Inflence of Power and Class in Urban Planning in Nigeria: A Critique of the Ecological Approach
The aim of this paper is to explore and analyze the influence of human ecology on urban planning and city development in Nigeria. The main argument is that the influence of human ecology on city planners has made them deviate from reality. The author submits that the approach of human ecologist to city planning is evolutionary and deterministic in nature. This leads to numerous limitations, the most prominent of which is the assumption that cities have inner laws which govern and determine their development. Going by this assumption an urban planner is therefore presented as a powerless onlooker whose main duty is to sit down and watch the city grow to become what it (the city) should necessarily be. This doctrine of predetermination is found in Parks axiomatic statement that “the city has got the laws of its own and there is nothing that can (consciously) be done to change its moral and physical nature.” One of the problems that this has generated for cities especially in the developing nations such as Nigeria is what we refer to as the imitational planning approach. Cities are therefore planned on the model of those in the West (Europe and USA) as these are supposed to be the ideal cities according to ecological paradigms. Most of the urban problems – housing, poverty, inequalities, slums and the like – are therefore traced to the adherence to this paradigm by urban planners.
Keywords: Ecological Paradigm, City, Robert Park, Inequalities, Power Elite, Urban Problems and Minorities
Dr. Zacchaeus O. Ogunnika
Faculty., Social Work and Criminal Justice