The study was carried out on housing conditions and occupancy ratio in Okpoko urban and regional planning. The study employs quantitative descriptive research design. The data for this study were generated from two main sources; Primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources include questionnaire, interviews and observation. The secondary sources include journals, bulletins, textbooks and the internet. A systematic sampling method was adopted to select household heads from each of the six communities. The data derived from the questionnaires were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). We used descriptive statistics to examine the demographic profile of our respondents and to understand the qualitative adequacy of housing conditions in the city of Okpoko. We found that the condition of dwellings in high-density neighborhoods is indeed poor, with almost 52% of the housing units being substandard (6% dilapidated and 45.7% in need of major repairs).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Urban renewal evolved more or as a result of the Industrial Revolution which led to urban decay. The nature of such decay can be attributed to many factors which can be classified under human, economic and social factors. This phenomenon of decay is manifested more on the structures and is characterized by acute shortages with demand always more than supply. These result to cover crowding and rapid increase in rent levels. As a result of this, the urban poor who cannot afford the rent of decent structure is forced to live in shanty structures, thus the development of slum.
Other social factors which triggers urban decay includes poor sanitary conditions, congestion and the general inadequacies of social services like water and electricity supplies recreational centres, health centres and so on. According to Okeke D-C 2002, available facilities deteriorate fast and decay sets in due to over use, poor usage performance, lack of maintenance etc.
Urban renewal scheme have continued to make massive impact in the improvement of urban slum in may parts of the World (Anota, 1982). Urban renewal in its broadcast meaning is a form of reciperating change in the physical city by which the worn-out or out modeled structures and facilities in an area are replaced in response to pressure of economic and social change. Agreeing to this, Chapin 1965 therefore sees urban renewal as a process that has been going on as long as cities have existed. Urban Renewal strategies include that comprehensive clearance/ redevelopment, the rehabilitation and the conservation approach. They can be used singly or in combination of one or two considering some criteria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The truth is that there is no town that has not its own share of problems. In Nigerian, towns and cities are characterized by many problems. In Anambra State in general and Okpoko layout in Particular, one seems not notice that environmental degradation is the order to living. The area is characterized by poor quality housing unmaintained streets, poor drainage systems and the absence or lack of public services and facilities.
One of the major problems facing this community is the problem of poor road network. As a result of road network problem is the non mechanized road where passengers as well because of numerous pot holes. Such factors and its combination results to high rate of transportation and constant hold ups. The present administration in Anambra State is really doing something about this problem. Another major problem facing Okpoko is lack basic infrastructural facilities and social utilities. For example, open space which is a major facility in an urban area is not provided, the few place that were mapped out for an open space is used as a refuse dump.
Presently, the Anambra environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA) is working so hard to make Anambra State as a whole, clean. Another major problem of the study area that will be death with is housing, condition. Housing conditions will be groped into Good, fair and poor housing conditions according to some criteria.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the problems of shortage of houses in Okpoko?
- What are the environmental conditions of Okpoko?
- What is the populations structure of Okpoko inhabitants?
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study is to examine the general living conditions as well as assessing the basic conditions social services and infrastructural facilities of Okpoko with a view of making appropriate propovals of renewal strategies/ programmes that will provide decent living condition for the people. The objectives of the study includes:
- To address the problems of shortage of houses in Okpoko through renewal strategies by providing more housing units for the inhabitants of the study area.
- To examine the environmental conditions, conditions improving them through renewal strategies.
- To examine the populations structure of Okpoko inhabitants.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This is drawn in relation to the objectives. Thus:
H0: There is no significance relationship between the population of Okpoko residents and the general conditions of the basic social services and facilities.
HI: There is a significant relationship between the population of Okpoko residents and the general condition of the basic social services and facilities in Okpoko.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
From the planning point of view, the study is of great significance because it identifies the causes of urban decay and make proposal for its elimination or alleviation. The study area, Okpoko to the precise is faced with the problems of overcrowding, over use of existing social services and community facilities, obsolent and sub-standard buildings. Thus, the justification of this study is the propose a compressive approach for the alleviation of slum and the creation of an environment that is void of pollution, untidiness and eyesore.
A study on urban Renewal for Onitsha with a particular reference to Okpoko in Ogbanu local Government Area, Anambra State is of immense importance for planning purposes, academic purposes, and developmental purposes. Such research as this can enlighten the government, students, lecturer, and researchers on what could be obtained in Okpoko.
Such result can be information as well as education not just for the government but also for urban and regional planner who may apply the lesion and finding on their planning programme.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this project and the time framework, this dissertation will be based on the housing conditions, transportation network, basic social services and infrastructural facilities obtainable in Okpoko.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS
The most research work, a lot of terminologies and / or professional jargons are often used to achieve comprehensive understanding of the work.
Definition of terms in this sense becomes imperative more so when one considers the fact that the readers on such works might have their professional orientation in their disciplines. Such terms therefore, requires special definitions to give a clear cut meaning with regards to the context in which they are applied. In this work, the terms urban, Urban renewal, strategy, upgrading, blight, slum, neighbourhood, conveys specific meanings. These are stated here under to avoid confusion while going through the work.
Though, there is no agreement among experts as the most appropriate definition of what constitutes an urban area. However, a more summarized definition of the term which suites out purpose here is that given by Mabogunje (1963), Using population index as a base, he definition an “urban” as any compact settlement with a population of 20,000 or more, which in addition will have to posses those other attributes of urban area such as large densely built up area, heterogeneity of population, specialization of economic activities and large portion of population in non agricultural pursuits, sophisticated way of life much dives from rural norms and independent government within a large policy.
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defined “renewal as to given new life and freshness. The Chambers 20th Century Dictionary sees renewal as a process of renovating, transforming to new life, reviving, beginning again, making again, restoring, regenerating etc
Synthesizing the two terms, “urban” and “renewal” urban renewal has therefore been described as a deliberate effort to change the environment through planned large scale of existing areas to meet present and future requirements for urban living and working (Grebler, 1965).
The term “strategy’ as used here is a denoted plan of action for solving planning problems in our urban areas.
This is used in this work to mean raising the status, quality, value etc of the living conditions of the urban or city.
The work ‘blight” is a term used to denote the deteriorating conations which have been renewed. It is specifically referred to the deterioration of a dwelling unit below acceptable standard.
According to the United States Housing Act of 1937, slum in defined as a an area where dwellings, predominate which by reason of dilapidation overcrowding, faulty, arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, poor sanitation conditions, or any combinations of these factors is detrimental to the safety, health, welfare or morals of the people.
Neighborhood here implies a residential layout within an urban setting in which the resident have common and convenient access to a number of public services and facilities such as schools, playgrounds, shopping center etc. The development layout of this idea was first put forward by Clearance Perry (1910) which he explained in detail in one of his works. “a neighborhood is a primary school district.