Last Updated 14 May 2021

Land Use Changes

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The trend in property development is not however unconnected with the increased awareness in making the highest and best use of land resources among competing uses. According to Balowe (1978) the term ``land`` often mean different things depending upon the content in which it is used and the circumstances under which it is considered.

Land takes a fundamental significance as a commodity in daily use for multi-various purpose over the years; it has influenced and continues to influence the daily lives of Nigerians as expressed in social, economic and political organization of various communities in Nigeria. However, the property market is an economic mechanism rationing land between competing and occasionally conflicting uses. The mechanism is often modified by State and local Government policies within the context of town planning, social needs and the distribution of income and wealth.

As a means of allocating land between different uses, the market has been criticized to be inefficient because it fails to quickly meet up with the urban land uses particularly in the under-developed world. In an increasing cosmopolitan city like Lagos, the state Town Planning and the New Town Development Authority faces an uphill task of responding to the need for a total re-zoning of some residential layout like Lekki phase 1 with a view of increasing the values of private and profitable land uses.

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The greater the accessibility of a location, the lower the economic cost of movement in terms of distance, time and convenience the greater the comparative advantage and the greater the demand for property in the location. The increasing demand and the decreasing supply of commercial properties are exerting some expected pressure on residential properties in Lagos.

Furthermore, the nearness to transport facilities like bus stations, water /sea ways, motorways, good road network services, facilities such as commercial banks, merchant bank, closeness to areas like Victoria Island, Oniru, Ikoyi, Lekki- Epe Expressway and areas on Lagos island where majority of the business activities takes place in Lagos and also its proximity to High income housing has made this area of study(Admiralty way Lekki phase1) more attracting, accessible and thus more profitable for citing of commercial enterprises.

This pattern of accessibility is gradually modifying the pattern of Land-use, which is concomitant with the pattern of land values in Lekki. Thus users are able to put the site to its most productive use, would be prepared to pay the highest price or rent to acquire the developed property. The change of residential into commercial land use along the major roads of most government residential layouts in Lagos state has become so inevitable that people are no longer patient enough to wait for the approval of the Planning Authority.

With or without approval or rezoning, offices, schools, churches, eateries, retail outlet, event centers etc are spring up in the study area in response to the need for them. The effect of such changes on the property values, its viability and the societal impact of this phenomenon on the area of study (Admiralty Way Lekki Phase1) are the back ground upon which this dissertation is based.

Statement of Problem

Land resources tends to move to users who bid for the most for their control and to those uses that offers the highest return for their utilization. The value of a residential property will most likely increase when it is partly or wholly changed to commercial use. Those issues that come to mind are as follows:  What factors are responsible for the change in use from residential to commercial use in the study area?  What are the societal vices in the neighourhood?  What are the professional imputes from the Lagos State Town Planning Authority and the New Town Planning Authority that are in charge of Lekki axis?

What will be the effect of this change in use on the values of properties in the study area? 5. What is the profitability of such changes and should it be encourage or not? This dissertation attempts to provide answers to the above questions with a view to attract the above reactions of the New Town Development Authority, Property Developers, Estate Surveyors, Land Owners and Tenant towards a better understanding of the dynamics of land use and value in a fast growing city like Lagos.

Purpose of the Study

As stated earlier, the purpose of this study is to proffer solution to the problem outlined in section 1. 2 above and in doing so; I shall critically examine the genesis and impact of change in use in property values in low density layout (Admiralty Way Lekki Phase1). I shall examine how transfer of land to its most profitable use is often frustrated by factors such as:  The imperfect knowledge of buyers and sellers of the use to which the given property can be put.  The importance of adequate zoning area for commercial activities within government estate .The time- absorbing and costly process of seeking and acquiring new locations. The cost and legal complexity of acquiring properties  The monopoly power of Town Planning and New Town Development Authorities. In conclusion, I shall establish if the ever increasing incidence of change in use should be encouraged by government.

The outcome of this study is expected to create awareness for Lagos state Government through New Town Development Authorities and attract positive reactions from the Lagos State Government Property Development Commission, Estate surveyors, Landlord`s etc in the beneficial utilization of the dynamic of land use and land values in the fast growing city of Lagos , whilst the authority prepare itself for the task of development control, the property owners and occupiers will also plan strategies of reaping the benefit or otherwise of the phenomenon of change- in – use.  There are numerous residential properties within the Phase1 of Lekki peninsular whose use have been changed from residential to commercial uses but due to time and limitation of words allowed for this thesis, this write up will focus on the effect of change in land use in the value of Government Estate on Admiralty Way Lekki Phase1 Lagos.  Admiralty way Lekki phase 1 is one of the Lagos State Government Residential Scheme under Eti-Osa Local Government, is an exclusively reserved low density residential area in Lagos.

This Layout is accessible in very meaning of the word and enjoys basic infrastructure such as good roads, water, electricity, telephone etc. It is accessible vide Lekki- Epe Express way with well laid out internal roads and flower hedges in wide set- backs. It has a plain topography with good drainage and the set-backs in most properties are adorned with beautiful flowers. Most courtyards in the layout are paved. The posh buildings are of unique architectural design and inviting scenery ion this layout maintains an appreciable degree of quietness.

Most buildings are owner occupiers belonging to Elder State Men, Top Civil Servants and successful Businessmen and Women. The average size of a plot of land in this Layout is 800 square metres.

The main instrument of data collection for this research was through primary and secondary sources. The primary sources of data involve a field survey of the study area. It includes direct observation by the researcher and oral interviews with property owners and occupants. The secondary source includes facts, which were obtained from previous documented sources such as text books, journals, seminar papers and unpublished dissertations. This helps to establish the theoretical foundation of this study.

According to Balowe (1965) property development is not a one-for –all time affairs, but a continuous one. This means that property development is dynamic. It calls for adjustment to changing demand and changing technology toward satisfying the needs of a particular segment of users.

Lee (1974) argues that changes occurring over time in the use of a neighbourhood, that aging of the residents and the growth and maturity of their children will eventually cause a turnover in the ownership of housing. Smith and Mccann (1981) argues that residential land uses succession theory is permeated by the ``Life Cycle`` ideals of social ecology but the leading succession models offer conflicting interpretations of the sequence of change that residential areas are believed to pass through. They stress that models have not been substituted by analysis of the complete land use histories of all site in areas of change.

Therefore, in their study of Edmonton, from 1961 to 1971, the study shows that life cycle concept has little value as an explanation of residential change in rapidly growing city like Lagos. A study by global environmental changes (2010) supports the conclusion that neither population nor poverty alone constituted the sole and major underlying causes of land use change worldwide. Rather, people`s responses to economic opportunities and constraints for new land uses are created by local as well as national markets and policies. Therefore, global forces become the main determents of land-use changes; as they amplify local factors.

However, Ball et all (1998) argues that when land value rise land owners release land for commercial development and also shows the land owners rationality.

The word ``Value`` does not have a specific and restricted meaning as it may mean different thing to different people. In the words of justice Brandies (1923) Value is a word of many meanings. The royal Institution of Charted Surveyor (RICS) also define value in the following terms `` the best price of which an interest in property might reasonably be expected to be sold by private treaty at the date of valuation assuming`` a) A willing seller ) A reasonable period in which to negotiate the sale, taking into account the nature of the property and the state of the market. c) Values will remain static throughout the period d) The property will be freely exposed to the market e) No account is to be of an additional bid by a special purchaser As a result of Nigeria`s Colonial affiliation with Great Britain the above definition by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is adopted by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV)

Residential land use has been the oldest and fundamental among all land uses because shelter is one of the basic needs of man. Hornby (1980) defined residential use as ``serving or used as residence in which one resides``. Residential use are therefore located in an area zoned mainly for living accommodation with some localized commercial centers to sell good and render services needed by the populace that reside in that area.

Whist commercial use is a use involving the buying and selling of goods and services and for which profit is realized. It encompasses office, shops and is a predominant urban feature, which tends to be located at areas of greater accessibility from the city center. Lagos State has been a fast growing developing city like any other major city in Nigeria experience stiff competitions in land uses, particularly the demand of commercial users in fast encroaching and outstripping the effective demand for residential use thus creating imbalance for zoned residential neighourhood.  Practical observation as found in different cities in Nigeria indicates the economic factors, social factors, physical factors and high competitiveness in land utilization within the commercial nerve centres which results to uncompetitive users seeking for space within the zone of transition are contributors to the change in use of land use patterns.

Lagos State is one of the fast growing city in Nigeria with the location of International Airport and Seaport which attracts people from various part of the country and worldwide and directly increases the total population of the people living in the city and thus the total number of people living in Lekki peninsular phase 1 which is one of the medium housing Estate by Lagos State government which was meant to provide sufficient accommodation for people.

However, due to day to day increases in population and the paucity of sufficient accommodation to house them in commercial, industrial, education institution etc and in order to settle down and seek their living, property owners are fast converting most residential units in Lekki phase 1(Admiralty way) into commercial units. A drive down the way shows a drastic change from the usual resident units along the road to huge commercial outlet.

An overtime observation shows that availability of commercial center along this way and axis around same was not enough to cater for the needs of the residence. In view of this, commercial centres were developed to meet the daily need of the residents but at a point due to development policies, high cost of development, non- availability of land area and land owner rationality, residential property owners tends to give room for conversion of their developed residential property to commercial property.

Since commercializing properties yield more returns than residential use and due to property owners rationality, they prefer the commercial users by giving face lift to the fabrics of their building through extension, refurbishments, alterations, modifications. tc. These improvements attract commercial users to take advantage of the new structures by paying the newly negotiated rents to occupy them. The rents are luring, so other property owners follow suit and conversion become the order of the day on Admiralty way Lekki Phase1.

Admiralty way Lekki Phase 1 is an easily accessible way in Lekki Peninsular and to other island`s were most major commercial activities takes place in Lagos State and due to this, commercial centres tends to expand their activities to the study area in order to move closer to their consumers and workers who resides in this axis.This made property owners to convert their residential properties for commercial uses since the location is well accessed to various routes of movement within the axis. Construction of purpose built commercial building usual cost a lot of money due to the high cost of building materials and ever increasing Land value. Going by the concept of highest and best use of property, property owners in the study area now prefer to convert their residential property to commercial properties or lease it out.

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