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Land is a basic natural resource on which man depends for survival; land-man ratio in the world has reduced due to factors such as unplanned settlements and high population pressure on the previously reserved lands. Informal settlements is a residential areas where a group of housing units has been constructed on land to which the occupants have no legal claim, or which they occupy illegally; unplanned settlements and areas where housing is not in compliance with current planning and building regulations. This study assesses the effects of informal settlement on Urban Land Use, in Orita-Obele, Akure, Ondo State. The owners of affected properties in the selected areas of uncommitted location which are 200, Registered Estate Surveyors and Valuers are 23 and 4 Senior Staff of Bureau of Lands, Department of Town Planning were gotten using simple random sampling techniques. The information collected was analyzed using Descriptive Statistics method. The results reveals among others that large percentage of people living in an informal settlement were self-employed, more than half of the sampled respondents were living in a room in Ire-Akari Estate 1and 11 and It was equally revealed in the research that planning rules and regulations were not complied with by property owners as the area is an uncommitted area where no planning approval has not be given to any of the occupants. It was recommended among others that The Town and Country Planning Department should strictly enforce the land planning regulations at the study area. All residents who go contrary to the land planning regulations should be given a specific time-frame to make the necessary corrections, measures should be taken by the government to address low level income, rural-urban migration and poor education at study area. Traditional authorities should give attention to cultural factors which contribute to the growth of unauthorised structures at study area. On the whole, regularization should be the lasting solution that needs to be provided in order to correct the mess that the residents of Ire-Akari Estate 1 and 11 are facing now and to this end immediate action should be taking.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Land is a basic natural resource on which man depends for survival. However, according to Verheye (1997), land-man ratio in the world has reduced due to factors such as unplanned settlements and high population pressure on the previously reserved lands. Land is a fulcrum on which all-human endeavors rest. It is a fertile ground from which the whole of human activities stem. Its usage, management and administration, therefore, reflect the complexity and sophistication of any society. Land is universally available both where man has explored and where man is yet to conquer. Despite this abundance of land, it is relatively scarce for man’s utilization and enjoyment. In developing countries, much of the land in urban areas is occupied by the poor or the disadvantaged. The seeming scarcity has led to scrambles for its possession among men (Lookman, 2010). It has become a tool of imperialism in feudalist nations and a critical factor of production and valuable resources in economic growth and national development of nations (Ogunleye, 2008).
Bello (2009) notes that informal settlements develop because there exits some urban poor who desire at least a roof over their heads but their income and high cost land have pushed them to where they are, and called home, where you and I called informal settlement. According to Srinivas, (2003) informal settlements are characterized by unauthorized use of vacant public or private land, illegal subdivision and/or rental of land, unauthorized construction of structures and buildings, reliance on low cost and locally available scrap construction materials, absence of restrictive standards and regulations, reliance on family labor and artisanal techniques for construction, non-availability of mortgage or any other subsidized finance. Furthermore Informal settlements, can be defined as residential areas where a group of housing units has been constructed on land to which the occupants have no legal claim, or which they occupy illegally; unplanned settlements and areas where housing is not in compliance with current planning and building regulations(UN-HABITAT, 2003). These established informal settlements have various effects on the social and economic welfare of the occupants and on the general performance of the land market (Brayan, 2010).
Sequel to the above, Aluko and Amidu, (2006) estimated that between 20 and 80 percent of urban dwellings in developing countries is occupied by the poor or low income earners. The poor, unable to cope with the high standard of living and high cost of building in urban areas have resulted in putting up sub-standard structures. The end result is the proliferation of unauthorized structures in many urban centres. In relation to the above, informal land use is characterized by unauthorized use of vacant public or private land, illegal subdivision and/or rental of land, unauthorized construction of structures and buildings, reliance+ on low cost and locally available scrap construction materials, absence of restrictive standards and regulations, reliance on family labour and artisanal techniques for construction, non-availability of mortgage or any other subsidized finance (Srinivas, 2003). Funmilayo (2012) is of the opinion that urban areas, the pace and scale of the growth have outstripped the capacity to maintain acceptable standards of public health, physical infrastructural development, environmental safety and sustainable economic growth, therefore reducing the housing quality and quality of life in general problems.
Nevertheless, the essence of land use planning is to ensure that urban activities are organised and developed in physical space with due consideration for protection of public interest which include health, safety, convenience, efficiency, energy conservation, environmental quality, social equity, social choice and amenity Ajibola, Olaniyan & Simon (2012). Herbert & Thomas, 1982; Oduwaiye, 2001; Obateru, (2004) as cited in Oni and Adebayo (2011) opined that the prominent urban and peri-urban land uses are residential, commercial, industrial and transportation; and it has been argued that residential takes the largest percentage of about 60% of any urban land use, industrial use has been assigned 10 percent of the city land use. It is against this backdrop that this project seeks to assess the effect of informal settlement on urban land use and the benefit such could offers specific investor and government policy makers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Living in informal settlements often poses significant risks on health, education and well-being. Access to health and other services may be limited; overcrowding can contribute to stress, violence and increased problems of drugs and other social problems (Funmilayo, 2012). Furthermore Social infrastructure, like water supply, sanitation, electricity, roads and drainage; schools, health centers, market places are below minimum levels. Water supply, for instance, to individual households may be absent, or community stand pipes may have been provided, using either the city networks, or a hand pump itself. Informal networks for the supply of water may also be in place. Similar arrangements may be made for electricity, drainage and toilet facilities with little dependence on public authorities (UN-HABITAT, 2003).
Land use or physical planning has also been described as a process aimed at achieving orderly physical development with the overall aim of evolving a functional and liveable environment where individual and common goals can be achieved (Adeagbo 1998). The American Planning Association (2011) states that the goal of land-use planning is to further the welfare of people and their communities by creating convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive environments for present and future generations. The prominent urban and peri-urban land uses are residential, commercial, industrial and transportation; and it has been argued that residential takes the largest percentage of about 60% of any urban land use, industrial use has been assigned 10 percent of the city land use (Oni and Adebayo, 2011). But this is against, as the layout plan is not approved neither observing the zoning principle. Houses were not built to standard likewise the existing once were haphazardly arranged.
In developing countries, preliminary identification of case studies confirms that completed titling programmes are very limited. In urban and peri – urban areas, programmes in progress are frequently encountering considerable implementation delays. Reducing land tenure insecurity is seen as a legitimate role for the state, and often as a cost effective intervention. Formalization is particularly attractive where indigenous systems are weak or absent, where the return on investment in land is high, and where collateralized lending has taken hold. In most sub – Saharan Africa, however, none of these conditions apply, leading some to question the wisdom of registering land and widely distributing land titles (Jacoby and Minten, 2005).
Due to the population explosion and urban expansion in developing countries, spontaneous or illegal settlements have arisen in most cities. These settlements often appeared as the only alternative for people to find affordable shelter. They provide a high proportion of the housing in urban areas. In some cities, over 50% of the total urban population lives in such settlements. They have developed in different cultures, political context and with different names. In some cities, people occupy land owned by government or state, while elsewhere people buy land and construct illegally. In spite of the differences, illegal settlements all lack basic infrastructure and the physical structures are unplanned. They are not covered by urban legislation or public housing policy (Mercado and Uzin, 1996). Consequently, there is need to carry out this study to in order to identify factors responsible for informal settlements and to economically empowered the urban poor in order to be able to access to site and services plot.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions are considered pertinent for the purpose of this research: -
i) What are the causes of informal settlements?
ii) What are the characteristics of informal settlement?
iii) What are the measures taking in eradicating informal settlement in the study area?
iv) What are the major urban land uses in the study area?
v) What are the effects of informal settlement on land transaction in the study area?
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this research is to examine the effect of informal settlement on urban land use in Orital-Obele area of Akure, Ondo State, with a view to regulate uneven distribution of land use has caused by informal settlement In achieving this aim, the following objectives are to:
i) identify the causes of informal settlement in the study area
ii) identify the characteristics of informal settlement
iii) assess the measures taking in eradicating informal settlement in the study area
iv) identify the major urban land uses in the study area
v) examine the effects of informal settlement on land transaction in the study area
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study centre on the effect of informal settlement on urban land use in Orita-Obele area of Akure, Ondo State. The restriction to the study area was informed by the form of inability of the owners of properties in Orita-Obele area of Akure, Ondo State to process formal documents on their properties and improper use of land which has resulted to lowing the economic value of their properties. It will thus serve as a good ground in dealing decisively with the subject matter as it would help to examine opinions and supply background and foundation to this study. However, for manageability and thorough analysis, the study is restricted to Ire-Akari I & II Orita-Obele area of Akure, Ondo State where regularization of land title will be undertaking. This area is chosen because of haphazard development of properties and non-implementation of building codes.
It is important to state that other issues like urban renewal, primary health care, population management being handled by various government departments are outside the scope of this study for obvious reasons.
1.6 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
There have been several studies on informal settlement with a little on effect of uncommitted informal settlement on urban land use by many scholars in countries like the United Kingdom, Africa, and United States of America. Funmilayo (2012) carried out a study on housing quality in informal settlements and urban upgrading in Ibadan, Nigeria using descriptive statistic. The study reveals that the informal settlements have serious adverse effects on the people’s health, their built environment and housing quality. This study will make a further improvement by categorically examine housing quality and urban land use
Nabutola (2004) extensively discuss the need in upgrading informal settlements in kenya rural and urban area according to his study he discovered that nine million people in the rural areas have no decent housing, while the urban areas have three million. So out of a total of 31.5 million people (2003 figures) in Kenya today 12 million have no houses, roughly about 38 %. In the colonial days these would be rounded up and locked up for a crime referred to as vagrancy. When released, they would still have nowhere to go! The majority of these are children, women and old persons of either sex.
Antony (2005) carried out a study on land tenure management system in informal settlements a case study of Nairobi the study reveal that informal land tenure system are acceptable and legitimate for the needs of informal settlement residence; land ownership records in informal settlement are accurate, up to date and complete.
Bello (2009) investigate on squatter settlement, accessibility of land and the urban poor and he recommends land reform that will not put the urban poor at a disadvantageous position with regard to access to land. Also, to ensure availability of funds for upgrading of the existing squatter settlements, Public - Private - Partnership is recommended. This study will consider the relationship between informal settlement and urban land use. It is believed that several studies have been carried out on informal settlement with a little or none on uncommitted informal settlement.
Therefore, this study intends to examine the effect of informal settlement on urban land use in uncommitted area. This study therefore seeks to fill the gap that exists in the studies.
1.7 THE STUDY AREA
Orita-Obele is a traditional town in Akure, Ondo State and like other Yoruba towns in the country existed long after the advent of the British colonial rule in the country. The town is located within Ondo State in the south western part of Nigeria. It lies approximately on latitude 70 151 North of the Equator and longitude 50 151 East of the Greenwich meridian. Orita-Obele is a medium-sized town. The increased relative political influence of Akure as a State capital since 1976 has greatly promoted rapid growth and increased socio-economic activities of Orita-Obele resulting in its spatial expansion from an area of about 0.76 squares kilometers in 1980 to about 3 square kilometers in 2000 (Ministry of Works, Lands & Housing 2000). The population of the town grew from 1,002 in 1952 to 1,123 in 1963. It population was estimate to be 12,050 in 1980 (DHV, 1985). The 1991 National Population Census (NPC) puts the population of Orita-Obele at 39,304. However, based on the last census conducted in 2006, the town population was put at 53,431 (National Population Commission 2006). At present using a growth rate of 3 percent, the city is estimated to have over 55, 033 people.
Orita-Obele, as a suburb of Akure, is experiencing economic growth which is evident in all the sectors. Investors have being diverting their funds into real property development especially in hostel accommodation within the town, due to the profitability and stability of the market.
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