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Title: Understanding the complexity of factors which influence livelihoods of the urban poor in Lagos' informal settlements
Authors: Olajide, Oluwafemi Ayodeji
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In recent times, there has been a renewed effort to improve the living conditions and alleviate poverty of informal settlements dwellers in Lagos through land regularisation, which is expected to grant formal title to every land owner within informal settlements. However, this study argues that the urban poor in Lagos are faced with various vulnerabilities and deprivations, which go beyond issues of legal title and security of tenure. Understanding these various dimensions of vulnerabilities and deprivations are important to developing a holistic and sustainable strategic framework for poverty reduction in Lagos. This argument is in line with the current global thinking that policy frameworks for poverty alleviation need to pursue an inclusive strategy, which simultaneously takes into consideration poverty in all its dimensions, as well as the aspirations and needs of the poor. Against this background, through the lens of the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA), based on four informal settlements across Lagos, the study examines the issues of livelihoods in informal settlements. The study explores the interplay between location, tenure, policies and livelihoods. In particular, the study focuses on how these factors interplay with livelihood vulnerability and access to assets, and the implications for sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation strategies. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach provides a framework which integrates various dimensions of poverty. This framework supports a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research design and data collection methods. For the purpose of this research, both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods have been used, which included household surveys, household indepth interviews, key informant interviews, direct observation and published documents. The use of multiple methods provided valuable information on livelihood assets and vulnerabilities of the urban poor in Lagos’ informal settlements. The study reveals that the urban poor have inadequate access to livelihoods assets. This inadequacy is manifested in both the quantity (generally limited) and quality (generally poor) of livelihood assets. The study further reveals that, apart from the generic vulnerabilities, urban poor in different locations across Lagos face context (location) specific vulnerabilities, which are, often, either not understood by policymakers or are deliberately over looked, as not important, when formulating and implementing urban development policies. There is a disconnection between urban development policies, and the realities, aspirations and needs of the poor. Institutions, including government, policy makers and urban planners, through various economic, ii environmental and urban development policies, work against the ingenuity of the urban poor, thereby undermining their efforts to building a sustainable livelihood and moving out of poverty. This study, therefore, suggests that poverty alleviation should be based on a policy framework that guarantees inclusive provision of livelihood assets, as well as reduces vulnerability and enables institutions to accommodate and support the complex realities of the urban poor. This will only be possible within the context of good governance.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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