The Effect of Slum on Property Values in Nigeria



The term slum has no single definition but what is apparent is that there is general consensus that slum cannot be hidden as what constitute slum needs no further interpretation to an observation. Slum is defined as a street or district of old building in a poor duty condition often crowded with people. The buildings are structurally most unsatisfactory and unhealthy for human habitation.

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They are not adequately ventilated, sanitation is virtually nil and in most of these areas there is black, dirty, sinking and stagnant water along he streets and in the drains. There is usually inadequate means of waste and refuse disposal and the streets are too narrow and winding. Slum can equally be defined as a dirty, mean, poor in appearance, back street or district of a city (Oxford Dictionary 5th ed) see a typical example of Aguowa slum overleaf.


The ways in which people perceive the natural environment of their cities, develop and use it will reflect much about their equality of life (Onoker Hange 1984). Also, John P. Marcey and Charles Vivian Banker 19 in the book titled “Housing Management” opined that before a house could be regarded as habitable for human being it must be in good repair conditions, adequate stability, shaft from damp, good internal arrangement, natural lightening satisfactory good drainage and sanitary conditions of the environment”. This means that any building or living environment shaft of these standards passes as unfit for human habitation, and can best be described as “Slum”.


From the attribute discussed above a slum area is largely in habited by people who have migrated from other areas. Sociologically, it is a way of life, a sub – cultural, with a set of norms and values, which is reflected in poor sanitation and health practices, deviant behaviours and characterized by attributes of apathy and social ills.


The studies carried out by removed environmentalist revealed that the third world countries such as Nigeria have two types of environmentally degraded areas. The study revealed the first of such slum area as the squatter settlement which is characterized by uncontrolled substandard temporary dwellings described urban slums in Chile as housing the poorest of the poor the unemployed, the unskilled, and illiterate and often the alcoholics, the vagabond and the delinquents.



These are the product of the combined affects of physical and economic attributes and people from different neighourbhoods fear to visit the environment at night as a result of high degree of crime rate. The social attributes of slum is theoretically founded on the works of the following authors namely Moerizic, part and Burgess of the Chicago school of social ecologists, 1920’s. Their work hugged on explanation of social behaviours in terms of environmental determinism. It his, viewed the area as the “zones of deterioration” which largely meant that slum dwelling areas were noted as generators of social deviation (Odongo 979, p. 33). Also, studies conducted in Ghana, Uganada, Philippines and Venezuela by Clinard and Abbot (1973 showed a significant degree of correlation between slum hosing and deviant behaviour.


Slum dwellers are mostly of the lowest income groups, with high unemployment and low wages. There is a conterminous him steel and bustle for economic emancipation, and work patterns are prove to be irregular. A greater percentage of slum dwellers are engaged as labourers, often engaged in mean work to irk out a living. These jobs often do not attract fair and good wages, hence the employees cannot save or feed well, not to think of planning for the future.

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Thus Porters (1971), in a note unit pail passage has described urban slum in while as housing the poorest of the poor, the unemployed unskilled and illiterate and often the alcoholic, the vagabond and the delinquents


There is also political attributes which follows from the economic and social attributes, and this views the slum environmental as an enclosure for nurturing toast, political radicalism and violence. The argument have is that the socio economic hardships and poor living. Conditions could be a potential time bomb which could erupt easily into political radicalism and violence. (Porters, 1971).

Then it concluded that from the attributes and, or perspectives this, above discussed that the environment largely inhabited by people who migrated from outside the area concerned. Houses erected in these slum areas are illegal since there is not approval from the town planning authority. There is also the second type of slum area, which can be taken as legal, permanent dwellings which have deteriorated and became obsolescent through age, lack of good maintenance, or subdivision into micro occupational unite such as rooms, cubits or Cockloft (Drakaks – Smitt 1981. p 25) Therefore the physical attributes perspectives is identified by the features have under outlined.             

  1. Dilapidated buildings and structures erected under unsanitary environment.
  2. Houses erected in a back to back manner with no defined space for cross ventilation.
  3. Congestion of population both on land, buildings and the neighborhood determinating.
  4. Circulation system is either incomplete state of neglect or totally lacking.

Finally, the environmental implication of the social, economic and political perspectives of slum arising is the precipitation of decayed physical environments and coupled with demographic and other environmental and structural problems.


Udo (1978) traced the growth of Enugu to coal mining. He showed how the coal camp was developed to house miners. Consequently, displaced farmers in the rural area started migrating from the rural area to the coal city and hence the genesis of slum.

Although the age and quality of the initial buildings are relevant to the slum formation, they are not the only factors. Two areas of housing built at the same time and of the same quality may show significant differences in their rate of deterioration. The following are the main factors that have government slum formation in the U. K. as identified by Martin (1977, pp. 279 – 274).

  1. a) Diseconomies external to the house but internal to the area.
  2. b) Encroachment of non – housing uses.
  3. c) Diseconomies generated by uses external to the area.
  4. d) Intensity of use.        
  5. e) Controls on rents and security of tenure
  6. f) Low income
  7. g) The problem of depreciating/deteriorating public services in city centers.
  8. h) Planning blight.       

          Martins (1977, pp 279 – 294) explained each of these factors, mostly in their most obvious ways that the quality of the neighborhood, in terms of used infrastructures, uses, governing ordinance and planning efforts focused to managing the estate environments employ a lot of things for the properties of the estate.



The phenomenon slums have been identified in various ways by different authors.  According to Egorn Bergal, 1965, slum can be classified in the following three ways.

  1. The original slum
  2. The departure slum
  • The slums of transition

Here the environment at its early period is marked with very unsuitable buildings and this requiring clearance and redevelopment. This type of slum is observed in Wichita, Mexico.


This type of slum is occasioned by the mass movement of middle and upper class families to other areas. As a result of lack of maintenance and regular repairs the area became deteriorated. Typical examples are found in parts of USA, and in Nigeria (e.g. coal camp, Ogui urban area and Agu Owa).


          This arose from blight which emerges around the central business district. There is evidence of rapid deterioration of the physical and social environment. Most residents of this area are usually transient touts, habitual beggars, alcoholics, criminals, drug addicts and homeless people.     

There are also other four types of slum as were recognized by Strokes (1962) these include: –

  1. Slum of Hope with Escalators: These types of slum are temporary in nature. Here the inhabitants nurture the hope of vacating the area for more better places. This is very common in GUAYAOUIL, ECUADON’S LARGEST CITY.
  2. Slum of Despair with Escalator classes: This class of slum accommodates a group of longer residents. There were for them no fore seeable means of vacating the area since they are made up of largely unemployed and unskilled which can be found in BOSTON SOUTH END, ENGLAND.
  • Slum of Despair with now escalator classes: These slum area and type are inhabited by persons who are reside here indefinitely as they lack opportunities of shifting to a more better pace. An example of this is the INDIAN SHACK SETTLEMENT, PERU.
  1. Slum of hope with non escalator classes: This type of slum is usually occupied by fresh migrants to the city who have not got the means of bettering their conditions. Meanwhile, there are not imminent hopes of their vacating the area for more better neighborhoods, and life have borders on oppressiveness. This is a typical example of NEGRO slum area of CHICAGO SOUTH SIDE.

In spite of the abhor able negative impact of slum of housing accommodating, human health and the environment, slum plays the following functions which are considered useful in the city according t Bergel and other authors on this subject.        

  1. Education for new immigrants

          The new aerials to the city who have no other place to stay in the larger section of ten fund resources to the squatter settlement. He first get acculturated have on the way of life of the city dwellers and how to interest to make a comfortable and successful city living

  1. Accommodation for the poor

          The low income earners, fortune seekers and adventures who immigrates to the city with no person or relation to stay with often find a slum area more economic I to secure accommodation.


  1. Sources of unskilled and semi skilled labour

          The slum area usually provides affordable rental accommodations of a these class of people, most of whom engage in menial jobs, brick layers, apprentices, etc.

  1. Promotes group association

The members of slum area or district usually know each other, interest in close association, fight for common cause, nature the same attitude and sentiments to social situations and also they feel deposed and down – graded by those living in well planned and elated areas.     

  1. Refuse or hideouts for criminals

          Slum areas are notorious for harboring arch criminals, miscreants people of questionable means, drug addicts, prostitutes, and characters which are threat to the society.

  1. Sources of income for slum land lords

Since the mean aim for the continuous existence of slum dwellings is because the slum dwellers are not able to pay for better alternative accommodations, the slum landlords surprisingly charge high rents as a result of high demand despite the fact that these building standards, and often not in tenantable repairs. According to Bergel, slum landlords are seriously in profitable business.


The sporadic growth of urban population has been blamed for the poor environment condition in most cities of the developing countries of the world. According to Dr. Raine Ojikutuk an environmentalist, population growth is inimical and a serious threat to healthy living and if not properly checked, it could result to unprecedented increase ion slum area, food poising and shortage, dysentery typhoid and malnutrition (Business Times, June 16, 1997, p. 28). He further opined that drinking water supplies, sewage disposal, refuse collection, disease prevention measured, and primary health care were inadequate as a result of the trend.

  1. a) Slum as a product of urban spiral to fringes

          The word “sprawl” is a process of urban growth in which a city invades the surrounding hinter kind.

In Aguowa area the growth of settlement could be referred or commend to which to what HARVEY AND CLARK (1965) CALLED LEAP FROG SPRAWL”. They constructed that slums developed in the process of uncontrolled urban sprawl whiles urban is measures as a movement over time, composed of areas of essentially urban character located at the urban fringe or periphery but which are scattered or surrounded by or adjacent to undeveloped pre – exactly agro –based village settlement.

  1. Slum as a socio – cultural traditionalism

          Adepoju (1972) stated that Ibadan is a typical slum area in the care of the city and in describing the more phology of the area, he asserted that “the core area of Ibadan is made up of cluster of mud dwellings, mostly of old architectural designs, juxtaposed chaotically and at a high density on the urban landscape”. (pp. 425).

The artistic impression of the indigenous residential area according to the observer, “the image of physical painlessness, a monotonous rural landscape in the urban environment, a shanty town, an unkempt village or a squalid unhealthy environment”. Pp. 425. The slum may this be traced to socio cultural tradition slim and processes, preponderance of youths, economical factors social welfare a community planning inadequacies.               

  1. c) Slum as an institutional characteristics of urban development

          Turner (1972) reechoed and concurred with the view of Charles Abrams that perhaps, in the formation years of industrialization, slum environment will be inevitable by product of the industrial urban environment like the abdominal distortion that precedes birth and growth. Hence, Turner (1972) hypothesized. “That if the process producing autonomous settlement is essentially normal processes of urban growth, then autonomous urban settlements are both the products of and the vehicle for activities which are essential in the process of urbanization”.

The argument of Turner (1976) was to the effect that autonomous urban settlement (urbanized nearly native village) and any other parcel of land within the urbanized area which is subject to land tenure and free market economy is often liable to develop into a slum environment over time.

Thus, slum prevalence and settlements lead to be seen as an institutionalisms characteristic of colonial urban development.       



The history of recognition of slum and blighted environment became very pronounced with the introduction in Britain of the town and country planning act of 1944. Historically, thee are other environmental degradation which relate to slum and therefore ought to be mentioned while discussing slum. These include blight, twilight areas and obsolescence.


          The word obsolescence comes from the Latin word “obsolescence” to grow old. For a building may be obsolete in the context of one time and place but not in another. The causes of obsolescence are divers and may be grouped into three categories but for the purpose of this work, the researcher has to be brief. They are physical, functional and economic physical obsolescence. This is the easiest to appreciate and relate to the wear and tear on the fabrics of a building.

Functional obsolescence: This is a deficiency in design, equipment or layout that makes a building less suitable for use than the general un of it’s contemporaries.

Economic Obsolescence: This arises where there is a loss in the useful of a building because of changes in the market of its services.

Blight: A blighted area may be defined as one that is declining with serious destructive economic forces since such as encroaching inharmonious uses, infiltration of the poorer social classes and rapidly depreciating buildings. This usually results in obsolescence of both properties and neighborhood and consequently leading to slum. Four main causes of blight are:

  1. Development failures: This resulted from developments on already blighted area from the initial stage of their development. Here the houses are cheaply built, poorly planned and hence were slum from the beginning.
  2. Declining areas: These are area, which due to physical obsolescence are unable to attract the class of occupiers for which they were initially built. This process usually gives rise to twilight areas.
  • Industrial obsolesce: This often arose when a mining town, say whose internal workings become exhausted leaving the community without its means of subsistence thereby leading to a state of irreparable damage to the environment and causing blight.
  1. Blight due to infiltration of alien users: This arises through inefficiency on the ineffectiveness of the town lining authority. It equally arises from the inability to safeguard special uses within a particular zone. (as prescribed in zooming ordinances).
  2. Twilight Area: This refer to those obsolescent area which although in decline, have not reached slum status, but might be expected to reach it within a short period unless something is dome to arrest the trend. All these are stages that could give rise to slum environment.



The term development in real estate profession may be defined in different perspective depending on the particular author in question. In this work, the term development in this regarding be defined as all works carried out to bring about completely new, and or improved structures.

It is further defined as ‘the carrying out of building, engineering mining or other operation in or under and or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land (British Town, and country planning act 1947), section 12 (2) on the other hand, a developed land was defined by the Nigeria land use decree, 1978, section 50 91) as land where thee exits any physical improvement in the nature of road developments that may enhance the value of the land for industrial, agricultural or residential purposes.         



Real estate or property development is therefore concerned with both the physical and the economic processes of assembling and organizing land, capital, human and other resources in the construction of various buildings /structures. This development a construed by  Weimar, Hoyt and Bloomy is not only in terms of the physical processes of land development, improvement and building, as we may thing, but it encompasses the physical, technological, financial, economic and managerial actions, that go into play in the transformation of units of real estate from one form to another. But one may be tempted to ask, what constitutes a properly or real estate. The world “properly or real estate properly may be defined as an exclusive right to control an economic good. It is a concept that refers to the rights and obligations, privileges and restrictions that govern the relations of man with respect to things of value. What therefore is guaranteed to be one’s own, in a broad sense, a property? This, property may be defined as the things themselves which are the subjects of ownership. (ARNOLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF REAL ESTATE) property can be defined in two ways:

  1. Real Property: these are land and all things growing thereon, or appurtenances thereto, and all rights or interests issuing out of or concerning the land.
  2. Personal property: Movable property this include those properties that one posses like cars, furniture and fittings, etc. These are related to all things which are not real property and for the purpose of this study, attention shall be concentrated only on the real property.


Here are many things which qualify as prosperities but in this study, the discussion will be restricted to the real estate development. Real estate development of such properties is here under outlined.

  1. Residential properties
  2. Commercial/industrial property
  3. Agricultural property
  4. Recreational property


These are properties developed for occupational use, either exclusively by their owners or they may be rented out as letting properties to tenants.


These are properties developed for offices, business, shops retail stores and sup – markets and other such business.


          These are these properties specially developed for factories, industries, manufacturing or processing activities like soap making, palm kernel cracking, food – processing, facilities for warehousing and such other activities.


          These are expense of lands or buildings allocated or developed for purposes of farm enterprises and gracing flocks, poultry farm and feed mill production.


          These are expenses of lands or buildings allocated for relation; pick–nicks, tourism etc.       


          Real estate or property development has variety of purposes which its operations or developers set to achieve.

The purposes or objectives may be as to satisfy any or a combination of the following interests:

  1. Status symbol and prestige: Here the aim of the popery of the property owner is to boost the ago and position in the society. For instance, the building of the Museum Centre Onilkan, Lagos, is for status symbol and government lodges are typical examples. They are erected for the candour of the offices and personalities enjoyed or being enjoyed by the owners
  2. Financial benefits: In this case, the owner wants to make profit either from rents or as a commodity for sale and receipt of capital values from the open market transaction. It is therefore an investment property.
  3. Political objective: There is no financial motive here. The developer or owner only developed in other to enhance political power and activities. Example is the various houses of Assemblies, senate building political party houses, governor’s house, presidential lodge and so on.
  4. Social benefits: These are social infrastructures, schools, hospital, market, roads, bridges and other developed for the benefit of the society.



There is no one common definition of the word “VALUES” as there are many schools of taught on its meaning. Hence many text writers have different approach to the meaning of Value. For a valuer, value means market value. It simply means an indicator of the power of a commodity to command other commodities in exchange. The value of n article therefore gives an indicator of both the degree of scarcity of that article and of its utility when compared with others. Ordinarily, value may be defined as the ability of a thing or service to command other goods, services, utilities and in some cases in “scarce supply” the following are type of value

MARKET VALUE: The valuer is mostly concerned herewith market value. This is because other values revolve around it. Market value is defined as the price at a given data which a property would likely fetch if it were exposed for sale in the open market for a reasonable time, assuming a willing buyer and a willing seller neither acting under compulsion.

INSURANCE VALUE: This is the amount of money which would be claimed under an insurance policy in case of loss covered thereby, from this value figure, the insurance company fixes the premium to be paid yearly. It is usually the cost of reinstatement, allowing for inflation and other factors.

MORTGAGE VALUE: This is a worth of a property if there is a forced sale is a result of default from loan repayment. Note that the market forces of demand and supply is not allowed in determining these values.

ANNUAL VALUE:  This means the rent at which a hereditament or property is reasonable expected to let from year to year. If the tenant undertakes to pay the usual rates and taxes and the landlord bears the cost of repairs and insurance to maintain the property in a tenantable condition.        

PROBATE VALUE:  This can be defined as the worth of the property of a deceased person, such valuation is carried out for estate duty a tax charged on a persons estate on death.

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