Babangida H., Zainab Y. S., M.M. Kankia
Department of Architectural Technology, Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, Katsina
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Basic infrastructure and other functional services such as accessibility roads, recreational, welfare and commercial services in the Hausa traditional cities specifically the housing areas seemed largely inadequate. These services were rather concentrated in the planned areas. However, a recent infrastructural development to integrate these services due to popular demand in the Katsina traditional city presented challenges among which necessitates relocating residents to pave way for provision of intercity road network and other social amenities such as pipe born water and electricity. The aim of this research is to identify residential environment preferences which will seek to provide similar environment with their traditional built environment at two levels; the neighborhood and individual houses. Analysis result indicates the residents most preferred architectural elements and neighborhood facilities which directly reflects their socio cultural and utilitarian values. It is hoped that the outcome of this research will provide both theoretical and physical framework for policies which borders on community relocation in future. Through the integration of identified preferences, users will have a sense of belonging, identity and self-expression



The concept of residential environment preferences as an evaluative criterion has presented various advantages for researchers to empirically explain why residents prefer some residential districts to the others, especially as it affects its physical conditions, structure and form.  Examples of such studies include Smith et al, (1997) whose works centers on the development of physical elements that contributes to quality of community through developing a concept that promotes understanding between physical form and its qualities. Another study which developed a model was undertaken by Kamp et al, (2003) to facilitate understanding of factors that affect environmental quality and quality of life of inhabitants with specific reference to promoting urban development, environmental quality and human well-being. Amerigo & Aragones, (1997) examined the theoretical and methodological approaches on the study of housing satisfaction and subsequently, generalized their findings on the relationship between people and their residential environment. Researches on residential environmental preference in particular offered opportunities to residents to outline their preferences.  As Jiboye, (2010) observed, the provision of housing is identified as criteria for measuring developments of societies. Similarly, in their studies, Konadu-Agyemanyg et al. (1994) have established a relationship between housing, good health, productivity and socio-economic development of occupants. Residential choices and mobility as research disciplines that affect residential environments were similarly extensively studied. For example, according to studies of Garling & Friman, (2002) residential satisfaction tended to be a natural phenomenon which guides the success or failure of residential choice, in other words, dissatisfaction could lead to moving. Useful findings from research on housing satisfaction have been utilized to propose appropriate housing design for target groups, and to influence public policies on housing provision, it also provides basis for public demand (Dahman cite in Lu, 1999).

Residential preferences as a research area have generated a lot of interest from various disciplines and perspectives. For instance, from the field of geography and regional planning (Gbakeji & Magnus, 2007), urban and regional planning, (Sanni & Akinyemi, 2009; Dokmeci & Berkoz, 2000), architecture and civil Engineering (Ge & Hakao, 2006) and from purely architectural perspective (Nabila, 2009; Jiboye, 2010). A review of some of these studies indicate the use of various, but generally similar methodology in the development of theory in residential preferences. Moore, (1997) suggested evaluating residential preferences at four levels; concepts, theories, frameworks and models. Gbakeji & Magnus, (2007) identified seven criteria and three indicators from a study of twenty housing neighborhoods in Warri metropolis to determine residential preferences. Bonaiuto et al (2003) applied two instruments developed from 11 scales to measure the relationship between inhabitants and their urban neighborhoods. Mabogunje, (1974) identified four socio-economic factors namely employment, livability, manageability (of the environment) and serviceability (of the social services and amenities) as measures of the quality of environment and which affect the level of satisfaction derivable from it by residents. Sanni & Akinyemi, (2009) identified two major variables to determine the quality of the environment and socio cultural activities, which were further broken down into 10 sub components to develop residential preferences within the city of Ibadan. To determine a suitable residential environment evaluation model system for the cities of Hangzhou and Shanghai, Ge, et al, (2006) first performed a questionnaire survey to the residents, then, analyzed the residential conditions, residential choice factors, residential preference and residential satisfaction of the area. This study adopts the normative approach of questionnaire survey to identify the preferred architectural elements and the neigbohood facilities of the affected residents

Results of a number of empirical studies on residential environment revealed that both the tangible and the intangible factors have been found to affect resident’s preferences. Among the tangible factors are attributes of house samples that include cost and size (Amaturo, Costagliola, & Ragone, 1987) and location (Timmersmans, 1984; Nijkamp et al., 1993)).  Some of the research findings indicate that within an urban context, residents placed emphasis on environmental quality, proximity, availability of neighborhood facilities and the quality of immediate surroundings in residential choices (Gbakeji & Magnus, 2007). The intangible factors include value changes in the life of residents (Rossi, 1980), functionality and spaciousness of the house Kauko, (2006) relationships between individual travels patterns (Sermons & Seredich, 2001; Schwanen & Mokhtarian, 2003) among others. The neighborhood characteristics and inhabitant’s demographic characteristics were also found to influence key decisions on residential choices (Dokmeci, 2000; Michealson, 1977). Interesting results on residential preferences were achieved in both developed and developing nations, few of which include Vaughan, & Feindt,  (1983) in Monterrey, Mexico,   Cho, 1997; Li, 2003; Wang & Li, ( 2006) in China,  Parkes & Kearns, (2003) in Scotland and  Loikkanen, (1992) in Finland. Other interesting studies those conducted by Tipple & Willis, (1991) in Ghana, Opoku & Abdul-Muhmin, (2010) in Saudi Arabia, Dokmeci, & Berkoz, (2000) in Istanbul and Seko & Sumita, (2007) in Japan. In Nigeria alone, similar studies include Gbakeji & Magnus, (2007) in Warri metropolis, Ogu, (2002) in Benin City, and Nabila, (2010) Kano city among many.

Reviewed literature which borders on the relocation revealed different purposes for the studies and results from different places across societies. For example, Brooke, Micheal & Duan, (2008) discovered that polices on resettlement were unevenly applied within a particular society at different counties and proposed resettlement as a development project where improved performance and the benefits are likely to benefit the local resettled population. Scudder, (1993) explored the possibility of using a longitudinal studies to analyze change and continuity among Zambia's Gwembe Tonga since their involuntary relocation during the late 1950s, the aim of the study was to greatly reduce what he referred to as development refugees. The social problems that could arise as a result of the influx of large numbers of Indians into metropolitan areas were studied by Joan, (1965) in the US. This study was conducted on American Indians who have settled in cities. The economic benefits and costs of public sector relocation as a research topic was undertaken by Jefferson & Trainor, (n.d), on civil service housing relocation away from London and the South East, undertaken by regional development agencies. This study was conducted in the traditional city of Katsina, a capital city of Katsina State Nigeria. The choice of the traditional city was informed by the recent infrastructural development being undertaken within the core traditional areas. Access roads, water supply and drainages were being put in place as a way of opening up the traditional city and linking it with other parts of the city. This development necessitates the relocation of the inhabitants of the affected areas. And since development is a continuous process, there is therefore the need to provide a theoretical basis and multi-national literature by exploring the housing preferences of the affected residents for use by the government and other stakeholders in future relocation.


1.2 Aim of the paper

The primary aim of this paper is to identify the residential preferences of the residents of the Katsina traditional city who involuntarily relocated by the recent infrastructural development in their traditional neighborhoods. To achieve this aim, three objectives are targeted:

  1. To identify resident’s preferences in terms of architectural elements with specific reference to traditional housing elements
  2. To identify residents preferences in terms of neighborhood.   
  3. To use the traditional city of Katsina as a representative sample for other traditional cities that shares similar socio cultural values and concerns in northern Nigeria



A self-report questionnaire survey was essentially used to identify the residents housing preferences. It was administered by trained assistants at individual houses level. The questionnaire was distributed to the residents in the area where the infrastructural development directly affected their houses, as well as from identified areas where the affected residents relocated to. Series of questions were asked in the questionnaire to determine the respondent’s preferences with respect to architectural elements and neighborhood facilities. For example, respondents were asked to identify architectural elements and functional spaces they had in their former and the present houses of relocation from an earlier prepared checklist of traditional architectural elements. The residents were also asked to choose architectural elements they will like to have if they were to be relocated to a public housing estates, in addition to what they had in their traditional houses. In terms of the neighborhood facilities however, respondents were asked to identify what they had in their former and current traditional neighborhoods. They were also asked to select facilities they will like to have if they were to be relocated to a public housing estates. Finally, the residents were asked to choose the area they preferred in Katsina city if they were to be relocated by the government.



Respondents of surveyed housing estates were predominantly male (91.6%) or 228 when compared to female (7.6%) or 19 respondents as shown in Table 1. Majority of the respondents (30.7%) were between the age of 41-50 years followed by the age group of 51-60 years (23.1%) and the age groups of above 60 years (19.5%).The dominant profession of respondents recorded was civil service (53.7%) followed by business or trading (30.1%) and private practitioners such as architects and lawyers (10.9%).The highest number of respondents  were degree holders/HND (53.6%), and the least number were primary school leavers  (0.8%), and up to 1.6% or 2 respondents had a PhD.Owner occupier respondents were dominant in the surveyed areas (80.3%) or 204 respondents distantly followed by owner and tenants (13%). Tenants only and free users constitute only 3.5% and 3.1% respectively. Single nuclear family type is the dominant with 61.5%, followed by extended family of nuclear groups (28.0%). In terms of the number of occupants in the house, 26.1% of the respondents have between 1-5 members. The highest number recorded (40.3%) had 6-10 members. Families with more than 20 members constituted only about one percent.



The survey conducted on respondent’s relocation status as a result of the infrastructural development reveals three groups of affected residents. The first group who lost their complete houses fully relocated to other areas either within or outside the traditional city.  The second group only partially relocated while the third remain and rebuilt the remaining parts of the house. As shown in Figure 1, nearly 50% of respondents actually relocated and about 45% partially relocated to other areas, while only about 10% remained. At least 60% of respondent’s houses were partly affected while the remaining 40% of the respondent’s houses were completely affected due to the infrastructural development. For the respondents whose houses were partly affected, the unaffected parts were put to various uses, for instance nearly half of the respondents in this group converted part of the remaining houses to shops and stalls for income generation while the other half rebuilt the remaining part of the houses for the use of other family members.

Respondent’s residential relocation details                                                               

3.1 Respondent’s preferences with respect to architectural elements and neighborhood facilities The various responses on the preferred architectural elements by the respondents were summarized and presented in Table 2. As shown in the Table, the architectural elements were those found in nearly in all respondents former and current houses during the survey. These include spaces for income generation such as shop, small ruminants housing and poultry, kitchen, pit latrine, verandah and other recent architectural elements introduced in the traditional settings such as garage and store. The architectural elements available in respondent’s former houses indicated that those who had spaces for income generation, small ruminants housing and small holder poultry (32.7%, 41.4% and 50.6%) were lower than those in relocated houses (83.4%, 51% and 61%). In the relocated houses, there was also an increase in the provision of adolescent boy’s room (81.1% when compared to 78.5%), area for defined garage (34.5% compared to 15.2%) alternative water supply 91.4% compared to 67.1%. In general, relocated respondents had more of these traditional architectural elements in their relocated houses.


Response on the architectural elements preferences if government was to provide housing estates for respondents indicated strong preferences for traditional elements to be integrated into the design in addition to what was to be provided. For instance, the integration of the alternative water source (84.3%) in addition to water system, outdoor kitchen (87.5%), in addition to the main kitchen in the house, veranda (79.5%), and dakali which is a traditional seat at the entrance (52.0%). However, majority of respondents prefers not to have a shop (57.5%) or housing for small ruminants (63.2%). Generally, the respondent’s most and the least preferred architectural elements are (not in any order of importance) a separate adolescent boy’s bedroom (85.2%), and housing for small ruminants (36.8%). At a glance, Figure 2 compares the available architectural elements in respondent’s former and relocated houses and preferences for the same elements if government were to provide housing estate for relocation. Architectural elements such as the veranda, outdoor kitchen, pit latrine and separate adolescent boy’s room were found in considerable percentage in the respondent’s former and relocated houses and which they preferred to have in government housing estates. These elements were followed in importance by the provision of alternative water source, dakali, store and space for small holder poultry.

Similarly, respondent’s neighborhood facilities preferences were also identified through the questionnaire survey. They were asked to identify their preferences if they were to be relocated to a government housing estate as presented in Table 2. All respondents have shown preferences for the listed facilities which include tarred road, drainages, environmental sanitation and waste disposal. Others include a formal school, shopping center/market, a police station security and hospital among others. The most preferred identified neighborhood facilities are the mosque (94.4%), drainages (92.9%), electricity and water supply (92.8%), and (91.5%) respectively and tarred roads (91.3%) in descending order of preferences. Respondents also indicated their preferences for area of relocation if government was to provide. As shown in Figure 3, seven residential areas were identified outside the core traditional city, among which the Daura road residential area seemed to be the most preferable (25.5%) followed by Mani road (23.5%) and distantly followed by Batsari road (15%). Dutsinma road was the least preferred area of relocation by the respondents (11%)







Having constituted a cumulative percentage of 73.3%, the respondent’s demographic attributes in terms of the age bracket indicates that the Katsina core traditional city consists of more middle aged to older population (between the age of 41-60 years) This indicates that the younger generation prefers to live outside the traditional city. The high number of degree/HND is consistent with the dominant profession of the respondents as civil service. As expected, owner occupiers constitute the highest number of respondents. Currently, the nuclear family and extended family types seemed to dominate with occupants of between 1-15 members. The architectural implication of this is for the professionals to provide optimum design options for the highest number of people possible, or a flexible one that could be extended when the need arose. Although majority of the respondents houses were only partly affected, the residents that relocated either fully or partly however, were in the majority. This indicates the desire to move by the some of the respondents especially the younger population. And because in general, the majority of the affected residents did move, there is the need for the government to provide housing estate for the purposes of keeping families together.

Thearchitectural elements documented from traditional were found to be the actual constituents of the Hausa traditional house. In terms of number, architectural elements such as shop, pit latrine, adolescent boy’s room, verandah etc. were higher in the relocated houses when compared to the resident’s former houses. Among other factors this could be due to the freedom offered in configuring their new homes and roles these elements play in achieving their socio cultural values. The higher value of these elements in the relocated houses shows the importance of the elements and hence the need for integration if government were to provide houses for them. Other architectural elements such as the alternative water source, outdoor kitchen, and pit latrine are elements that were preferred by the respondents in addition to what could be provided in government houses such as pipe born water, kitchen and toilet based on water system. Respondent’s preferences to have all identified neigbohood facilities were not completely unexpected. This is due to the absence of most of the facilities in the surveyed areas, especially tarred road, drainages, environmental sanitation and waste disposal, water and electricity. The preferences of the Daura road residential area by respondents indicates the availability of infrastructure in that area and exposes the inadequacy of such in other areas. As a result there is the need for the government to provide infrastructure and other services in in the other residential areas for even spread of population which will reduce the tendency of slums and other informal settlements as a result of involuntary relocation.




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