Journal of City and Development
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Journal of City and Development. 2022, 4(1), 33-47
DOI: 10.12691/jcd-4-1-4
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Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development

Felix Mumbi Chilufya1, , Elijah M. Bwalya2 and Francis Simui1

1Institute of Distance Education (IDE), University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

2Department of Mass Communication, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

Pub. Date: September 14, 2022

Cite this paper:
Felix Mumbi Chilufya, Elijah M. Bwalya and Francis Simui. Placenta Communication Theory (PLACOT): A New Perspective on Communication in Housing Development. Journal of City and Development. 2022; 4(1):33-47. doi: 10.12691/jcd-4-1-4


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.

communication housing developers unauthorised building regulations town planners abrogation extent content dissemination decoding coding categories placenta foetus

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