The Effect of Housing Conditions on Social Distancing During A Pandemic in Selected Urban Slums in North Central Nigeria

Ebelechukwu Obianuju Enwerekowe, Ann Muopwun Katyen


Social distancing is one of the prescribed means of preventing the spread of deadly diseases such as COVID-19. This study aims at examining how the concepts of social distancing and self-isolation are affected by housing spatial conditions among the urban poor which comprise a demographic exposed to community spread in less-than-standard housing conditions. Through a qualitative assessment of the problem which comprised theoretical reviews and field observations, the study identifies overcrowding, multi-generational homestead composition, extreme poverty and unchecked mixed-usage of residential spaces as major challenges to effective social distancing (and self-isolation) in the Lohwol-Topp settlement in Rayfield, Jos South LGA of Plateau state, Nigeria. The study proposes firstly documentation and refined assessment of local overcrowding standards by professionals in the built environment in order to determine the extent in domestic situations as well as the standardisation of buildings using low cost materials of construction for health and well-being. The study also justifies the incorporation of possible isolation spaces in multi-generation homesteads for high risk residents in the layout of urban slum homesteads and the comprehensive documentation and monitoring of mixed use home based enterprises in urban slums which could hinder contact-tracing of random visitors.

Keywords: housing conditions, social distancing, urban slums

DOI: 10.7176/CER/12-7-04

Publication date:July 31st 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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