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Urban upgrading: The self help approach

A Oladele


The emphasis on urban upgrading is borne out of the need to improve living conditions of citizens that can be categorized as urban poor. Majority of urban conurbations globally today grow in population and a multiplicity of unguided economic activities that encourage the development of informal or squatter settlements at a pace so rapid governments cannot cope, particularly in developing economies like Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. The need for urban upgrading therefore stemmed from the inadequacy of good quality housing stock and appropriate infrastructure for all categories of income earners. Metropolitan areas globally also form the hub of national growth physically, socially, culturally and economically, as such the mode of execution, financing and the eventual scope of such upgrades in the past was solely dependent on the government. After several decades of adopting this methodology with a substantial number of urban citizenry living below acceptable standards of comfort and decency, governments and citizens alike need to approach urban upgrading using multi-pronged strategies and not the unidirectional tactics that have characterized the exercise in times past. This paper seeks to address the issue of implementation of urban upgrading strategies from the perspective of self-help.

Key words: Urban upgrading, self-help.