The Changing Residential Districts of Lagos: How the Past Has Created the Present and What Can Be Done about It

Oyalowo, B.A. ; Nubi, T.G. ; Okuntola, B. ; Saibu, O. ; Muraina, O. ; Olanrewaju, B. (2019)

Scholarly article


The position of Lagos as Nigeria’s economic centre is entrenched in its colonial past. This legacy continues to influence its residential areas today. The research work provides an analysis of the complexity surrounding low-income residential areas of Lagos since 1960, based on the work of Professor Akin Mabogunje, who had surveyed 605 properties in 21 communities across Lagos. Based on existing housing amenities, he had classified them as high grade, medium grade, lower grade and low grade residential areas. This research asks: In terms of quality of neighbourhood amenities, to what extent has the character of these neighbourhoods changed from their 1960 low grade classification? This research is necessary because these communities represent the inner slums of Lagos, and in order to proffer solutions to inherent problems, it is important to understand how colonial land policies brought about the slum origins of these communities. Lessons for the future can then become clearer. The study is based on a mixed methods approach suitable for multidisciplinary inquires. Quantitative data is gathered through a survey of the communities; with findings from historical records and in-depth interviews with residents to provide the qualitative research. This paper documents the work done so far, with focus on six districts. Preliminary findings indicate that in most cases, although they have undergone significant changes from being residential areas to mixed commercial-residential districts, these districts still remain in the same physically deplorable state as they were in 1968.