African Settlements Research Group

To: the Chairman, Senate Research Grants Committee
From: The Coordinator, Research Group on African Settlements (Professor Joy U. Ogbazi)
Subject: Formation of Research Groups in UNN
Date: January 28, 2015
Submission of the Concept Note of the Research Group on African Settlement
This is in response to your call for the formation of research groups and the submission of concept notes by such groups.
Name: Research Group on African Settlements.
The group draws its members from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of the University.
Statement of Intent: Recognizing that human settlements play a key role in social and economic development of every country, the group aims at developing a strong knowledge base for the advancement of African settlements.
Presently the African continent is saddled with failed notions of urbanity. This is because the rich heritage of urban development in Africa was truncated with the process of installing and managing capitalist economy in Africa. African settlement, in the most part, lost its spirituality and focus on transcendental values to a system that portrays disparate pursuit of material well being, the reverence of private property and the polarization of wealth and income. For over fifty years since the first African nation south of the Sahara gained independence, the situation has remained resilient, exacerbated in the context of increasing Africa’s external dependence, vulnerability and marginalization.
Research Focus and Justification: The research focus on African settlements is justified on five grounds from planning and design perspective. First, hitherto, African settlements are scarcely understood given their current disposition as epistemologies of western development ideologies which engaged mid 15th century mercantilist period. Second, there is the decline of urban productivity in Africa. Third, there is need to conceptualize the Sustainable African City. Fourth, integrating African settlements is long overdue. Fifth, there is an overarching need to locate African cities in the global economy.
Evidence based requirements to address these issues present the greatest challenge to contemporary urban planning and design in neoliberal era.
Research Topics: Research topics include-
• Rethinking the space economy of African cities: case study of urban spatial systems in select African countries.
• Exploration of the complex and contradictory expectations of contemporary planning and how the principles and practices deliver equitable outcomes.
• Communication, participation, methodology and planning African cities.
• Heritage and cultural dimensions of urban development in Africa.
The topics require the review of the entire planning system in neoliberal context. The review is guided with the mindset of delivering broad based knowledge for a path towards African renaissance.
Composition of the Research Group
Professor Joy U. Ogbazi: Coordinator, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning (Professor)
Don C. Okeke: Member, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning (Associate Professor)
Dr Victor Onyebueke: Member, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning (Senior Lecturer)
Dr Maxwell Nwachukwu: Member, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning (Senior Lecturer)