It is fundamental to clearly delineate and define the key concepts used in this study. The study uses the definition of housing put forward by the World Health Organization whereby housing embodies not just the structure but also the essential amenities needed to improve living conditions in an environment which is free from diseases and other natural disasters. In order to describe the current housing situation, the study grouped housing quality in two dimensions: the physical structure, that is, the type of housing structure, age of housing, housing condition and the types of materials used in construction.
The internal quality which is concerned with the nature of the environment and housing facilities and services such electricity, water, waste disposal, kitchen and toilets facilities were used.
Also, the study uses the urban planning regulations to determine the degree to which the current housing situation complies with the town planning regulations. These are legal documents that lay down conditions to regulate housing development, such as law N0.
2004/003 of April 2004 to regulate town planning and Law N0.
1996/12 of August 1996 on environmental management in Cameroon, the Bamenda Master Plan and other international standards laid down by the United Nation Habitat. In assessing housing conditions, used structural characteristics such as the types of building materials, age of the buildings, toilets, bathrooms, kitchen, water supply, refuse disposal and social amenities such as water and electricity supply, road accessibility, security, health and educational facilities as well as spaces for washing and drying of clothes.
The study revealed that the low housing quality was as a result of the rudimentary materials used, poor techniques used and the ineffective planning mechanisms.
Also, the insufficient social amenities have resulted to grave environmental, social and health problems. According to , the problem of housing shortage has been aggrandized by urbanisation, economic stagnation, hikes in land and housing prices, deterioration of social amenities, and the ineffectiveness of urban government and other planning agents in the application of planning regulations.
Considering that demand for housing is far more than supply, the urban poor who cannot compete for the limited available housing units with the wealthy are compelled to move to slums and squatter settlements where they either rent or construct very poor-quality housing. This correspond with the work of, who opines that there is a positive correlation between urban growth and housing problems in Nasarawa State. The sustainable housing framework was proposed for this study.
It provides an understanding of the components and strategies to achieve sustainable housing, and stresses on the formulation of new and sustainable housing policies and the proper implementation of such policies by private and public housing developers. According to, Sustainable housing is shelter which is healthy, safe, affordable and secure within a neighbourhood with access to piped water, sanitation, drainage, transport, healthcare, education and child development. In a neighbourhood that is free from any natural hazards and where there is ease of interaction and still maintain their cultural values.