How can Housing Professionals get the Most out of Social Media?

“I learned a valuable lesson very early on – it’s best not to tweet angry or drunk!”

Former Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) president Alison Inman’s advice will resonate with anyone who has ever developed a Twitter habit. Despite its flaws, many housing professionals now see the social media platform as a vital tool. However, Ms Inman says the Tweets that have the most impact are the more personal ones or those that are part of a campaign.

She says: “I think a lot of the domestic abuse work would not have been anywhere near as impactful without the conversations through Twitter. I will write something on domestic abuse and I will get direct message after message after message from people saying, ‘This is what happened to me.’

“I lost my mum a couple of months ago. It was a horrible time, but the kindness of strangers on Twitter and the messages I received made me think, ‘Gosh, this is important.’”

The fact that Twitter mixes the deeply personal and the professional is one of its most compelling traits.

Inside Housing has spoken to some of the most prominent housing voices on Twitter to ask them to share how the platform has helped them.

Paul Taylor, innovation coach at Bromford housing association’s Bromford Lab, says that housing professionals should see Twitter as a listening tool to help them understand issues in the sector.

He says: “I follow thousands of accounts, many organised into lists, so I can get a sense of what’s going on in innovation, technology, health, housing and the social sector generally. Organisations risk becoming more siloed. While digital connects us in ways never before possible, whole sectors are still just talking to themselves. This sense of disconnection is being made ever more visible – to the public, to patients, to tenants of social housing.”

Housing campaigner Rob Gershon joined Twitter in June 2010. While the medium often mixes users’ personal and professional lives, he suggests it is advisable to hold back a little when online.

 

“Quite often, tweeting feels like a way of disguising corporate communications as something more personal,” he says. “Everyone says ‘be yourself’ or ‘be authentic’ or whatever, but a lot of the time, this would likely just get people into trouble with their employers.”

Deciding how and when to write a personal Tweet or how to structure a campaign to gain interest in an issue can also be a challenge.

“This sense of disconnection is being made ever more visible – to the public, to patients, to tenants of social housing”

Tom Murtha, co-founder of Shout [Social Housing under Threat] and board member of Nehemiah Housing, joined Twitter in October 2012 in part to halt ‘the demonisation’ of social housing. He says: “During my early days, I got into some fairly acrimonious debates about the future of social housing and whether some associations had lost their social purpose. I tend not to do that now. I would say Twitter is not an ideal platform for debate and people should try not to be aggressive in any way. I never swear on any social media.”

Mr Murtha formed Shout in 2014 with Ms Inman and housing consultant Colin Wiles. The campaign has been a success, partly because of its social media impact. He says Twitter allows “a small group of people [to] influence so many”.

“I believe Shout owes its success to Twitter,” he adds. “When Shout was established, no housing leader was making the case for government investment in social rent homes. In fact, very few were mentioning social housing at all. Now all housing leaders are making the case.”

Twitter can connect people who would otherwise probably never interact. This, says Mr Murtha, is a key tool that those starting off in housing can use.

He adds: “It [Twitter] provides a non-hierarchical platform where people of all levels can share ideas and debate. We need more executives and non-executives on Twitter.”

He says he tries to follow “all types”, even those who are critical of HAs.

“The problem with Twitter is that unless you do this, you only talk to those who agree with you and reinforce your ideas. We need to get outside the bubble and be challenged, even if it is uncomfortable.”

To some, the most disconcerting aspect of Twitter is how open it can be – how a throwaway post can take off online. So if your Tweet does go viral, what then?

Hannah Thornton, communications and toolkit officer at South Yorkshire Housing Association, joined Twitter in October 2016. In February last year, she posted a Tweet recounting her experience of two men who had met for the first time and had struck up a friendship on the train on which she was travelling.

Ms Thornton wrote a note to the two passengers and tweeted the reply she received from one of them (below). It was an instant hit, attracting more than 39,000 likes, 7,100 retweets and 600 comments.

She says: “It was incredibly humbling to see this huge community of people and stories and experiences brought together in a way they might not have done otherwise. It really brought home the power that social media has in spreading a positive message and how society is crying out for more of that.”

The Tweet’s response led to global media coverage and an invitation to speak on stage at a Ted Talk. However, it also drew criticism that the post was “manufactured”.

She adds: “In terms of nasty stuff, I think I probably got off really lightly. There was the odd comment, of course, such as, ‘These stories are always manufactured by people who work in comms’, and, ‘Why did she take a photo of the letter?’

“I reminded myself that my original intention had never been to patronise or offend or raise my own profile – it was just about sharing an amazing thing that I was lucky enough to experience, in the hope that it would spread the joy and inspire more people to talk to others they don’t know. Knowing and owning your truth when people start attacking is a helpful way of not going down a spiral of darkness.”

According to Ms Inman, those overseeing a provider’s official Twitter account may also benefit from taking a step back on occasions.

She adds: “I always say to people who are working at housing associations that think they can control what tenants say about them on Twitter, ‘They’re saying that about you anyway – you may as well know about it.’

“Quite a lot of my Twitter activity, for housing stuff, wider welfare reform stuff, is actually done in direct messages – whether that is plotting or sometimes just pointing individuals in the right direction for help”

“[Housing associations] contacting people, asking them to take stuff down, is a bit oversensitive. Social media is like a free consultancy: it’s a free insight and then it’s about using your judgement about what to do about it. You can’t agree with people all the time.”

Mr Gershon says a useful communication tool that can often go unnoticed is Twitter’s direct messaging (DM) feature: “Quite a lot of my Twitter activity, for housing stuff, wider welfare reform stuff, is actually done in direct messages – whether that is plotting or sometimes just pointing individuals in the right direction for help.

“Sometimes, it is boring old ‘networking’ – putting people working on or with experience in various areas in touch with each other. Sometimes, though, my DM conversations are a kind of support system – for me and others.”

Twitter isn’t just for those who are starting out in their housing careers – it can also be an effective tool for senior professionals to reconnect with an audience Mr Murtha, who saw one of his own Tweets (below) garner 5,226 likes and 1,495 retweets, thinks Twitter has helped to redefine him within professional circles.

My eldest brother was born in 1947. He was breeched. There was no medical support and Mam and Dad lived in a cold damp slum. He died at birth. I was born in 1952. I was also breeched. I survived. The NHS and a warm safe council house saved me. I owe my life to the welfare state.

“Many of my Tweets are about my family and my early career. I also have a hashtag, #MurthasMenu, which began as a joke but is now quite popular and has a number of followers. I guess people now see me as more than an ageing ex-chief executive because of this,” he says.

For all the addictiveness of Twitter, it is important to keep things in perspective and not allow the social media platform to dominate.

Oliver Harling, Inside Housing’s guest editor for this week and site supervisor at Liberty Group, says: “Be brave, be passionate, ask questions and get involved with what’s going on in the sector today.”

Oliver Harling promoted his trip to the Inside Housing offices on Twitter

Ms Thornton adds: “The train Tweet went from about 3,000 likes to 17,000 likes on the Saturday night after I’d shared it, but I never checked during that time because I was at a Caribbean fancy dress party wearing a giant pina colada costume.

“Balance is everything!”

Source: Insidehousing

finance conference

13TH AIHS International Housing Finance Conference

DAY 1 

Session 1 (Socio-Economy): Distilling the Opportunities and Challenges of global risk and uncertainty to Nigeria’s Housing and finance markets 

  • A review of the Global Housing Market – Ibrahim Suleiman, SME Housing, PwC 
  • Reviewing the 2019 Political landscape and Its Impact on Housing – Ugochukwu Chime 
  • Sustainable Development of the Nigerian housing Market: Prospects for Private Equity & Debt Capital Companies  Sonnie Ayere 
  • Residential Real Estate Outlook Cause for Optimism? – Tayo OdunsiCEO Northcourt 
  • Alternative Sources of Funding: Innovative structures for Diaspora housing delivery – Robert Hornsby, Co-Founder, American Homebuilders of West Africa 

DAY 2 

Session 2 (Financial Trends): Innovating and mitigating against risk and uncertainty in Housing finance   

  • Today’s Nigerian Mortgage Market: Lending Conditions and the Regulatory Environment – Agnes Tokunbo Martins 
  • Mortgage Refinancing and Affordability: Scaling up the reach – Kehinde Ogundimu 
  • Building a Global framework for foreign investments into Nigerian housing market – Andrew Chimphondah 
  • Democratizing Mortgage Finance – Niyi Akinlusi 
  • Foreign Capital for Housing Finance in Emerging Economies: The Ghana Home Loans Story – Dominic Adu 
  • Residential real estate valuation: A critical input element for guarding against systemic risk – Rowland Abonta 

DAY 3 

Session 3 (Innovation): Property Technology – NIGERIA PROPTECH 

 

  • Everything PropTech: Could this be the new path?  – Roland Igbinoba 
  • Innovations at Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria – Ahmed Dangiwa  
  • Investing in Green Technology: Building Solutions for Escalating operating costs in housing developments – GM, Urban Shelter Ltd. 
  • Big Data and Analytics – A critical tool to improving residential real estate markets. Kecia Rust  
  • Closing the gap in affordable housing production: Increased efficiency and cost – Lew Schulman 
  • The Landscape of PropTech in Nigeria – Panel Session (A selection of 6 innovative Nigerian PropTech companies involved in housing) 
  • Cosgrove 
  • Coreum 
  • GatePass 
  • EstateIntel 
  • Fibre 
  • Cobuildit 

The list above can be swapped by you (CEO, AIHS) at any time – depending on the need to bring in some people of your choice  

 

Session 4 (Sustainability): Green Mortgage and Housing innovations in the era of risk and uncertainty   

  • Innovations in Residential Housing Development – Adapting to the Changing Market Demand (Case studies from Family Homes Fund) – Femi Adewole 
  • Sustainable Infrastructure financing for housing in Nigeria – Sa’adiya Aliyu Aminu 
  • Attractive Investment Climate for housing development: Guidelines from Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission – Ms. Yewande Sadiku 
  • The feasibility and performance of green energy buildings/technologyImproving energy use and the construction industry – IFC / IFC EDGE Consultants 

Session 5 (Social Policy): Addressing Housing demand in the face of growing Joblessness and income inequality 

  • Panel Session – Housing the Poor
  • Mr. Sam Odia 
  • Harmony Kunu 
  • Emmanuel Nelson 
  • Mrs. Medinah 
  • Mortgage Consumer Education as a tool to mitigating credit risk occurrence  
  • Innovations of subsidies and housing finance models for the low and medium income category – Olivia Cadwell  
  • Dealing with unplanned settlements and slum growth in our major cities – Banjo Obaleye 

Session 6 – Panel Session: Advocacy – Which way forward Nigeria? 

  • Should government create possible subsidies for the growth of home ownership? If so, how should it be done? 
  • What are the implications of not enforcing guidelines and standards for operations in the real estate industry? Is this a priority as we speak? If so, how do we solve the problem? 
  • Can tenancy rights be termed ‘fair’ in Nigeria in relation to government demolitions and actions?  
  • Should local, state and federal government authorize greater portions of local revenues for housing assistance? How will this affect other sectors?  
  • How can we create a “Housing first” model to be effectively implemented by both the government and the private sector?   
  • What role(s) should government play in advocacy for adequate housing assistance and practical federal schemes?  
  • How can responsibility be allocated amongst government and regulatory institutions for ensuring availability of affordable housing? Is the current structure efficient enough? 

Five Kenyan Housing Startups Secure USD 247K Funding In Housing Contest

Five Kenyan startups have each secured USD 49K funding after they successfully pitched to local and international investors.

The local startups which include Gjenge, ManPro, The Vlage, AHomes and MycoTile secured the funding having proven that they were investor-ready and depicted preparedness to bring change in the affordable housing sector.

The selected five beat 10 other startups in the competition contest that focused on affordable shelter solutions aimed at serving low-income people. The solutions offered included construction materials, waste management, water, sanitation and renewable energy.

Based on their capacity to absorb and after further due diligence, three of the startups will share a further USD 148K courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.

“These start-ups have put in a lot of work in their business ideas and we would have wished to match all of them with investors. However, we are compelled to go with the most investor-ready outfits,” said Chandaria Group CEO, Darshan Chandaria, who was a judge at the competition.

The judges were drawn from the real estate, financial and technology sectors.

Gjenge is a social enterprise recycling waste plastic into artistic construction products. AHomes is a startup that provides artisans with labour opportunities and certification while MycoTile provides alternative building material made from mushroom.

ManPro is a construction management system and The Vlage provides co-living spaces through their digital platform.

Mali Kodi , a cloud-based rental properties management system and Continental Renewable Energy Co. Limited (Corec), which Corec produces plastic lumber planks, resin-bonded roofing tiles and man hole covers, were also selected for possible funding.

According to Pangea Accelerator Team Lead Anne Lawi, the concept came to being out of the need to have affordable housing at the same time having to deal with key challenges such as high cost of construction due to high import duties, poor import logistics and an unfavourable tax regime.

“The purpose of this event is to encourage young and upcoming businesses that they can still be market-validated through access to investment opportunities,” said Ms Lawi.

Source: weetracker.com

Economy SEC Sacks Tinubu, Other Oando Board Members for Infractions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has barred the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Oando Plc, Mr Adewale Tinubu, and the Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (DGCEO) of Oando Plc, Mr Omamofe Boyo, from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.

The agency also ordered the resignation of the board members found guilty of tampering with figures of the company’s books.

This followed outcome of the forensic audit into the affairs of the indigenous energy firm after the commission received two petitions from shareholders of the company in 2017.

SEC had investigated the allegations raised in the petitions against the company, which is listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.

It was said that during the probe, certain infractions of securities and other relevant laws were observed, which forced the apex capital market regulator in the country to further engaged the services of Deloitte & Touche for a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.

Announcing outcome of the audit today, SEC said it discovered “serious infractions such as false disclosures, market abuses, misstatements in financial statements, internal control failures, and corporate governance lapses stemming from poor board oversight, irregular approval of directors’ remuneration, unjustified disbursements to directors and management of the company, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, amongst others.”

In a statement obtained by Business Post, SEC said as part of measures to address these violations, it has directed the “Resignation of the affected Board members of Oando Plc; the convening of an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019, to appoint new directors; payment of monetary penalties by the company and affected individuals and directors; refund of improperly disbursed remuneration by the affected Board members to the company; bar of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and the Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (DGCEO) of Oando Plc from being directors of public companies for a period of five (5) years.”

“As required under Section 304 of the Investments and Securities Act, (ISA) 2007, the commission would refer all issues with possible criminality to the appropriate criminal prosecuting authorities. In addition, other aspects of the findings would be referred to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

“The Commission is confident that with the implementation of the above directives and introduction of some remedial measures, such unwholesome practices by public companies would be significantly reduced.

“Therefore, in line with the Federal Government’s resolve to build strong institutions, Boards of public companies are enjoined to properly perform their fiduciary duties as required under extant securities laws.

“The Commission, as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, maintains its zero tolerance to market infractions, and reiterates its commitment to ensuring the fairness, integrity, efficiency and transparency of the securities market, thereby strengthening investor protection.”

Source: businesspost

DBN to Disburse N100bn to MSMEs

Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has revealed that it planned to disburse the sum of N100 billion to the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) segment this year.

It also added that it disbursed over N30 billion to over 35,000 end-borrowers in the MSME segment in its first full year of operations, while also collaborating with other development finance institutions to remove some of the barriers to access to finance in the segment.

The Chief Economist for the bank, Prof. Joseph Nnanna, disclosed this yesterday at the 5th edition of the Refined Economic Development (RED) quarterly lecture held at the University of Abuja and organised by Economic and Business Strategies (EBS) with the theme, “Real Sector Constraints to Economic Growth and Development.”

Presenting his paper titled “Contemporary Strategies for Financial Inclusion and Prosperity in Nigeria,” he explained that MSME are the backbone of any economy, considering the fact that the segment makes up over 90 per cent of all firms and accounts for an average of 60 to 70 per cent of total employment and roughly 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.

Nnanna explained that a 2018 survey by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) showed that only 31 per cent of MSME in Nigeria have ever obtained a loan from a financial institution, commercial or micro finance bank.

He said that the principal reason for the low figure in spite of its undisputable impact on the economy include, high/lack of collateral, problems with credit history, unfavorable worthiness of the prospective borrowers.

Nnanna stated: “For Nigeria as a whole, we are trying to achieve more access to finance for the MSME because we believe they are the engine that grows any economy in any part of the world.

“This year alone, the DBN plans to disburse N100 billion to MSME and we are quite on track as it is already. We are very confident that we will achieve that this year and beyond.

“Furthermore, to aid in reducing the risk associated with the MSME segment, the DBN offers partial risk sharing (Credit Guarantees) with prospective financial institutions granting credit to the operators in the segment.

“In 2018, 22.74 per cent of total credit was allocated to the oil and gas sector and 13.75 per cent was allocated to the manufacturing sector. Conversely, sectors where the MSME participants operate include Agriculture which total credit allocated was a paltry 3.16 per cent, General/Trade and Commerce 6.89 per cent and Education which credit to this sector remains subdued, received 0.41 per cent (NBS, 2018). “

The chief economist however said that the limited access to finance for the MSME segment severely constrained opportunities for economic diversification in Nigeria, noting that from a macro-economic examination, there is “a crowding out effect,” due to government borrowing.

He added, “As a result, over a period of one year, we witnessed an increase in treasury bill rates peaking at 18 per cent in 2017. At the same time banks facing a challenging external environment worked to reduce risks, crowding out liquidity to real sector including MSMEs.

“Presently, treasury bill rates have declined to 12.7 per cent. However, yields on government bonds are around 14.5 per cent making it still very attractive to lend to the government. Typically, Nigerian banks observe a value chain business model that deals with already established firms with a track record of success.

“Consequently, banks tend to ignore MSMEs because of poor or no credit history, insufficient collateral to name a few reasons. To that effect, Nigerian banks resort back to what they understand to be a sale investment choice which is competing for larger firms and accepting lower margins only to exploit the higher yields earned from credit and perhaps other fees earned through product offerings as part of the loan agreements.”

Nnanna stressed that an emerging facet in the Nigerian operating environment was the untapped fintech segment which he said could change the fortunes of the challenges surrounding access to finance.

Earlier, the Chairman/ CEO of EBS, Prof. Magnus Kpakol, said that before Nigeria would compete with developed countries, there was need for an improvement in the country’s human capital in order to produce efficiently and effectively.

“You have to be able to produce goods and services and to do that, we need improvement in human capital. Our human capital development has to be much better.

“One of the big reasons why we lag behind is because of the human capital deficiency we have. If you doing have the skills, the determination and the attitude to be competitive and to raise your skill level, you will have trouble being competitive

“You see the proficiency in with which China is conquering the world in terms of business and global competitiveness. We cannot compete with them at the pace that we are going and that reflected in the misery two per cent growth rate in that we registered in GDP in the first quarter of this year.

“Our population is growing at three per cent and we are growing our GDP at two per cent, we need to be growing our GDP at this time at close to two per cent. The Chinese have been averaging 10 per cent over the last forty years.”

Source: sunnewsonline

nigeria as the poorest country

Nigerians Got Poorer In Buhari’s First Term — The Economist

nigeria as the poorest country

 Long lines of lorries stretch like tentacles from Apapa port, the largest in Nigeria. Drivers doze in their cabs, feet flung over dashboards; some sling hammocks beneath the chassis. Musa Ibrahim, an ebullient trader, says he has been queuing for two days. He gestures at empty buildings. “Most of the companies you see here they done close,” he sighs, writes The Economist.

The Nigerian economy is stuck like a stranded truck. Average incomes have been falling for four years; the IMF thinks they will not rise for at least another six. The latest figures put unemployment at 23%, after growing for 15 consecutive quarters. Inflation is 11%. Some 94 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, more than in any other country, and the number is swelling. By 2030 a quarter of very poor people will be Nigerians, predicts the World Data Lab, which counts such things.

Nigeria’s engine was already sputtering when President Muhammadu Buhari took the wheel in 2015. The price of oil, which makes up 9% of GDP and more than 90% of export earnings, had crashed. But “Baba Go Slow”, as Nigerians took to calling him, made a bad situation worse. Instead of letting Nigeria’s currency slide, which would have stoked inflation, policymakers rationed dollars to maintain the naira’s long-standing and artificially high peg to the dollar. To do so the central bank refused to release foreign currency for a long list of imports, ranging from toothpicks to shovels. Without dollars for equipment or supplies, factories closed and workers were laid off, leading to a recession in 2016.

 

The central bank confused things further by introducing several exchange rates. One was an official rate of 305 naira per dollar. Its main use seemed to be to allow the bank to brag about how strong the currency was since it sold almost no dollars at that absurd rate. Its second rate was used to funnel artificially cheap dollars (about 320 naira each) to favoured importers. Naturally, there were not enough of these dollars to go around, so most Nigerians (especially those buying toothpicks) had to pay as much as 500 naira on the black market. The gap between most of these rates has converged of late at about 360. But having so many rates puts off investors.

The government thinks the answer to the “dollar shortage” is for Nigerians to make and grow more and import less. To this end, it has slapped import taxes on rice and fertiliser and is giving tax breaks for a huge new oil refinery.

There is little sign of the kind of export-led industrial revolution that has lifted incomes in Asia. This is not only because the naira is overvalued. It is also because the state has spent decades neglecting basic public goods, like roads, schools and electricity. “In Nigeria if you set up a business you have to build your infrastructure, you have to build your power plant, you have to build everything,” says Abdul Samad Rabiu, the chairman of the BUA Group, a conglomerate. Eghosa Omoigui, who manages a tech fund, compares running a business there to “running a nation state”.

Where urgency is needed, Mr. Buhari offers only caution. Few are holding their breath for any more drive in his second term, which began on May 29th. “We are trying to avoid shocks,” explains Adeyemi Dipeolu, his economic adviser: sharp currency movements or hikes in electricity tariffs would be felt by ordinary Nigerians. Yet officials are postponing a crisis, not averting one. Consider borrowing. The debt-to-GDP ratio is 28%. But Nigeria collects so little in tax that interest payments swallow about 60% of federal revenues.

“We don’t have a debt problem, we have a revenue problem,” insists Udoma Udo Udoma, budget minister in Mr. Buhari’s first term. The government plans to raise funds by selling off some of its share in joint-venture contracts with oil companies and might hike taxes on luxury goods. Revenues are rising, but fall far short of budget targets. Some of the gap is probably being filled by running up an overdraft with the central bank, which now holds more assets than the entire banking system.

Public finances would be healthier if the government raised the price of fuel, which is imported by the state oil company and sold on at a loss. Last year this subsidy was worth at least 0.5% of GDP—as much as the government spent on health care. Politicians are scared to end the subsidy. An attempt to do so in 2012 led to massive protests. Although the government has expanded school-feeding programmes and is working on a safety net for the poor, most citizens get few benefits from the state. Oxfam, a charity, ranks 157 countries on their commitment to reducing inequality, based on social spending, taxes and labour laws: Nigeria comes last.

For Nigeria to prosper, the state could harness the vim of its 200m citizens. Instead it ignores them, except when politicians need votes. People have come to expect nothing from government, says Chika Okeke, who owns a small stationery shop in Lagos: “you struggle yourself.”

Masterplan Key to Building Stronger Cities in Nigeria – RICS

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigeria group has called for the development of stronger cities that easily absorb urban shocks and take into cognizance lives of residences irrespective of their physical challenges.This was the submission of experts who gathered during the group’s Continuous Professional Development series (CPD), entitled, “Building stronger cities, a review of the revised Lagos masterplan” which held in Lagos.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Dapo Thomas at the forum, explained that building stronger cities is actually more than having a master plan but having master plans/designs that take into cognizance the lives of people. She stated that as an operative development plan, masterplan is a living document, hence, the need to keep revising and reviewing it.

“Building stronger cities would also mean building communities. Lagos Government recently created the Lagos State Resilience Office. That means, we are building against shocks and stresses that could militate against the growth of cities,”she said. According to her, Lagos is one of the 100 resilience cities of the Rockefeller foundation. This, she said, places more pressing demand to keep building and changing things in line with the dynamism of human existence.

“We need to look at all facets of life, it is not only about the master plan, the master plan is actually a cross cutting issue with all of our ministries because they must have an input. Right now, the Ministry of Works has inaugurated what is called, the Masterplan Champions and this is because we recognize that there would continue to be changes in governance and in life”.

“We must be thinking about other people, particularly the disable, how can they live a well and meaningful life and achieve their goals despite their disabilities. We have to incorporate them in all our master plans. We also need to think about how to put hospitals in place, where they are easily accessible.

These are the things that we keep reviewing in our master plans”, she explained. Contributing, a town planner, Ayodele Adediran said if the cities must be built, it must build on something. He said master plans are not popular in the sense that they look restrictive, suggesting that they must be making flexible.

“As far back as 1928, master plans became popular because of the plague that broke out, claiming lives just like the building collapse. Since then, we have been the one planning while others take care of sanitation or environment and schemes of development. We used to have stronger institution framework”.

In the last 20 years, Lagos has been faithful in ensuring that regimes of preparing master plan is operational. We have to give credit to the state. Every part of Lagos is almost covered with some documents that could form basis of master plan”, he said.

Adeniran who is also NITP National Legal Adviser, said masterplans must be in relevance with the new urban agenda, inter-modal challenges of the cities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as plans will not stand in isolation but inter-connected with other goals.Expounding on the issue, a former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos State, Toyin Ayinde said like most designs, master plans must start from the general to the specific and give the whole view of development.

“If developments on a master plan tilt to a particular side, you will see a shaking and the design would fall. This is what happens when you develop Lagos Island more than Alagbado.

You think of a masterplan as a plan, but it is not a physical thing but also deals with economic issues, social and sociological issues in the city system. We must bring our plans to the level of neighborhood that people could easily identify their house from the land use plan,” he said.

Ayinde who doubles as NITP first Vice President, added, “master plan can be changed because a city is a living organism subject to an origin, growth, a decline and death and that is why we must take the right decision. There is nothing that can’t be changed. That is why some uses would change over time.

A good master plan must take into consideration law and order because if you don’t have law and order, you can’t really implement your master. Probably this is why you have some break down of law and order in some places. The masterplan itself is a law passed and gazette.”

Earlier, the Chairman, RICS Nigeria Group, Mr. Gbenga Ismail explained that the CPD focused on reviewing the planning challenges and effectiveness of the master plan in Lagos State.“The theme “Building Stronger Cities” therefore represents learning points that draw on failures, challenges and solutions. Lagos is currently challenged, and if we can solve the issues prevalent then this can be taken to other states. It is important that our cities begin to work for us,” he said

Victor Gbonegun

UN Picks Kenya to Host Smart Housing Prototype

UN Environment, UN Habitat, the Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture and associated partners are working on designs for smart houses, one of which is on display at the UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Africa is urbanizing fast, as its population grows and many flocks to cities in search of jobs, education and healthcare. Studies show that hundreds of millions more Africans will live in cities over the next three decades.

Many of these new urban Africans, however, are likely to end up in informal settlements. Already an estimated 200 million Africans live in informal settlements—often without access to energy and sanitation.

The growing class of urban poor need access to decent housing. But the challenge is that the global housing sector already emits almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and uses up to 40 per cent of the planet’s total resources. New approaches are clearly needed.

 

As the housing sector grows—and it must grow if we want an equitable world—we need to reduce its environmental impact, not raise it,” said UN Environment Acting Executive Director, Joyce Msuya. “Smart design is the only way to meet our housing needs and stay within planetary boundaries.”

First unveiled at the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly, the 3D-printed modular structure, made from biodegradable bamboo, aims to spark ideas and debate on how future biomaterial processes can help meet the Sustainable Development Goals, Habitat III New Urban Agenda and Paris Agreement.

The pavilion shows how post-agricultural waste—like bamboo, coconut, rice, soy and corn—can be turned into construction materials. It demonstrates solar energy and water systems that make homes self-sufficient and zero carbon. It highlights how micro-farming can be achieved with plant walls. All these features, and more, are integrated, monitored and managed by sensors and digital controls.

“As urbanization gallops forward, people around the world are tired of seeing precious natural habitats paved over with toxic, energy-intensive materials such as concrete and steel,” said Anna Dyson, Director of the Center for Ecosystems in Architecture at Yale University. “In the 21stcentury, global construction practices must innovate towards nature-based solutions for future cities. Our research consortium with East African collaborators is devoted to advancing state-of-the-art locally produced building systems.”

It is fitting that the pavilion is based in Kenya, as the government there has prioritized affordable housing as a key pillar of its Big Four Agenda, which aims to make the East African nation an upper middle-income country by 2030. Over the next five years, the government plans to build over 500,000 affordable houses across the country to meet the ever-growing housing demand.

To achieve the low-cost housing agenda, however, the industry needs to embrace technological changes that will result in the use of innovative sustainable construction, the aggregate effect of which would be to lower the embodied energy and average cost of manufacturing and housing.

“Architecture must address the global housing challenge by integrating critically needed scientific and technical advances in energy, water, and material systems while remaining sensitive to the cultural and aesthetic aspirations of different regions,” said Deborah Berke, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture.

The pavilion serves as a starting point for those in government and industry to think about what they can do better. It is part of a series of demonstration buildings, which started with a 22-square-meter “Ecological Living Module”, powered by renewable energy and designed to minimize the use of resources such as water. This module was displayed at the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2018.

Baraka Jefwa

Shenzhen joins top 5 most expensive cities for owning a home

Hong Kong has retained its title as the world’s most expensive urban centre to buy a home, while neighbouring Shenzhen, the tech of capital of China, has joined the ranks of the world’s five most expensive cities for the first time, according to a survey of 35 cities around the world by real estate consultant CBRE.

The average cost of owning a home in Hong Kong rose 5.5 per cent last year to HK$9.4 million (US$1.2 million), which translates to US$2,091 per square foot for a typical abode measuring 574 square feet (53 square metres), or about 40 per cent more than second-placed city Singapore, CBRE said.

READ ALSO: HISPANICS LEAD RECENT HOME OWNERSHIP SURGE IN U.S

Meanwhile, Shenzhen located across the Hong Kong border in southern China and home to some of the country’s biggest technology companies Huawei, ZTE and Tencent, ranked No 5 globally even as house prices contracted 0.1 per cent last year to an average US$680,283, or US$726 per square foot.

“Upon becoming a Special Economic Zone in 1980, the growth of Shenzhen has been unprecedented, with its population increasing to more than 12 million. It is now one of the world’s wealthiest cities,” CBRE said, adding that the city produced 90 per cent of the world’s electronic goods.

The survey findings underscore the challenge for Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, as affordable housing is a mainstay of her administration’s policies. She has proposed a vacancy tax to force developers to add more housing to the city’s supply, and enlarge the proportion of subsidised homes to help lower-income households.

“Last year, Hong Kong saw 17,790 private housing completions but this was not sufficient, given the current pressure on demand in relation to the size of the city and the limited land available,” CBRE said.

Hong Kong’s home prices rose 1.6 per cent in the first two months of 2019, after dropping by 9.2 per cent from August to December, according to data from the city’s Rating and Valuation Department. Property prices were bolstered by stock market rallies in Hong Kong and in mainland China, as well as the dovish stance on interest rates by monetary authorities in the US and in the city.

Hong Kong

Homebuyers came back in droves in March with 649 lived-in homes selling for more than HK$10 million each in March, almost double the number of transactions at that price point in February, according to Hong Kong Property, a local agent.

“We’ve seen home seekers eager to enter the market, even though some homeowners have raised prices,” said Richard Lee, CEO of Hong Kong Property. “It is hard to see home prices collapsing in the city, unless the global economy tumbles.”

Various surveys, studies and reports have placed Hong Kong as among the world’s three most expensive cities at least since 2015. CBRE’s study, which began in 2015, canvassed residential property prices from January to August last year, before Hong Kong’s real estate bull market faltered.

Shanghai, China’s largest commercial city, was in third place while Vancouver ranked fourth.

Shenzhen’s economy surpassed Hong Kong’s for the first time in 2018, growing by 7.6 per cent to 2.42 trillion yuan. Economic growth in Hong Kong rose by just 3 per cent to HK$2.85 trillion.

“Shenzhen has one of the highest expected GDP growth rates for 2019 of over 8 per cent and the population is set to continue growing. A shortage of residential land has led to an increase in urban housing estates, but housing completions last year totalled 41,731, lower than the average annual completions over the last decade,” said CBRE.

South China Morning Post

Buhari approves appointment of new Federal Fire Service boss

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mr Liman Ibrahim as the new Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service.

A statement signed by Al-Hassan Yakmut, Secretary, Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board on Thursday in Abuja said the appointment took effect from March 29.

Fire Service

READ ALSO: FED GOVT SPENDS N79.2B ON MONTHLY PENSION

Yakmut said that Ibrahim’s appointment was made following the retirement of Mr Joseph Anebi, the former fire service boss.

“The appointment is for an initial term of 4 years and subject to the extant rules and regulations governing retirement in the public service,” he said.

(NAN)

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