within African phenomenology, enables the study to describe real solutions and applications which are grounded in the African way of life. Thus the urban housing crisis question in developing countries is addressed using Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria, as a case study. The doing of the study involves collecting qualitative data through an intrinsic case study using field notes, interviews, observation and photography, comprising of an inductive analysis, whereby themes are generated from the patterns identified in the case study. Through the analysis, the internal survival strategy, referred to as “cultural technology”, which is part of people’s everyday life and designed to deal with the housing crisis is explored. This separates the social conditions in Ajegunle from a generic understanding of a slum and provides the theoretical underpinnings for the importance and the role of the human element within the approaches developed as a response to the existing urban housing situation. The primary contribution to knowledge is the cultural dimension to housing. The study provides a culturally-informed framework as a basis for decision-making phase for the formulation of housing policies, a platform for urban development and future research. It does not propose an architectural response in terms of design. The existing studies that relate to the housing crisis appear to be mainly quantitative and do not take into consideration the cultural position of the people. In contrast, the cultural dimension to the existing housing crisis in the study allows for the development of a more informed housing policy which can address the housing issues and further make solutions more plausible. Therefore, this study’s contribution has application to governments and professionals in the built environment. A secondary contribution to knowledge is made through the development of an “African phenomenology”. This introduces to academia the “cultural technologies” which are the survival strategies of the population in the case study. The African phenomenology has application beyond the current study as a methodological approach which incorporates the culture of a population into the process of research on the African society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available