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Open Access Peer-reviewed

Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development

Felix Mumbi Chilufya , Elijah M. Bwalya, Francis Simui
Journal of City and Development. 2022, 4(1), 33-47. DOI: 10.12691/jcd-4-1-4
Received July 28, 2022; Revised September 05, 2022; Accepted September 14, 2022

Abstract

Housing forms a basic fundamental human need. It has evolved from rudimental to complex structures that sustain human life effectively. In modern periods, global population expansion has created challenges in the development of housing. Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, has equally experienced a massive population expansion since the nation’s independence in 1964 putting a pressure on the need for housing. However observation indicates that the mushrooming of settlements abrogates stipulated building regulations of the Town Planning authority. The safety and health tenets stipulated in the Urban and Regional Planning Act of 2015 are flouted with impunity. This calls into question whether these stipulated building regulations are communicated to housing developers. This study therefore aimed at assessing the communication dynamics that exist between Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD) in selected townships of the city. It focused first on determining the extent to which housing developers acquire building permission and then evaluated the content of Building Regulation Messages (BRM). The dissemination of BRM by LTPA and their decoding among UHD were the final enquiries. The study utilised the multi-leveled Grounded Theory Method (GTM) approach. Respondents from LTPA and eight selected townships were administered with semi-structured questionnaires and interviewed. In the preliminary enquiry, the sociological process among housing developers was the urgent need of housing to secure household livelihoods with an underlying psychological pressure of securing shelter in a city with scarcity of land. The next level were the discovered main concerns which were a limitation in adherence to BRM occasioned by ignorance, illiteracy and limited sensitization. The subsequent level then identified core categories that provide an explanation for the main concerns. These were the non-participation of community members in coding of BRM which occasioned a non-awareness of the existence and source of BRM caused by low levels of education attainment among UHD. These core categories were saturated into concepts from which, through a process of theoretical coding, a substantive grounded theory was derived. The identified concepts were a wide spread of the phenomenon of UHD caused by ignorance of the existence of BRM exacerbated by limited and singular online dissemination by LTPA. Further, BRM coding is in the technical English language proving a decoding challenge to UHD. Through theoretical coding, a schema of interpretation of concepts was developed that indicated conceptual relationships in the data collected. The result was the formulation of a substantive theory being termed Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT). PLACOT utilises metaphorical imagery of a foetus in a placenta which experiences a narrow link (umbilical cord) of communication with the maternal body. Likewise, UHD experience limited communication from LTPA (maternal body) and in spite of this, are ultimately determined to bring their housing into existence similar to a foetus ultimately being born into existence in spite of limited link with the maternal host.

1. Introduction

Shelter forms a critical fundamental human need recognised globally. From primeval times, shelter provides the supporting pillar for sustenance of human life. Throughout human civilization, an evolution has occurred in the development of housing such that today we cannot conceive descent living without housing as much as without food. However, in spite of a rapid development of housing globally as a correlate to population expansion, this critical human need in dodged with challenges. Municipalities are faced with the challenge of keeping control over housing development in the face of a wave of rapid population expansion and land scarcity in urban settlements. Municipalities being the custodian of towns and cities’ land and resources are tasked with managing human settlements in the face of this cascading human population. Communication therefore becomes an imperative element to bridge a desperate need for housing with stipulated building regulations that ensures safety and health standards are maintained as housing development occurs. This communication process in its simplistic definition is described as consisting of a sender, a message, a channel through which the message will be transmitted, noise or interference, a receiver and the feedback that the receiver provides 1.

Therefore, in housing development, municipalities (sender) are custodians of encoded building regulations (message) that requires transmission through diverse channels to housing developers (receiver) who on their part decode the regulations to be evidenced through adherence to stipulations in the regulations. However, interference in the transmission of the message may occur between municipalities and housing developers which could be evidenced in non-response or unintended response in housing development.

This study premised on the communication dynamics between the Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD) in Lusaka district, sought to comprehend a new perspective in this communication dynamics between the two entities with utilisation of Grounded Theory Method (GTM).

2. Housing Development in Lusaka

Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia with an estimated population of 2.4 million inhabitants 2. It is one of the fastest developing cities in Southern Africa functioning as the commercial and government administrative centre of Zambia 3.

2.1. Evolution of Housing in Lusaka

With colonial domination in Zambia and its capital being shifted from Livingstone to Lusaka in 1913, Lusaka experienced a rapid growth in housing development. Rhodes Park residential area became the first suburban settlement with high cost housing. The separation of races was policy and thus Madras emerged for the Asian population who later set up shopping facilities in present day Kamwala. The African population was relegated to roundavals in Kabwata area while Emasdale was a settlement for mixed race (coloured) population 5.

By 1935, the government of Northern Rhodesia begun to develop a new high cost residential area of Woodlands with the African residence of Chilenje to supply domestic workforce for the European settlers (Figure 2). Equally Matero Township was developed for the African population to supply labour to the industries that were developing in Chinika area 6.

By the period of independence of Zambia in 1964, Lusaka had a well-established housing development. The major ownership of these housing estates was the government and the local civic authority. Private ownership of housing units was limited to farm houses in the peripherals of the city and the business community of the time 9.

With a new indigenous government and in a bid to uplift the living conditions of the majority of citizens, the government and local authority embarked on expanding housing infrastructure in the city. New residential areas were opened up for high cost (Kabulonga, Roma, Olympia) and medium cost (Lilanda, Kabwata, Libala). By the 1970s, the local authority developed initiative projects for indigenous persons to construct their own medium cost housing units. Helen Kaunda, Mtendere and Kabwata Site and Service evolved. However this was still on a low scale as the majority of the population resided in government or council housing units 10.

With expansion of the city’s population, the strain on housing units was resolved by government encouraging retired persons to return to their places of origin in rural areas and engage in farming. This was the infamous “go back to the land” philosophy in the UNIP regime. This freed up housing units for new younger occupants. However this pattern could not be sustained for long as the expansion of the population was rapid surpassing the available housing units. Thus further initiatives by the government were employed such as setting up of the Zambia National Building Authority that was charged with developing affordable housing schemes 10. With a change of government in 1991, the housing sector took a dramatic turn that changed the scenario of housing construction in Lusaka and the nation at large.

2.2. The Sale of Government and Organisations Housing Units

When Dr. Fredrick JT Chiluba took over government from Dr Kenneth Kaunda in 1991, a new housing policy was ushered in. The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) government sought to empower people with decent housing even after leaving employment and in their retirement. The ‘go back to the land’ philosophy of the previous government was seen as a colonial relic that used African labour from rural areas and once not needed had to be sent back thus leaving urban areas primarily for European settlers. Chiluba sought to empower ordinary occupants of government and local authority houses by offering occupants to buy them at ridiculously low prices. Lowest pegged houses built in colonial era such as Chilenje were sold for as little as K30 (USD$1.86). Argument was made that it was a popularity policy to keep the MMD in government longer. The immediate impact of this policy was the complete loss of revenue from rentals by local authorities and non-availability of housing units for young professionals entering the labour market or migrant labourers 11.

2.3. Local Government loss of Capacity in Provision of Housing

The policy of selling off government and local authority houses was equally aimed at allowing local authorities to start developing new housing schemes for the expanding population. The government and local authorities were still expected to be providing housing in these new schemes. It was assessed that no major housing developments had been embarked on since the mid-1970s before the economy of the country took a downward spiral. Hence the new policy would create an impetus for a new surge in housing development.

A decade later after the policy was implemented, it became evident that the hoped for direction would not materialise owing to liquidity problems in both the central government and the local authority. In spite of this, the population of the city and the new surge in a liberal economy expanded and the need for housing became a crisis. The local government was no longer able to provide housing for residents seeking government housing. The only option was renting of houses from new owners of the sold units. Soon it came to be realised that rentals being charged for the old units were high beyond the reach of the majority. City dwellers also reasoned that in the long run, paying of rent was a drain on their hard earned resources 12.

2.4. Modern Housing Deficit in Lusaka

As already alluded to, population expansion of the city was not only spurred by natural birth, but migration of populations into the city for economic liberation. New businesses developed and foreign investment became an attraction for migrant labour. The already existing strain on local government to provide housing for a rapidly growing population became more acute. New areas were thus opened up for housing development by residents themselves (for example Chalala, Kamwala South, Libala South, Chilenje South, Ibex Hill, to mention but a few). Since much of the land around the peripherals of the city in pre-colonial times had been leased out as farmlands, the government begun to urge farm owners to consider leasing out this land for housing units. This saw the evolving of housing settlements such as Meanwood, Foxdale, Twin Palm, Silverest and Mtendere East 13. The National Census of 2010{1} elaborates on the discrepancy of households and housing units available to them. They equally enumerates deficits in water and sanitation facilities. For example, the Census indicated an availability of only 2.6 million housing units against a national population of 13 million 14. Housing deficit in Lusaka became acute creating an enormous challenge for Town Planners to keep pace with provision of housing to an expanding population.

2.5. Regional and Town Planning Building Regulations

As in any other industry, government has enacted laws that should govern the development of the housing industry. In Zambia, the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, Cap 283 which was later amended as the Urban and Regional Planning Act of 2015 (URP Act, 2015) governs the development of human settlements in the country by all civic authorities. This is the bench mark for all housing development in Zambia. On the local level, each local authority, acting in a semi-autonomous way, has by-laws that govern the construction of houses. The Lusaka civic authority under the department of planning has developed the City Planning Regulation which is a subset of the URP Act, 2015. It equally stipulates the specification of housing construction. Pertinent tenets of the Acts that were indicators for the study included the following:

URP Act 2015 Part VI

• Panning Permission – Section 49 No 1, 2 & 3

• Development Permit and Application – Section 52 No. 1 & 2

URP Act 2015 Part VIII

• Planning Inspectors – Section 64 No. 1

• Enforcement – Section 65 No 1 & 2

• Penalties – Section 67 No. 1 & 2

2.6. Current Challenges of Unauthorised Housing Development in Lusaka

The rapid population expansion and a critical shortage of housing in Lusaka alluded to above, has created a desperate sociological and psychological dynamic that overlooks governing principles and regulation in housing development among a section of the population in the city. Abrogation of the cited regulations above can be observed in a number of selected townships in the city.


2.6.1. Abrogation of Safety Regulations

Building regulation stipulates the necessity of access roads for the public and emergency vehicle such as ambulances. Examples include the Public Roads Act of 2002 and URP Act, 2015 Part VIII Section 69 No. 1 (c) (ii) and No. 1 (d) (v) and (vii). Tenet (v) stipulates ‘the location or design of any means of access to a highway or the materials to be used in the construction of the highway’, while tenet (vi) stipulates ‘the provision of any roads, surface water drainage, water supply or sewerage treatment or discharge, including sewage disposal plants.’

In Garden-Chilulu Township, a series of houses were constructed without access roads bordering a sewerage treatment plant. Further, at the heart of the city in Libala Township, apartments were developed on an access road that town planners designed to prevent residents entering a busy highway when navigated their residential precincts. In both cases, safety of residents is compromised and can therefore be queried as to whether any communication of stipulated building regulations was done by civic authorities to these abrogating housing developers.


2.6.2. Abrogation of Health Regulations

Stipulation on adherence to health standards also forms a cardinal requirement to developing of housing. The Public Health Act is a key legislation of health and is cited numerously by the URP Act, 2015 mentioned above. In Misisi Township, observation was made of houses being constructed in garbage dumps (Figure 4) and non-existent sanitation facilities. Therefore query is made on any communication of health regulations in housing construction by civic authorities.

3. Statement of the Problem

The housing deficit in Lusaka has created an overwhelming situation for the civic authority in securing land and regulating construction of housing by individual developers. On their part, the Lusaka Town Panning Authority (LTPA) has in place well-articulated regional and town planning building regulations that stipulate the process to be adhered to by housing developers. On the contrary, observation in selected townships of Lusaka indicate extensive abrogation of safety and health standards stipulated in building regulations by housing developers. Sanitation dodges selected Lusaka townships causing perennial outbreaks of cholera each year. Accessibility of service vehicles such as fire tenders during emergencies compromises safety. It can therefore be questioned whether a communication gap exists between Lusaka Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD). If there are building regulations stipulated for housing construction by the civic authority, why are they not adhered to by unauthorised housing developers as evidenced in the selected townships? Enquiry is therefore made on a possible cause of this apparent communication disconnect between the two entities. Is there a complete lack of communication from town planning authorities or limited communication which housing developers ignore? Or could it be in the coding of building regulations that housing developers have a challenge in decoding?

4. Study on Communication in Housing Development

4.1. Objectives

The purpose of the study was to make an assessment of the communication dynamics that exist between Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD) in selected townships of the city. It focused first on determining the extent to which housing developers in selected areas of Lusaka acquire building permission from town planners and then sought to evaluate the content of stipulated building regulations (which in this study, being on communication dynamics, are termed Building Regulation Messages (BRM)). The study then assessed dissemination of BRM by civic authorities and finally enquired into the decoding process of BRM among Unauthorised Housing Developers.

4.2. Literature Review

A global phenomenon exists of unauthorised housing development that municipalities grapple with. Factors causing this phenomenon vary diversely and include rapid urbanization 15, homelessness and poverty 16, profit speculation 17, building regulations 18, 19, land use change 19, 20, and inhabitants’ culture 21. Even with building regulations in existence, this phenomenon persists calling into question the communication dynamics between civic authorities and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD). This communication challenge hinges on the twin pillars of message content and dissemination process. The decoding of message content becomes a further contention.


4.2.1. Communication between Municipalities & UHD

Communication is a multifaceted activity and multiple challenges exist for its attainment in organisations that handle public services. Examples can be noted in the two-way communication challenge experienced by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation highlighted in a study by Christoph Woiwode titled Urban Risk Communication in Ahmedabad between Slum Dwellers and the Municipal Corporation 22. The findings of this study suggest that a meaningful two-way communication process can only take place if the interaction of stakeholders is understood in terms of human relationships that go beyond techno-bureaucratic co-ordination and the prevalent notion of mono-directional communication. Waiowode pinpoints a fact of a one-way communication process were the municipal authorities do not get feedback from these UHD in order to revolve issues of health and safety.

Another communication challenge experienced by municipalities hinges on capacity to reach the masses as highlighted in a study by Vijaykumar and Raamkumar titled Zika reveals India’s risk communication challenges and needs 23 in which they point out a lack of capacity in the municipality on risk communication research and scholarship. In other words, the municipality depended on old practices to deal with an increased problem of unauthorised settlements. A near summation of challenges that dodge communication in construction is presented by Stephen Akuyumu et al. in their study titled Communication problems in projects - a research study for construction site projects: a case study of Ghana revealing a total of six principle components: lack of access to information, cultural challenges, delay in information delivery, technical language challenge, lack of feedback and lack of teamwork. These emerged as problems encountered on site communication 24. However, this study does not reveal any communication strategies of municipalities in relation to housing construction.

In the face of these communication challenges, municipalities strive to utilise innovations to access communities in their jurisdictions. For example, Alessandro Lovari explores the use of social media by municipalities in engaging with communities on diverse social services. In his study on Public Administrations and Citizens 2.0: Exploring Digital Public Communication Strategies and Civic Interaction within Italian Municipality Pages on Facebook, Lovari discusses how the use of social network sites is influencing public communication strategies and online users’ interactions have spurred an interest in municipal services in Italy 25.


4.2.2. Content of Building Regulation Messages (BRM)

One major correlate of communication is the message. As the paradigm of communication involves a sender transmitting a message to a receiver, the message content equally becomes pertinent in its effectiveness of being decoded by the recipient. It therefore begs the question that if abrogation of building regulations occurs, could this reside in the content not being decoded due to the design of the messages themselves? India has recognised this content challenge and circumvented it through a diversity in approach. The UN-Habitat Report of 2003 expounds that being a subcontinent with a vast territory and population, building regulations exhibits variations from territory to territory. States municipalities are cognisant of cultural diversities and regional conditions in developing building regulations that suit inhabitants of territories such as Ahmedabad, Kolkata (Calcutta), Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. However, challenges still abound even with this approach. For example, Ahmedabad Municipal Council has had the challenge of implementing the new insights in their overall urban planning due to regulations on land tenure not well received in the region 21.

Sergio Alcocer and Victor Castano echoes this challenge in their study titled Evolution of codes for structural design in Mexico in which they discover that structural codes have become more refined and complex, including at each revision of the current state-of-the-art knowledge. However, code compliance and code misinterpretation are prevalent, mainly because users are not familiar with the concepts and technologies involved. Also, it is stated that government authorities lack the technical capacity to identify code misinterpretations. They therefore recommend that, for non-engineered construction guidelines, other educational sources are needed in lieu of merely enforcing codes 26.


4.2.3. Dissemination of Building Regulation Messages (BRM)

A developed textual product is only as good when it is disseminated to the intended recipients. This becomes a critical level in the communication process and the success of the designed message. Even with well thought out building regulations being in place, abrogation is noted to be endemic in cities across the globe. Could this be attributed not only to the content message but the dissemination process?

In the Pacific nations of Malaysia and Philippines, Arifah Fasha Rosmani et al in a study titled The evolution of information dissemination, communication media and technology in Malaysia points to the change that has occurred over a century on information dissemination in Malaysia. This has largely been pioneered by the government with an entry of the private sector in recent times mainly in the mobile and internet sector. Rosmani states that the interdependent use of the Internet and mobile phones has outperformed other media, especially in terms of information search, knowledge trustworthiness and audience accessibility 27. It would be assumed municipalities adopt some of these dissemination processes in housing development though literature reviewed in this study does not indicate this.

On the European continent, an innovative way has been developed in a bid to effectively manage communication in the construction industry across Europe. A consortium was formed in 1989 that pools together information and disseminates it across the continent for control of construction and cub illegal activities. The Consortium of European Building Control (CEBC) includes 35 members of the Institute of Building Control and the then Commission of European Communities, with the aim of creating a body to represent the profession across the continent. Currently, it provides a forum for those responsible for the content of building regulations in European states who carry out technical assessments or compliance inspections 28.

In spite of the bureaucratic challenges, Lagos has an effective form of disseminating key elements in building regulations. The approval, rejection or withdrawal pertaining to building plans are publicized in the Official Lagos State Government Gazette. Members of the public are informed about building regulations by the regulatory authority through print media (dailies) where adverts are placed warning them against contravening conduct. The target are property owners, building developers and occupants in Lagos` metropolitan centres 29. However, even with such extensive publication of information on building regulations, the aspect of land management remains a key factor in failure by settlers to adhere to building regulations. Aluko attributes this inadequacy flow of information about land issues has an impediment to adherence to building regulations 29.


4.2.4. Knowledge Gap in Reviewed Literature

From reviewed literature, explicit communication between municipalities and UHD in not clearly stated. Communication strategies among the majority of municipalities focus on other services in their cities and if they relate to housing, it goes as far as regular building regulations that are stipulated for housing developers to adhere to. There is a lack of a deliberate targeted communication approach to UHD.

Literature reviewed indicates that, although the content of building regulations vary from country to country and region to region, they are principally worded in technical legal language. The necessity of this wording is out rightly apparent as management of any system requires uniformity and tested practices in procedures and processes of administration. Reviewed literature indicates a challenge in this, for example, the case of Brazil were favela tend to be managed by ‘underground’ systems entails a watered down unwritten regulation which can be decoded by the illiterate and semi-literate settlers. Further, such ‘diluted’ regulations are not strictly adhered to 30.

The dissemination process of BRM in the reviewed literature has been observed to be a critical challenge. Sporadic methods are alluded to which include both print and electronic mediums. It is therefore apparent that an assumption exists that once building regulations have been passed as a law, the responsibility is on each housing developer to access BRM from the civic authority. This accessing could be through office visit or, in this electronic age, from websites. After this accessing, the developers is expected to implement the set standards.


4.2.5. Conceptual Framework

The communication dynamics between Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD) is conceptualised as illustrated in Figure 5 below.

4.3. Methodology

The study utilised the Grounded Theory Method (GTM), a qualitative research design in which the enquirer generates a general explanation (a theory) of a process, action, or interaction shaped by the views of a large number of participants 31. This theory or an abstract analytical schema of process, is generated through an intensive inquiry of the experience of participants. The approach is termed ‘grounded’ since the theory-development does not come ‘off the shelf,’ but rather is generated or ‘grounded’ in data from participants who have experienced the process 31. There are five procedural levels in this approach namely:

- Level 1: discovering the main concern (open coding)

- Level 2: identifying the core category (open coding)

- Level3: identifying concepts (selective coding),

- level 4: developing a theory (theoretical coding)

- Level 5: theoretical integration.

A preliminary enquiry is done to establish the basic sociological and psychological processes of the phenomenon under study in order to formulate enquiry for the first level.

The study selected eight townships in the city under four categories of high cost, medium cost, low cost and ungazetted housing. These were Meanwood Kwamwena, Silverest, Mtendere, Kanyama, Bauleni, Garden Chilulu, John Howard and Misisi.

The population of the study were Town Planning specialists at the Lusaka Civic Centre and residents of the selected 8 townships in the city. The sample size of the study varied at each level of enquiry with aggregates of 25 Town Planning experts and 154 housing developers as indicated in Figure 6. Semi-structured questionnaires and interviews were utilised in data collection as specified for each level.

The study begun with a preliminary enquiry that assessed the sociological and psychological issues regarding the phenomenon of unauthorised housing construction. Results from this preliminary enquiry informed the line of enquiry for discovering the main concern regarding communication between the two entities under study. At the first level of discovering the main concern, interviews were conducted and the process of open coding done. With the discovery of the main concern, enquiry was then directed at identifying the core category through semi-structured interviews of selected respondents from the preceding enquiry. Findings were equally open coded and utilised to develop enquiry into saturating the core category and thus enabling the identification of concepts through the process of selective coding. From these concepts, the fourth level of developing a theory was done through the process of theoretical coding. The emergent substantive grounded theory was then integrated in the fifth level of theoretical integration with existing theories in communication.

5. Findings

Data collection and its simultaneous analysis in the GTM deductive process generated at each level specific incidents that were utilised to derive a substantive grounded theory on the communication dynamics between Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD) in selected townships of Lusaka.

5.1. Preliminary Enquiry

A preliminary enquiry that was done to establish a dominant sociological and psychological process in the phenomenon under study revealed a diversity of factors underlying the phenomenon. Among the 9 selected Town Planners, enquiry focused on residential satisfaction (economic gain, educational and health facilities, services and security of tenure) and (b) planning satisfaction (motivation, insecurities and service satisfaction) for housing developers they handle. A major sociological factor was economic gain i.e. rentals (75%) while the dominant psychological factor among housing developers was security of a permanent homestead (84%). Town Planners indicated that these factors drove housing developers into circumventing adherence to stipulated building regulations creating sense of hopelessness (80%) in enforcing regulations evidenced by their very limited level of inspection or involvement in housing development in the selected townships. Among the 24 selected respondents of housing developers in the 8 selected townships, enquiry was focused on (a) acquisition of residential plot (b) architectural designs (c) submission of drawings (d) construction of house (e) occupation of house. The dominant sociological factor deduced was their need to secure housing for the livelihood of their families (96%) resulting in majority of respondents (78%) ignoring the authorization process they experience as cumbersome.

From this preliminary enquiry, it became apparent that a disconnect existed between UHD in the selected townships and LTPA. The researcher therefore had a basis on which to enquire into the main concern that has created this communication disconnect.

5.2. Discovering Main Concern

Semi-structured interviews were administered to nine (9) LTPA respondents. Open coding of data revealed the following key incidents on each aspect of the enquiry. On extent of unauthorised housing development, LTPA respondents indicated that, even with the existence of a defined approval process (100%), the extent of housing developers acquiring building permission has limitation of 50% attributed to housing developers in high cost areas who have access to both development funds and information on BRM (72.7%). The remaining part of the population lack information caused by a lack of sensitization by civic authorities on BRM (72.7%) and red tape (27.3%). On content of BRM, even though the Town Planning Act was replaced with the Urban and Regional Planning Act in 2015, it was still in an easily readable form (83.3%) but lacked a translation in vernacular (100%) and thus not making it easily comprehensible by the entire population (100%).

On the dissemination process of BRM, four key sites were mentioned as sources namely online, government printers, local government and Zambia Institute of Planners with three modes of dissemination being cited namely hard printed copies (50%), online messaging (21.4%) and radio outreach (14.3%). On decoding of BRM, it was indicated that civic authorities fully comprehend the tenets of the URP Act (83.3%) but it is challenging for housing developers who only comprehend basics of the tenets (50%) evidenced in the technical errors and non-compliance observed in construction of houses.

For UHD, a total of 80 respondents were administered with semi-structured interviews. Open coding of data obtained from the respondents derived the following incidents on each aspect of the enquiry. On the extent of obtaining permission from town planning authorities, there is very limited permission seeking through the established process with the majority not applying nor undergoing the process. Cardinal reasons for this failure are attributed to ignorance, illiteracy, improper documentation and a lengthy, complex and costly process. Others reasons include lack of sensitization and communication, third party involvement, fear of losing plot or demolition and the notion of the process being unimportant. On content of the BRM, there is very limited possession of the URP Act, 2015 with the majority never having seen it before. This is attributed to the URP Act, 2015 being in a technical format coded in English resulting in majority respondents being ignorant of it; lack of sensitization and communication, accessibility and disinterest on the part of the populous.

On dissemination, there is very limited sourcing of BRM from LTPA offices and website with the majority not knowing where to source it. This is attributed to very limited and non-inspection visitation of LTPA coupled with a lack of sensitization activities on the URP Act. On decoding, there is very limited comprehension of the URP Act owing to education and literacy levels with the majority never having studied the document. This is attributed to ignorance, illiteracy, technicality of Act which in not comprehensible and coded in English. This lack of comprehension is further attributed to lack of sensitization, accessibility and disinterestedness.

The discovered main concern therefore was that there is a non-application for authorisation and undergoing the process by UHD occasioned by non-possession and accessibility of the URP Act, 2015 since there is limited sensitization on it. This then results in a lack of studying and comprehension of the Act by UHD owing to ignorance, illiteracy and complexity resulting in non-compliance.

5.3. Identifying Core Categories

The second level of GTM process aims at identifying core categories that gives an explanation to the discovered main concern. A core category will be recognised as it will have a real explanatory ground for the main concern established. Semi-structured interviews were thus conducted with 5 LTPA respondents from among the 9 selected in the first level and 40 UHD respondents from among the 80 selected in the first level. Open coding was done for the collected data through observation of incident frequency and explanatory ground for the main concern. For LTPA, on content, enquiry focused on development and coding of URP Act, 2015, framework, participation and language of coding; on dissemination, enquiry centred on sensitization and medium; and on decoding, enquiry was made on comprehension of URP Act, 2015. For UHD, enquiry focused on non-application of building permission, non-possession of URP Act, 2015 at start of construction, knowledge on source of the Act, inspection of construction sites to monitor compliance, and comprehension levels of URP Act, 2015. Incident frequencies allowed for identification of core categories and contrasted with main concern in Figure 7 to show that they provide a real explanatory ground for the main concern.

5.4. Identifying Concepts

With the identification of core categories, the researcher proceeded into identifying concepts through a process of selective coding. This was done by saturating variables that relate to core categories through constant data comparison. Further data was thus collected utilising in-depth interviews from two (2) respondents among the five (5) LTPA respondents in the preceding level and 10 respondents among the 40 UHD in the preceding level. Data collection was limited to the identified core categories.

To enable a systematic identification of concepts for the identified core categories, a comparative table was developed which created focused enquiry on each core category. From this table, selective focused enquiry was developed with the aim of saturating variables related to the core categories. Figure 8 indicates the concepts identified from this process for both LTPA and UHD respondents. These identified concepts formed the basis of theoretical coding in the next GTM level of developing a substantive grounded theory.

5.5. Developing a Theory

Theoretical coding is the fourth level in GTM which examines concepts from saturated categories and provides the researcher with analytical criteria for the development of conceptual relationships. Theoretical codes integrates everything giving integrative scope, broad pictures and a new perspective. Ultimately, a meaningful schema of interpretation of the causal relationships is produced, linking the conceptual outcomes of the analysis 32. A starting point for theoretical coding is to imbed derived concepts in the conceptual framework of the study (Figure 9) to appreciate links in the phenomenon under study.


5.5.1. Schema of Interpretation

From these imbedded derived concepts in the conceptual framework (Figure 9) indicating their relation to the communication dynamics under study, analysis was made on the causal relationships among the concepts that would build into a meaningful schema of interpretation to derive a substantive theory. As can be noted, the two entities under study exist in a dichotomy. The communication between them is dependent on the dissemination process. However this is intricately intertwined in properties of the content of the BRM (URP Act, 2015) and the properties of decoding capacities of recipients of the messages. This causal relationships of properties in the concepts can be illustrated in a schema of interpretation as in Figure 10. The interpretation of this schema ultimately gives the required conceptual relationships being sort in modelling a theory. These conceptual relationships are indicated in the scheme by the concluding question that links to the subsequent level.


5.5.2. Modelling of a Theory

Bess Ruff states that a theory explains why something happens or how several things are related 33. In this study, analysis of data points to how several factors relate in the communication dynamics between LTPA and UHD as illustrated in the schema of interpretation. Theoretical sensitivity played a role to ensure that generated concepts from data relate to normal models of theory in general 34 and therefore attaining theoretical coding. Theoretical codes conceptualize how the substantive codes may relate to each other as hypotheses to be integrated into a theory. In other words, theoretical coding generates meaning and scope to the theory that is emergent and involves conceptualizing the relationship between categories as illustrated in the schema of interpretation above for this study.

In relation to GT Theoretical Coding Family, what has emerged for this study is Casual. There is a strong causal relationship among the concepts generated on the communication between LTPA and UHD. From the nine theoretical coding under Causal Family that Glaser et al. lists 34, the possibility for this study are two, namely Conjuctural causation and reciprocal causation. This researcher however finds a more incline to conjectural causation than reciprocal causation. Reciprocal causation entails one factor is bearing on another factor in an equal way. For example, in this study, the level of comprehension for LTPA is reciprocal to that of UHD in relation to decoding the URP Act, 2015. Certainly this is not the case and therefore there is no reciprocal causation. Conjunctural causation is more favourable which entails the action or an instance of two or more events or things occurring at the same point in time or space. In this study, theoretical coding has indicated that elements in the communication dynamic between LTPA and UHD occur at a same point in time and space. For example the non-acquisition of building permission by UHD occurs simultaneously as LTPA are partially disseminating information on URP Act, 2015 online. Or the failure to be aware of the existence of the Act and its contents, happens simultaneously as the phenomenon of unauthorised housing construction is underway. From the theoretical coding therefore done, with a conjectural causation, what follows is formulating a concise statement that encapsulates the theoretical codes into a substantive ground theory.


5.2.3. Metaphorical Description of Casual Relationship

A placenta is an organ that enables a foetus to develop in a female. The foetus develops independently of its host however with an indispensable linkage between them. The activities of the host has a greater impact on the foetus than in the converse. However, even with such an imperative dependence on the host, the foetus ‘mysteriously’ develops on its own. It evolves at each stage without the host ‘issuing’ instructions, rules, regulations, codes, etc. The ‘main concern’ of the foetus is SURVIVAL, to exist and live. This existential factor for the foetus is extensive and ultimately results in birth. Metaphorically, it is not primarily ‘aware’ of the ‘content’ of the nourishment from the host, neither does it bother itself with the umbilical ‘channel’ through which the host ‘disseminates’ vital life nutrients. Its ‘preoccupation’ is to survive, its livelihood, its existential reality. Though the foetus and the host co-exist in the same space and time, they are separated by a placenta with an amniotic sac and fluid. The interaction between them is somewhat superficial, a communication which is ‘silent’ with neither side bothered about this docile communication. What is certain is that each side will ultimately attained a desired goal...somewhat independently though this may seem...new life will spring into this world.

This metaphorical description of the foetus in a placenta encapsulates the causal relationship that exists in the communication between Lusaka Town Planning Authority and Unauthorised Housing Developers from the theoretical coding done above.


5.5.4. Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT)

Utilising the metaphorical description of a foetus in a placenta, a substantive communication theory for this study can be formulated as follows:-

Organisations are mandated by law to implement stipulated regulations on a population in a given sector. The coding and articulation of these regulations is done independent of the populous of whom the organisation is expectant to comply. Due to assumed maternal parentage of the populous by the organisation, limited interaction (communication) occurs between them with the populous instinctively adopting an existential position. The populous evolves autonomously in the ambit of a semi-absent maternal host. Although there is a mild communication between them, a disconnect is apparent. The ultimate result is a silent fulfilment for both the organisation and the populous. For the organisation, an apparent implementation of its mandate and for the populous, its existential fulfilment, this all done at a real risk that compromises quality stipulated in the regulations (Figure 11).

In applying PLACOT on entities in this study, concepts can be related as follows and illustrated in Figure 12. Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) is mandated by law to implement stipulated building regulations (URP Act, 2015) on the population of housing developers [foetus] in Lusaka city. The coding of URP Act, 2015 and its articulation in English [placenta] is done independent of housing developers who are expected to comply with it. Since LTPA considers itself as the ultimate authority [maternal mother] in the city on housing development from which the populous must obtain construction permits, it has a very limited interaction (communication) [umbilical cord] with housing developers. With this situation, housing developers instinctively adopt an existential position of constructing houses without permission from an ‘absent’ mother body. Although LTPA exhibits a communication with housing developers through dissemination of building regulations online, there exists a disconnect between them. The ultimate result is a silent fulfilment for both entities [cervix] - for LTPA, they experience an apparent implementation of building regulations on housing developers in the city; while for UHD, their survival and livelihood [cervix] and this done at a real risk of safety and health standards. This placenta communication approach between LTPA and UHD leads to an extensive phenomenon of unauthorised constructions which abrogates stipulated building regulations.

6. Discussion of Findings

Theoretical integration of PLACOT into existing theories leverage on time aspect and simplification. On time, Diffusion of Innovations postulates the imperativeness of time span for communicated information to be adopted by a population. Everett Rogers defines it as a process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system 35. In relation to this study, it would allude to housing construction techniques being diffused through the population and gradually housing developers adopting these innovations to uphold safety and health standards. PLACOT has however indicated that innovations in construction by LTPA are not diffusing effectively and hence not being adopted by UHD. What is more apparent is compelling interpersonal communication among UHD by word of mouth which fills this vacuum with mostly skewed unsafe structures imitated as building standards in the settlements. What the diffusion of innovation theory shows in this study then is the limitation of communication between the two entities under study. In this same manner, PLACOT parallels diffusion of innovation in the limitation of communication that occurs between the ‘maternal mother’ organisation and the targeted population (foetus). And like in diffusion of innovations where there is a challenge in adopting an innovation due to limited information and hence a continuation of existing practices, in PLACOT, this limitation in received information results is the populous going its own way in its practices. The two theories therefore strike similarity in limited and gradual flow of information to the targeted population.

On simplification, the Theory of Regulatory Compliance (TRC) focuses on the aspect of rules being presented in a form people will comprehend with ease. TRC emphasis on selecting the right rules rather than having more or less rules and the nature of these rules as being significantly predictive of positive outcomes by being in compliance with said rules 36. PLACOT equally begins with intricate formulation of rules by an organisation with the intention of these rules being appropriate to predict positive outcomes when complied with. However, a unique turn for TRC is its postulation that there is a possibility that being in "full" or 100% compliance with all rules was not necessarily a good policy and that all rules or regulations are not created equal. It attributes this to the fact that the nature of the rules themselves may be the real problem 36. The limitation in information flow in PLACOT is partly attributed to the nature of regulations (BRM) formulated which may prove a challenge to the target audience. In this case the organisation as a maternal parent is reluctant to fully disseminate regulations it knows are not favourable for the targeted audience since compliance will not only be an issue with the targeted audience but also with the nature of the regulations. TRC advocates for a ‘right’ balance of rules or regulations to resolve the dilemma of an organisation having to deregulate or over-regulate to attain compliance. In both cases the resultant effect may not really be good but mediocre facilities. In PLACOT, deregulating or over-regulating in order to expand information reaching the targeted population which strive for existential reality, may equally result in negative effects. It therefore becomes imperative that compliance to regulations begins at the formulation stage if their communication will be done effectively in diverse channels and be adopted by the recipient.

With derivation of PLACOT, it becomes apparent that every aspect in the communication dynamics between LTPA and UHD require fundamental adjustment from formulation of building regulation messages to dissemination methods to capacity of recipients to adopt the communicated information.

7. Conclusions

This study has established a fundamental disconnect that exists in the communication dynamics between Lusaka Town Planning Authority (LTPA) and Unauthorised Housing Developers (UHD). LTPA as a regulatory organ on housing development in the city enforces the URP Act, 2015 by an initial step of granting Development (building) Permits to housing developers to uphold safety and health standards. However there is ignorance on this process by UHD and thus failure in permission seeking has created a wide spread phenomenon of unauthorised housing development. This ignorance on permission seeking is attributed to community members being excluded in formulating building regulations since these are intended for technocrats in their implementation of housing development. Further, building regulations are coded in the technical English official language only alienating community members which results in the populous not being aware of the existence of the Act and its contents and thus occasioning non-compliance to stipulated building regulations. Another noted aspect in this communication disconnect between LTPA and UHD is very limited sensitization on the URP Act, 2015 by LTPA which is restricted to online platform. The effective dissemination channels for a general populous of radios, social media and one-on-one are non-existent. This limited sensitization restricted to online platform has occasioned limited knowledge on the existence of the Act resulting in non-compliance by selected UHD. Finally the URP Act, 2015 is a technically coded document intended for technocrats and hence poses a challenge of decoding by UHD to their education levels. Thus in the compounded communication situation, UHD pressured by sociological and psychological need for their existential reality, simply ignore the entire process and develop housing with risk in safety and health standards. This compounded communication situation has been illustrated in this study by PLACOT.

Acknowledgements

Appreciation is rendered to my thesis supervisor Dr Elijah M. Bwalya Ass. Dean Research, University of Zambia; Dr Francis Simui, Researcher, Institute of Distance Education, University of Zambia; Research Assistant Sefelino Mwamba, Lusaka Town Planning authority; Dr Patrick Mubanga, Engineer, Rural Electrification Authority; Dr Charles Banda Chief Librarian, University of Zambia; Dr Lameck Amugongo, Imaging specialist, Namibia University of Science and Technology; Dr Freeborn Kibombwe, Communication specialist, Joseph Theological Institute, South Africa and Dr Celestino Chishimba, Canon of Gaborone Cathedral, Botswana.

Notes

1. The 2010 National Census is latest by this study since the 2020 National Census was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. The National Census is currently underway in Zambia (2022). Computation of national statistics are thus expected by 2023.

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Appendix

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2022 Felix Mumbi Chilufya, Elijah M. Bwalya and Francis Simui

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Felix Mumbi Chilufya, Elijah M. Bwalya, Francis Simui. Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development. Journal of City and Development. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2022, pp 33-47. https://pubs.sciepub.com/jcd/4/1/4
MLA Style
Chilufya, Felix Mumbi, Elijah M. Bwalya, and Francis Simui. "Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development." Journal of City and Development 4.1 (2022): 33-47.
APA Style
Chilufya, F. M. , Bwalya, E. M. , & Simui, F. (2022). Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development. Journal of City and Development, 4(1), 33-47.
Chicago Style
Chilufya, Felix Mumbi, Elijah M. Bwalya, and Francis Simui. "Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development." Journal of City and Development 4, no. 1 (2022): 33-47.
Share
[1]  Shannon & Weaver (2013). Model of Communication. Available from:https://communicationinlibraries.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/shannon-weaver-model-of-communication/[Accessed 23.7. 2020].
In article      
 
[2]  Zambia Statistics Agency (2021). Zambia Data Hub: Lusaka Townships [Online]. Available from:<https://zambia-open-data-nsdi-mlnr.hub.arcgis.com/datasets/>. [Accessed 22 March 2021].
In article      
 
[3]  Grollnek, Matthew - Own work [Online] Available from: <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid>. [Accessed 8 February 2020].
In article      
 
[4]  Mulenga, A. (2013). [Online Images]. Available from: <https://andrewmulenga.blogspot.com/2013/03/arts-to-take-centre-stage-during.html>. [Accessed 18 May 2018].
In article      
 
[5]  Hansen K. Tranberg (1982). Lusaka’s Squatters: Past and Present in African Studies Review Journal vol. xxv. Available from <https://www.jstor.org/stable/524213?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents>. [Accessed18 March 2017].
In article      
 
[6]  Mulenga Leonard Chileshe (2015). The Case of Lusaka, Zambia [Online article]. Available from: <https://sigus.scripts.mit.edu/x/archived/challengecourse/pdfs/pdfscities/Lusaka.pdf>. [Accessed 14 June 2018].
In article      
 
[7]  African village Images (2018) [Online image]. Available from: <https://www.google.co.zm/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2a>. [Accessed 15 September 2018].
In article      
 
[8]  Northern Rhodesia Police Photo circa 1954 [Online Image]. Available from: <https://ukzambians.co.uk/home/2016/09/03/photos-from-the-colonial-archives-64/normal_rhodesia_police0/>. [9 Feb. 2018].
In article      
 
[9]  Roberts Andrew (1979). A History of Zambia. Available from:< https://books.google.co.zm/books?id=p6HyAQAACAAJ&dq=history+of+zambia.>. [Accessed18 May 2019].
In article      
 
[10]  Zulu R and Oyama S (2017). Urbanisation, Housing Problems and Residential land Conflicts in Zambia in Japanese Journal of Human Geography (Jimbun Chiri) Vol. 69 No. 1 (2017) 73-86.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Schlyter Ann (2003). The Privatization of Public Housing and the Exclusion of Women: A case Study in Lusaka, Zambia. University of Gothenburg [Online article] Available from: <file:///C:/Users/felix/Downloads/The_Privatisation_of_Public_Housing_and_the_Exclus.pdf>. [Accessed 24 May 2019].
In article      
 
[12]  Report of the National Assembly Committee on Local Government and Housing on Housing Situation in Zambia (2016). Available from: <https://parliament.gov.zm/sites/default/files/documents/:2016>. [Accessed 14 May 2020].
In article      
 
[13]  Phiri Daniel (2016). Challenges of Affordable Housing Delivery in Zambia [Online article]. Centre for Affordable Housing in Africa. Available from: <https://housingfinanceafrica.org/documents/challenges-of-affordable-housing-delivery-in-zambia/>. [Accessed 19 Jan 2019].
In article      
 
[14]  ZamStat (2021). Available from:<https://zambia-open-data-nsdi-mlnr.hub.arcgis.com/datasets>. [Accessed 15 May 2020].
In article      
 
[15]  Satterthwaite D, McGranahan G and Tacoli C (2010). Urbanisation and its Implications for Food and Farming in The Royal Society Publishing [Online] Available: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935117/>. [Accessed May 18 2019].
In article      
 
[16]  United Nations Sector of Economic and Social Affairs (2004) [Online]. Available from: <https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/wess_archive/2004wess_part2_eng.pdf>. [Accessed 19September 2019].
In article      
 
[17]  United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (2010). A Practical Guide for Conducting: Housing Profiles -Supporting evidence-based housing policy and reform. Nairobi [Online]. Available from: <https://www.unhabitat.org>. [9.9. 2019].
In article      
 
[18]  Phiri Daniel (2016). Challenges of affordable Housing Delivery in Zambia in Centre for affordable Housing Finance in Africa. <https://housingfinanceafrica.org/documents/challenges-of-affordable-housing-delivery-in-zambia/. [Accessed 18 Mar 2019].
In article      
 
[19]  South Africa National Building Standards (SANS) (2020). Rapid Urban Decay in Jozi Blamed on Illegal Building in Building Regulations [Online]. Available from: <https://www.sans10400.co.za/illegal-building-leads-to-chaos/>. [Accessed 24 March 2020].
In article      
 
[20]  Santosa H (2004). The structural Forms and construction of informal Housing: A case study of East Java. Available from: <https://www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB1761.pdf >. [Accessed 26 June 2019].
In article      
 
[21]  United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (2003). The Challenge of Slums- Global Report on Human Settlements. London. Earthscan Publications. Available from :< https://www.unhabitat.org>. [Accessed 19 August 2019].
In article      
 
[22]  Woiwode C (2021). Risk Communication in Ahmedabad [Online]. Availablefrom:<https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/37406776/Risk_Communication_in_Ahmedabad-PhD_thesis_CWoiwode.pdf?1429845683=&response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DUrban_Risk_Communication_in_Ahmedabad_In.pdf>. [Accessed 18 January 2021].
In article      
 
[23]  Vijaykumar,S & Raamkumar, A S (2018). Zika reveals India’s risk communication challenges and needs in Indian Journal of Medical Ethics [Online Journal]. Available from: <https://hdl.handle.net/10356/88616>. [Accessed 12 March 2021].
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[24]  Akunyumu Stephen (2019). Communication problems in projects - a research study for construction site projects: a case study of Ghana. Department of Construction Technology and Management, College of Art and Built Environment, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
In article      
 
[25]  Alessandro Lovari (2012). Public Administrations and Citizens 2.0: Exploring Digital Public Communication Strategies and Civic Interaction within Italian Municipality Pages on Facebook in Networked Sociability and Individualism: Technology for Personal and Professional Relationships, page 26 [Online]. Available from: <https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/public-administrations-citizens/60500[Accessed 6 December 2020].
In article      
 
[26]  Sergio M. Alcocer, Víctor M. Castaño (2008). Evolution of codes for structural design in Mexico in Structural Survey. Discover Journals, Books & Case Studies [Online Journal]. Available from: <https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/ml>. [Accessed 7 January 2021].
In article      
 
[27]  Arifah Fasha Rosmani et al (2020). The evolution of information dissemination, communication media and technology in Malaysia. Journal of Physics: Conference Series [Online]. Available from: <https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1529/2/022044/pdf>. [Accessed 6 April 2021]. Available from: <https://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/120005324931/[Accessed 27 December 2020].
In article      
 
[28]  Dawson Kevin (2017). Consortium of European Building Control A voice for Europe – and beyond. Available from: <https://www.isurv.com/info/390/features/10584/consortium_of_european_building_control>. [Accessed 12 December 2019].
In article      
 
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