In the housing sector, demand far outpaces supply. As the world’s population expands, finding suitable accommodation is a global problem. According to the World Resources Institute, the global affordable housing gap is estimated at 330 million households… and that’s just in urban environments. By 2025, this number is expected to grow by 30 per cent, leaving 1.6 billion people without secure, affordable housing. Current housing development plans, despite their best efforts, have proved inadequate.
In Nigeria, the situation is even grimmer with at least 17 million housing deficit. To bridge Nigeria’s housing gap, many believe that the current models and practises need to be revolutionised.
Nigeria is in the midst of a brutal housing crisis, and the issue of slow supply of housing to meet demand will be further exacerbated by the ongoing economic contraction and slow growth.
If the country is to meet its target of building enough homes for its teeming population, the industry cannot rely on government initiatives alone. This presents an opportunity for technology to bring some much-needed disruption to the construction sector.
Globally, the housing sector is undergoing a revolution in terms of both attitude and technology. How is tech being used to respond to the lack of quality homes, and what are the outcomes?
We shall now outline a few ways technology can rapidly improve housing sector development for Nigeria.
The 21st century is the age of data revolution. Modern planning and execution are heavily reliant on data and information technology. One of the bane to housing sector development in Nigeria is the lack of adequate and updated data.
The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has launched the National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme (NRE-DCMP), which is designed to help tackle housing problems in Nigeria, including that of deficit. Also, the NMRC has been doing tremendous work in the management of data, but a lot more need to be done, especially with regard to having a large central data pool that can be accessed by all stakeholders involved in planning and execution of housing sector developments.
Smart Cities and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The concept of smart cities and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ are the buzz words that have dominated urban thinking and discussion in recent years. Developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing are promising a new era of contemporary urban development. Behind this era is the rapid and expediential growth of I.T devices, present within everything, from complex global systems to individual pocket devices. It is argued that the onset of the fourth industrial revolution and the smart city; where connected devices will number into the trillions, will transform urban areas into continuous ‘living labs’, constantly receiving, analyzing and refining data to efficiently manage products and services. The opportunities are captivating as much as they are countless and the pace of technological innovation so tireless that governments, municipalities and private enterprise are already struggling to comprehend the extent of their digital urban futures.
High Skilled and Automated Labour
The world is already adopting automated and high skilled labour forces to improve the quality and quantity of housing delivery. Nigeria’s fixation with brick and mortar can hardly ever scratch the surfaces when it comes to delivering quality and quantity. A lot of stakeholders have called for the embrace of researches and training to develop strategies that can compete with 21st century demands in the provision of housing.