Urban city Structures: The Nigeria Case (A new Model)

By nature, things capable of growth ascend or descend in particular orders, however, more evidently and inherently in the practical world which we are is that things take a wavy form.

 Great theorist associated with the growth of internal urban structures like, Earnest Burgess (1925), Chauncy Harris, Edward Ullman and Mekenzie (1945) and Homer Hoyt (1939) have made a number of platforms for explaining   what we see in our cities today however varied their theories were.

Burgess concentric zone theory gave a more orderly pattern of how people get settled. Perhaps due to the increase in population and the must to meet their needs, this theory became contorted or distorted as the case may be. Thus, Harris and Hoyt sprung up some other theories in light of this explaining what they saw and perceived the city growth was like in their time.

Briefly, the Burgess concentric zone theory explains that the city is made of 5 concentric zone, the inner most which the (Central Business District) CBD or loop, next in line is the transition zone. The industrial, middle class and high-class residential zone are in succession to the transition zone respectively.

 The CBD is a place where land is put to its highest and best use and any use impairing on this is kicked out. Thus demand actually overlaps on supply and there is a relative scarcity of land. Thus land is most expensive here as they have to give in to overpowering market pressure. The CBD is quite attributed with quite of aged and high rise building  which serves as residents for the poor people who have no commuting funds and have to deal with noise inherent in the therein  as it is an ever busy unit. Industries, offices, commercial centres are located in and around it and old residential buildings at some part for the low income employees. Examples are the old dirty buildings in Obalende and Marina which a number of people reside.  The transition unit which is more a less space welcoming for the expansion of the CBD and the next is for poor residents before the middle class and high-class zone.

Hoyt, however, explained the affinity of any land use to pre-existing infrastructures capable of enhancing it. Thus industries are located close to the railway lines; commercial centres are located along busy road arteries and so on.

The Harris theory is one that preaches more disorderliness or uniformity however it meant well. This is more a model that fits in most developing or third world countries. It explains how cities spring up in any part of the country once a condition is made right or ripe for it. It breaks the York of monopoly the CBD had as seen in the burgess theory. Settlement is a chunk of what is in a demand bag of citizen in the city and nuclei actually grows out when a  seed  that  creates supply is planted somewhere capable attracting of the people and meeting their demands.

This un-controlling of the ‘disorderliness’ (Harris theory) or freedom of a nucleus (growing CBD) is traceable to the bedrock of havoc or crisis as we have it today.

This piece tries to relate the Burgess theory more practically in light of the age as it correlates with income. Albeit, Burgess explained that the rich should live the outermost zone and that should flow-in a descending order of income, the reverse is the case we have in Nigeria. The Areas close to CBD have been used to build terrace house, mansions, duplexes, maisonette, for the high class people whereby we have the poor living miles stone away from the CBD and yet have to report to be CDB daily to meet their needs.  The Likes of Victoria Island, Ikoyi, have been use to high class residential buildings.  Thus, The CBD cannot expand, perhaps why we have the recent development of the EKO Atlantic City, and has to be scattered around giving birth to an uncalled for disorderliness. Even the old buildings being managed by the poor for resident may after some a city regeneration scheme change hands to the high class income earners. We have a huge of supply of houses for the high classers at the expense of the low income people. The inverse of this norm is what has giving birth to quite a number or crisis, inequality as we have today.

The situation of things in Nigeria is often always taking a special form. In as much as we are being given preferential treatment in most affairs pertaining to Africa, what we indeed need is special treatment for our sickness is one that deserves an intensive care unit. The Harris model ¸ which is what we ignorantly settled for is one that bears the most technicalities and is most susceptible to crisis over time as it grows if it is not management properly.  While we have endless being trying to climb out the well we felt into as a result of mismanagement we always keep falling into another ignorantly or due to the wicked motives of by our leaders. Although there should be zonal progression in order of your income as Burgess tried to preached, this is quite best considered only on the ground that income varies amongst the citizens and perhaps the difference in everyone income is stagnant of over the years

 I’m choosing to examine the practicability and possibility of Burgess Theory by the infusion of age group into his model. Although this might give rise to some modifications or bends of what Burgess postulated, one can still match up the similarities of both.

The thread of My View is typically woven with what is practical and obtainable in most developing countries like Nigeria and the best of models to be adopted in subsequent city nuclei’s which will also grow.

In an attempt to drive my point home, let us examine  a typical situation like we have in our country-the flow chart of a newly employed graduate (young age) till the date of retirement is that which takes a ‘funny’ tone.

Some of the traditionally features of a newly employed graduate is low income, high energy, low skills or experience and  a quite far distance from the CBD where is he most likely to be employed. These features actually imply that the young, perhaps gainfully, employee has to spend a huge portion of his major productive age income on transportation to work (CBD) not forgetting that the prices and system to transportation in Nigeria is appalling. Thus, he or she is under compulsion to waste a huge part of your income of very volatile expenses like transportation.

After some progress in status in his employment (perhaps age 40) he can now move a bit closer to the CBD and save a bit of transportation penny. Of course, it is the drive of anyone to leave in the best places and be more convenient so he or she is probably saving for next move.

At such employee’s executive status level in his place of employment (perhaps age 50), he can as well live close to the CBD(ikoyi or vi, Banana island) where he can now  safe enough penny and at the later times (say age 60 and above), he is most likely to retire. Couples years after that when there is not as much income or demands as it used to be, such persons starts thinking of moving out ,maybe back to the outskirt or some other  outer zones as his income permits. Thus, each zone is susceptible some form of disorderliness as the aged to be either with young, middle class, transition zone etc.

Thus period in which the emigration of people from the CBD (high class residential unit) and that which is to be occupied fully again may be a major contributor factor to the recession or downturn experienced in the property market (a fraction of the global). The CDB posses the highest value of land and the pressure of demand is greatest there. The fall or gap of the demand in the CDB goes far as significantly affecting the general property market.

The much income wasted on transportation can be aborted by a system capable of allowing such fraction of their income supposedly meant for transportation to be saved or directed  into an housing system or scheme capable to permitting the young age to living right around the CBD. It is the imbalance and lacuna created by the wastage of money on transportation for  an approximate period over 35 years over centuries of gainfully employed citizens that is contributing to the crisis in our housing sector and beyond into the global market realm.

Thus, the CBD should be inundated with high productive energy of the youth which should not be impaired by transportation.  Thus as the youth become of age and as their income rises they also begin to move a zone away and away until their retirement which shall culminate in them living in the outer zones and the cycles continues. It is understandable that given a simultaneous progress in income and age like we have in most Nigeria families, one can afford to live further away respectively.

It Should also be noted that attractions to the CDB decreases as age increases and attraction to the outer zones increases with it as we have the most natural and serene environment around there.

Although this theory is most workable giving a simultaneous correlation of income and age, the benefits are enormous;

Unsettlement:  The typical chain is for a newly employed (low income) person to move from the outer most zone , where housing is perceived cheapest and transportation highest, to the innermost zone where the high income class(old age ) live and move outwards gradually as the income diminishes. This theory allows for just as descending order whereby movement is only outward from the CBD to the outermost zone.

Cost: the cost of moment as it from the settlement is two-way incurred which can actually be way one incurred.

Dynamism: The two-way movement or settlement progression contributes to the instability ordinary characterised with the property market in the nation. Thus there is a perpetual chance for unbalance to reign in the property market.

 Finance and mortgage institution:  A system capable of making possible the saving or rightly directing the money supposedly to be used as transportation can be made materialised with effective and efficient finance and mortgage system or institution.

Longevity: The stress citizens usually undergo becomes minimal and chances or long life is increased. Also the aged are located in the best, serene, natural environment enhancing of their health.

Focus: there is platform enhancing of focus for the government. Government can provide adequate care and attention of most age class of people especially the old.

Town Planning: A model like this enhances adequate planning of the city. For examples, a number of parks can be located close to the elder zones where they need more of nature and interactions. Also the younger ones can as well play with their family. Green belts, forest zones and so one can be mapped out around this area.

Effective and Efficient Infrastructural provision:  This model makes it easy for infrastructural provisions to be allocated based on need, demand, efficiently and effectively. Elder homes can locate in the elders ‘zone.

In Summary just like Harris’s model, wherever a nucleus (city) is planted, this model can be used to manage it so also to prevent further crisis associated with cities and the economy however mature or premature they are. Also Burgess explains settlement of high income earners at the innermost zone but here is an explanation of settlement of low income earners in the CBD as it relates to age although they ultimately move outward to the outer layer as Burgess postulated. City is seen as the centre of the economy in any country and the city is saved the economy is as well saved.





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