(Re)inventing the (Non)role of Designers in Low-income Housing Production in the Developing World: A Case Study in Nigeria

By Babatunde Jaiyeoba and Abimbola Asojo.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Traditionally building houses was a common place activity that involved the family and community. It reflected the socio-cultural organization of the society. Today, every human activity including housing has become commercialized. In fact houses have become products in the market place. It involves a chain of professionals all contributing to seemingly solve the housing problem according to a point of view. Another extreme point of view suggests that professional involvement in industrialized housing provision guarantees the problem continues to exist. The fact on ground in the developing world including Nigeria is that many more people still provide housing for themselves. This is even truer for low-income people. In many places including urban areas, poor people continue to build houses without public and institutional support. Governments seem to have lost initiative by providing ‘affordable’ houses rather than the earlier ‘low cost’ or ‘low income’ houses. This paper thus emanates from a larger study to understand how poor people build without government support and conceive low income housing as socially produced. It studies low-income housing through the lens of Henri Lefebvres theory of space. The study examined the people, the houses produced and the processes adopted while situating all in the social context. The participants including level of professional participation were also examined. The paper presents the findings in this case and makes recommendations on how designers can participate in this people’s process.

Keywords: Low-income, Housing, Developing World

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 9, Issue 3, September, 2015, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 858.316KB).

Dr. Babatunde Jaiyeoba

Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Environmental Design and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria

Dr. Abimbola Asojo

Associate Professor of Interior Design, College of Design,, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA