Gentrification and the Challenge of Development in Makoko, Lagos State, Nigeria: A Rights-Based Perspective

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© Copyright 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2019. This article engages the tensions of gentrification and the challenge of urban development through a study of the Makoko area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Makoko is an urban waterfront slum where the residents' precarious existence is complicated by a complete lack of active governmental mechanisms to protect their socioeconomic and housing rights. The article investigates recurrent experiences of displacement to understand the political and policy actions that affect marginalized citizens in an otherwise economically buoyant city such as Lagos. It expands the study of urban slums through a descriptive analysis of Makoko and by interrogating some critical assumptions in urban engineering and development policy. The research utilizes the concept of a rights-based approach (RBA) to development as a method of capturing the wide gap between the perspectives and goals of the Makoko lagoon dwellers and the real estate developers, urban development specialists, and policymakers who assume that their idea of development is the focal mission of a developing country. The article reveals a disconnect between urban development policies and urban reality in Lagos State, most especially in the Makoko area, and it argues that this has intensified socioeconomic inequalities in the state. Successive political administrations and affiliated partner agencies in Nigeria will need to embrace a consistent RBA to development if they wish to generate substantive changes such as equitable housing distribution and economic vibrancy for low-income and informal settlements.

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Environmental Justice

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