Assessment of Informal Settlements Growth in Greater Karu Urban Area (GKUA) Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Laraba S. Rikko, John. Y. Dung-Gwom, Sunday K. Habila


The proliferation of informal settlements in developing countries have become a major concern to governments and professionals in the built environment in recent years. This paper assessed informal human settlements in a rapidly urbanizing and growing urban area; the Greater Karu Urban Area (GKUA) in Nasarawa State of Nigeria. Information for the paper were obtained through the administration of a questionnaire on the residents and from published and official records. Data was collected from 4 out a 17 identified informal settlements; Mararaba, Masaka, New Nyanya and Kuchikau in GKUA. Questionnaires were administered to 10% (253) households’ randomly selected based on their availability and willingness to participate in the study. From 241 (95.4%) questionnaires that were returned, two types of informal settlements were identified: inner core (traditional slums) and the peri-urban informal/unplanned settlements/slums. The inner core slums showed very severe challenges pertaining to minimal and inadequate social amenities and infrastructure, poor sanitation, narrow winding road networks while the absence of social services and infrastructure, unplanned and uncontrolled development, and substandard housing of mixed quality characterised peri-urban slums. Residents perceived that internal and external drivers contributed to the rapid growth of informal settlements in GKUA. A Comprehensive and holistic spatial vision of the area that could promote and sustain physical, social, economic and environmental planning policies in a coordinated manner is urgently needed.

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