EFFECTS OF URBAN RENEWAL ON WOMEN'S ROLE

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ABSTRACT

This project work is aimed at finding out the extent to which the family role of women isaffected by the newest innovation - urban renewal in our contemporary society today especially in Lagos State - as one of the fastest growing cities in the world Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area was chosen because of its metropolitan nature of the area. Based on the information obtained through personal interview and questionnaire the conclusiondrawn is that, the urban life is saturated by availability of infrastructural facilities and other social amenities - which makes life more comfortable than that which obtains in the rural areas. In the same vein it was also gathered that, single parent mothers and others who are their family breadwinners are much more affected by consistent urban renewal consequently running their source of livelihood. Finally, the research findings set the platform for probable solutions as recommendations for the study.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Africa has the highest levels of urbanization but the least urbanized when compared with other regions of the world. In 2009, almost 40% of African population lived in urban areas (UN­HABITAT, 2010). By 2050, the Africa's urban population is estimated to triple to over one billion (UN-HABITAT, 2010). In most countries, a high rate of urbanization combined with consistent economic decline over the last two decades has resulted in a rapid increase in the number of urban poor. In sub-Saharan African countries, it is estimated that more than 40% of urban residents are living in poverty (Aluko and Amidu, 2006). These factors contribute to the increasing informal developments in African cities; Nigeria inclusive.

Currently, about 43% of Nigerians live in urban centres. Modem urbanization in Nigeria has been dominated by the growth of a single primate city, the political and commercial hub of the nation, Lagos. Rural - urban migration from other parts of the country into Lagos has been the major determinant for this high rate of urban population growth resulting in proliferation of slums and squatter settlements, high rate of unemployment, etc. It is estimated that between 20 and 80% of urban growth 'in developing countries is informal, usually inhabited by the low income people (Aluko and Amidu, 2006).

In view of the above background, this study examines the effects of urban renewal on women's role in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State. In recent times, Lagos state government in south- western Nigeria embarked on urban renewal development programme with the aim of making the state one of the mega cities in the world. The process of urban renewal witnessed the demolition of market stalls, illegal spaces, and structures all around the city. Some group of people selling on the streets, sidewalk had been forcefully evicted from their selling points. Women were mostly affected by the recent demolitions and destructions of market spaces in the city. The study views that those affected are likely to be vulnerable to many challenges as they are confronted with this new development.

Lagos Road construction project - sponsored by the world Bank in conjunction with the Lagos State Government housing projects on the Island, (Lekki and Victoria Island etc.) and vacant lots as the outcome of incomplete projects. Urban renewal's effect on actual revitalization is a subject of intense debate. It has been seen by proponents as an economic engine and a reform mechanism and by opponents as a regressive mechanism for enriching the wealthy at the expense of tax payers and the poor. It carries a higher cost to existing communities and in many cases resulted in the destruction of vibrant neighborhoods (UN, 2008).

Urban renewal in its original form has been called a failure by many urban planners and civic leaders and has since been reformulated with a focus on redevelopment of existing communities. However, many cities link ~e revitalization of the central business district and gentrification of residential neighborhoods to earlier urban renewal programs. Over time urban renewal evolved into a policy based less on destruction wore on renovation and investment and today is an integral part of many local governments, often combined with small and big business incentives. But even in this adapted form, urban renewal projects are widely accused of abuse and corruption. Lagos State (PDP) People Democratic Party members petitioned the (EFCC) Economic and Financial Crime Commission to probe the Lagos State Government under the leadership of (SAN) Babatunde Raji Fashola for the numerous ongoing construction projects in Lagos State on the grounds of corruption. ( Guardian Newspapers (March 10,2010).

Urban renewal can be traced conceptually back to the earliest days of urban development and often stems from a paternalistic style of governance, albeit one which often uses utilitarian rhetoric. Its potential value as a process was noted by those who witnessed the inhumane and overcrowded conditions of 19th century London, New York, Paris and other major cities of the developed world affected by the industrial revolution. From this a slum reform agenda grew by which advocates and reformers, using a doctrine of environmental determinism, argued that reforming a degraded environment would reform its residents. Such reform could be argued on religious, national security, compassionate, economic and many other grounds. (Guardian Newspapers March 10, 2010).

Meanwhile, the pertinent question now is how has urban renewal affected women roles in Lagos State? Starting from Ajaegbu (2006), the role of a woman in the society, nation and in the family may be explained in different categories depending on the status and circumstances. In the family for example, the natural role of a woman does not only end in the kitchen fetching daily meals for the husband and children but includes procreation - which cannot be avoided either consciously or unconsciously. However in recent time due to proliferation in the practice and acceptance of civilization in our society, the distributions of responsibilities in the family are now shared between married couples. The roles of the man in recent time have been taken over by the woman. The emergences of economic depression and inflationary exigencies have compelled an inevitable change negatively on family role of women, (Nigerian Daily Times, Thursday 21, 2010).

In any society therefore, where these changes have occurred, there is always an attendant effect on the society and its people, This study therefor, investigates the impact of this kind of change ­urban renewal on the family role of women in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State. Nonetheless, the observation of the outgoing reconstruction and construction exercises in Lagos State is a programme; of development which is intended to benefit the residents of Lagos State under a well structure and planned road network, housing, electrification project, pipe borne ­water, transportation and many more This however requires an investigation as to how these developmental exercise impact on the family especially on the role of a woman.

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Rapid urbanization and particularly the growth of large cities, and the associated problems of urban slums, degraded environment, inadequate health services, unemployment, and poverty have emerged as major socio-economic issues with potentially important political implications in developing countries. According to World Bank Report, (1991) by the year 2000, nearly 45% of the 5.1 billion population of the developing countries wil1live in urban areas and more than 49 third World Cities are expected to have a population of Over 4 million. In Africa, only a small proportion of the urban population (9 percent) currently. live in large cities, with a population of more than 4 million but by the year 2025 it could have the highest percentage (33 percent) of all continents (Ugwu,2005: 191). This alarming rate of urbanization has led to very serious difficulties in providing people with a decent level of living culminating in the urban crisis which manifests itself in ways which include overcrowding, or congestion, poor and substandard housing, development of slums, stark extremes of wealth and poverty, exploitation of rural lands, and people for the benefit of the cities, traffic paralysis and a host of social vices or aberrations and inadequate and unreliable infrastructural services and so on (Udenta: 1991:90).

The implications of these demographic trends for community development are staggering. In Lagos State studies have shown that nearly half of the population is living in slum and quarter settlements. According to Ugwu (2005), more than one quarter of the inhabitants in most large cities are estimated to be living in absolute poverty. Lack of access to social services such as education, and health leads to higher fertility accompanied by high infant mortality amongst the urban poor, particularly amongst the slum dwellers. From the above scenario, it is very clear that government alone cannot meet the social needs of the people. It is also clear that urban population growth poses a lot of problems to urban management especially where there is severe shortage of resources to provide social amenities. Thus, the issue of encouraging people's participation in the decision-making and implementation of development progammes become necessary. According to Ugwu, (2005) the major reason for local government creation and various reforms is to encourage active participation of the citizens in the community development process at the grassroots.

One of the factors inhibiting community development in Nigeria is the fact that the local citizens have often not been mobilized to participate in rural development. This fact contributes immensely to the lack of political support by majority of the rural populace for government sponsored development programmes. For instance, a major reason for the previous local government reforms is to encourage active participation of the citizens in the political process at the grassroots. However, most the development programme fails because the local governments have failed to live up to their responsibility of mobilizing the citizens to participate in the decision-making process of development programmes. Because of this fact, the community of interest that should exist in development efforts is absent. The result is a general apathy and hostility. In Lagos State today, for example, only governments' (federal or State or Local Government) sponsored projects are commonly sighted around. This also justified the reasons for low community development.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of urban renewal programme on the family role of woman in Amuwo odofin Local Government Area Lagos. The city is usually composed of large population and diverse kind of family settings with different family orientation. The role of the women in a family cannot be over emphasized in the upkeep of the children and the husbands especially when it involves a large family - the responsibility becomes even more complex, except the existing system is typified by organized structures within the social milieu.

1.3      RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.  What are roles of women in the urban family setting?

2.  How effective are women in discharging their responsibility in the face of challenges posed by-urban renewal?

3.  What are the coping strategies adopted in responses to the challenges posed by urban renewal?

4.  What has been the impact on the welfare of members of their households?

1.4      AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The primary aim of this study is to examine the effects of urban renewal on women roles on their household welfare. The other specific objectives of this study are to;

(i)     Assess the role of the woman in the family,

(ii)    Assess how a woman's responsibilities are affected by urban renewal.

(iii) Examine the nature of urban renewal on the affected life style of the affected families.

1.5      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Lagos State happens to be one of the largest cities in the Sub-Saharan Africa. It also has fifty six (56) local government areas and local development councils to manage and caters for the people at the grass root level. The state is been governed by the executive governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and Adefulure Orelope as the deputy governor. The temperature of Lagos State as shown in the Lagos State map (1992) portrays the tendency to increase over the years. It has been noted that the increase is traceable to increase in the rate of urbanization consequent upon built - up and face left of the entire state. Rainfall has shifted a bit from its quantity about thirty 30 years ago. Rainfall still maintains its season from April - October; however dry season which used to be mild is being felt more than before. The study is expedient and significant to enable scholars and other nation reflect more on the various variables that could enhance the standard of living of the people and those that can projects have negative impacts on the uses of people. It will also serve as a guide into policy making and implementations in the on-going reconstruction exercise in Lagos State.

1.6      SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF STUDY

Lagos State comprises of five (5) divisions namely; Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos Island and Epe, Mainland (IBILE). This divisions have twenty (20) local government areas and thirty - six (36) local development council areas - totally fifty - six ( 56) - Lagos state has been acclaimed to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world with about fourteen million people (14million) as its population ( NPC (2005).This is a figure which matches the United Nations Organization's recommendation for Lagos State as a fast growing metropolis aside China (Asia) Lagos State is highly and densely populated with people and families from the different Ethnic and cultural back grounds. Due to limited time frame and financial constraint, this study is limited to Amuwo odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.7      DEFINITION OF TERMS

Urban: is a term used to pertaining to a city or a town. Urbanism could be seen as a way of life (with, 1957) the experience of rapidly increasing numbers of people.

Renewal: Connotes transformation of something. It involves the restricting, re-arrangement, replacement exercise.

Urban Renewal: In the study connotes urban regeneration. It is the process of land development in the areas of moderate to high density urban land use.

Family: In the study is conceptualized to mean the unit which comprise of the father, mother and the children - who are brothers and sisters.

Role: In this study means the functions, duties, and responsibilities of somebody.

Woman: In this study a woman is described as the adult female human being with feminine characteristics different from that of a man.

Sociological: In this study means theories and issues that are concerning scientific study of the nature and development of society and social behavior.

Impact: In this study means a strong impression or effect of something on somebody. The whole of the globe and are not confirmed to geographically limited areas.

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