Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, March 11, 2013

Low cost urban renewal

It's low cost because the people who are paying the price have no money. And now, no homes. Besides, they're just nobodies (also see quote in next to last paragraph below).

It seems that the government does have the capacity to do things when nobody is involved.

In terms of political socialization, at least one of the nobodies interviewed by reporter Adam Nossiter knows which politician is responsible for the destruction/renewal.

In Nigeria’s Largest City, Homeless Are Paying the Price of Progress
The young man with the crowbar stood on a heap of rubble… “This is the home I am staying in before Fashola demolished it,” said John Momoh, 28, looking down at the pile, referring to the governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola. Mr. Momoh, a driver, searched doggedly for anything salvageable…

Government backhoes came in and plowed through Mr. Momoh’s simple wooden dwelling and some 500 like it… instantly making homeless perhaps 10,000 of Lagos’s poorest residents and destroying a decades-old slum, Badia East. For days, residents wandered the chaotic rubble-strewn field, near prime Lagos real estate…
Destruction at Badia East

Infrastructure and housing projects abound, including a light-rail network whose trestles already vault crowded neighborhoods, and a vast upmarket Dubai-style shopping and housing development built out into the Atlantic Ocean…

In this gleaming vision, the old Lagos of slums has an uncertain future. Two-thirds of the city’s residents live in “informal” neighborhoods, as activists call them, while more than one million of the city’s poor have been forcibly ejected from their homes in largely unannounced, government slum clearances over the last 15 years…

The Lagos state commissioner for housing, Adedeji Olatubosun Jeje, [said]… “It’s a regeneration of a slum… The government intends to develop 1,008 housing units. What we removed was just shanties. Nobody was even living in those shanties. Maybe we had a couple of squatters living there.”

As for the new housing, “there’s not a chance they can afford it,” said Felix Morka, executive director of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center, a local economic rights group…
See also: Lagos, Thousands forcefully evicted in Badia east

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