Planning, Housing and Environmental Challenges of Hilltop Settlements in Zinariya and Azurfa Areas of Jos, Nigeria

John Y. Dung-Gwom, Shamsiyyah M. Bashir


Jos is a town in central Nigeria whose growth and development is closely associated with the commercial exploitation and mining of tin ore by the British colonisers at the beginning of the twentieth century. The terrain of the area is generally over 1000m above sea level. Hilltop settlements within Jos have sprang up as a result of the early mining settlements, rapid urbanization, urban expansion and rapid population growth which have exerted high demand for land for housing. The Government and Urban authorities have failed to provide planned and serviced lands on desirable sites to the expanding population, who in turn have resorted to self-help through the open market to provide shelter for themselves often without planning approvals and basic infrastructural facilities. Settlements on steep slopes and hilltops pose peculiar planning challenges arising from the nature of their terrain, costs of construction and maintenance of buildings, poor structural quality of housing, provision of social services and public facilities; poor drainage, inadequate liquid and solid waste management, haphazard development and proclivity to environmental hazards. The growth of hilltop settlements is expected to have major consequences on both humans and the environment, which are inextricably linked. Implications of these hilltop settlements on physical planning in Jos North includes; deviation from the city master plan, difficulty in the provision of services (both physical and social), chaotic and disorderly growth of the city, inaccessibility to vehicular traffic due to poor road network or lack of it. To carry out the study, descriptive research design and quantitative approach were used. primary data was collected from those households living on the hilltop settlements of Azurfa and Zinariya, which are the case study areas, the researcher distributed 400 questionnaires, out of which, 391 (97.8%) responded by filling and returning the questionnaires. Both qualitative and quantitative data were obtained using primary and secondary sources of data. Appropriate recommendations were made, and if implemented by government, planning agencies and property developers, this will improve the housing, environmental, infrastructural and the quality of lives of residents of the studied hilltop settlements.

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