- Nigeria Resilient Cities Network (NRCN)
To overcome slums, we must regard slum dwellers as people capable of understanding and acting upon their self interests, which they certainly are. We need to discern, respect and build upon the forces for regeneration that exist in slums themselves and that demonstrably work in real cities.'
(Jane Jacobs, 1961)
Africa's cities are growing spatially and in population, but are not experiencing the economic growth and modernisation that Europe's urban boom enjoyed in the industrial revolution 200 years ago. Instead Africa's cities are expanding in poverty, characterised by sprawling, unplanned community-led growth, which is lacking in both services and jobs. The underlying economies are driven by the informal sector, informal housing and 'slums', based on the UN-HABITAT definition .
Slums will be the urban reality in most of urban Sub-Saharan Africa for the foreseeable future and therefore managing them is the urgent need of our time. Slums may be inevitable, but they can either can either be 'slums of despair', or 'slums of hope'. According to the quotation by Jane Jacobs at the top, the forces for regenerating and re-imagining slums are to be found in the slum dwellers themselves. She pointed to an internal, or inclusive gentrification, which involves and lifts slum dwellers, rather than a process that sweeps them away (only to go and form the next slum).
The 'UnSlumming MINNA' project funders GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation, are clear that this project should promote an inclusive intervention into the target community, which aligns with the goals of the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (SEDIN) Programme.
This also agrees with the UN SDG Goal No. 11; 'Making cities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable', which is at the heart of the New Urban Agenda (NUA).
NRCN (Nigeria Resilient Cities Network) has developed an inclusive Urban Governance Tool and Methodology, known as 4P (Public-Private-People Partnerships), which is suitable to achieve the project aims; and so, the UnSlumming MINNA Project was born.
Definitions: What are UnSlumming & 4P?
'UnSlumming', as used by Jane Jacobs, refers to an internal gentrification process, by which an area is raised out of poverty, not by the influx of new occupants or new money per se, but by uplifting the existing community. It's an inclusive form of regeneration, as the slum is 'healed' from within. In this sense it can be compared to 'in-situ slum upgrading', or participatory urban renewal.
4P, as used by NRCN, refers to Public-Private-People Partnerships, in which urban governance and the land market is viewed as a collaborative enterprise. It involves the government (represented by the State Governor, as custodian of the Land Use Act - Public), the business, commercial and finance sector (Private), and traditional institutions and local communities (as historic custodians of community land - People).
The two concepts (UnSlumming and 4P) have obvious overlaps; as both seek an inclusive approach to urban governance and more equitable land markets, which guarantee all stakeholders a 'right to the city'.