Using a 5% probability sample of 1,118 households (hence dwelling units) drawn from 3,816 residential buildings, this study profiled the residential housing stock in Diobu, a run-down part of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Information was obtained primarily through direct observation and administration of a largely pre-coded questionnaire, administered face-to-face by trained interviewers. Data transformation entailed the construction of a Housing Stress Index (HSI) based on 10 stress indicators, with scores ranging from 10 (perfect stress) to 0 (no stress). The area showed significant differences (p < 0.05) in mean HSI scores and in the rating of residential planning between residential super-blocks. For the 8 residential super-blocks mean HSI scores ranged from 7.1 - 3.1. The study concluded that the area is in dire need of urban renewal and recommends, among others, that: (i) the latter be carried out in phases over an 8 year period, starting with those super-blocks experiencing the worst stress conditions; (ii) government should implement the provisions of the Rivers State Physical Planning Law of 2003 and the proposals for revitalisation of the existing city within the framework of the new Greater Port Harcourt City Development Plan, and (iii) renewal should comprise a combination of rehabilitation, cellular renewal and re-development of the worst sites, using internal and external funding sources.
Key words: Housing stress, urban renewal, conservation, rehabilitation.
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