Evaluation; A Planning Strategy For Managing Urban Sprawl In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Estate Management

Evaluation; A Planning Strategy For Managing Urban Sprawl In Nigeria


Abstract


The increasing urban sprawl in most cities in developing countries continues to attract attention of national and international agencies but the efforts had not achieved much result at checking the sprawl. There is the need therefore to re-evaluate these efforts and make necessary suggestions that would reverse the trend. This study investigates the problems of urban sprawl in Nigeria. It utilizes published and unpublished materials as well as sundry informal investigations (i.e. observations) of the stakeholders in the development and management of urban sprawl in Nigerian cities. The paper presents the urbanization trends in Nigeria and discusses the characteristic features of urban sprawl in its cities as well as identifies the various factors responsible for the urban sprawl. It evaluates strategies adopted so far at curtailing the sprawl. A major limitation of the various strategies adopted is the inadequate involvement of the people (developers) at checking the sprawl. The study therefore suggests a people-oriented strategy in checking urban sprawl in Nigerian cities; which is expected to be facilitated by the government planning officials.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

The world is increasingly becoming urbanized and the rate at which city populations grow and countries urbanize is indicative of the pace of social and economic change (Donk 2006). In 1976, one-third of the world population lived in cities and 30 years later (2006), this rose to one-half of the entire humankind (Tibajuka 2006); and by the target year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); cities in the world are estimated to grow to two-third or 6 billion people by 2050 (UN- Habitat 2006).

With nearly all global demographic growth that is mostly concentrated in developing coun- tries, urban sprawl is becoming a major feature of the developing countries. Useful as they may be as demographic absorbers, metropolitan regions by their sheer size, create complex and multi- faceted problems on scales never experienced before. The effects of this population dynamics in African cities in particular produced miseries that are often difficult to comprehend (Olurin 2003). Most of the big African cities including those in Nigeria are faced with the problem of rapidly deteriorating physical and living environment. The deterioration manifests itself in the form of slums, urban sprawl and squatters’ settlements, increasing traffic congestion, flooding and erosion, deteriorating infrastructure and short falls in service delivery among others.

For most developing countries, the gover- nance and management of their towns and cities are most daunting as the cities appear to be growing beyond the control of planners, beyond management capacities and beyond available resources (Agbola and Olurin 1998). Since man’s quest for change will continue within his dynamic environment, this points to the fact that urbaniza- tion becomes an inevitable phenomenon particularly in developing countries. Contempo- rary comparative international experiences do show that the problems have to be approached with innovative ingenuity and solved through novel strategies which are consensual and adaptive to the socio-economic and cultural setting of the target population.

In the realization of this objective therefore, the paper proposes a planning strategy that addresses the problems of urban sprawl in Nigeria. The paper examines urbanization trends in Nigeria. It further discusses the characteristic features of urban sprawl in Nigerian cities and examines efforts puts in place in the past to address its attendant problems. Considering the limitations of these efforts, the paper finally suggests a feasible strategy which is adaptive to African socio-cultural milieu for the management of urban sprawl in Nigerian cities.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Nigeria was a former British Colony in Africa. It received her independence on 1ST October, 1960. Nigeria operates a Federal structure of government, made of 36 States and a Federal Capital Territory. It is politically divided into 774 local government council areas. Nigeria has a land area of about 923,768km2 and the spatial distribution of population in Nigeria is uneven, with about 64 percent of the population living in the rural areas. The entire population of Nigeria as at 2006 is put at 140.5 million (National Population Commission 2007)

Nigeria is the 13th largest oil producer in the world with 32 billion barrels of oil reserves (DFID 2005). Available data shows that over 70 per cent of the country’s annual earnings come from crude oil export proceeds; petroleum profit tax and royalty. All levels of government in Nigeria depend heavily on oil revenue that is subjected to massive shocks thereby threaten the integrity of the budget at all levels of government (Central Bank of Nigeria 2004). In spite of the earnings from oil, over 75 million people in Nigeria live in absolute poverty.

The problems of infrastructure deficiencies are particularly pronounced in the old, indigenous core areas of the Nigerian cities, and in the outer spontaneous settlements that accommodate the low-income population (Olanrewaju 2001). Besides, it has been estimated that Nigeria requires some 8 million housing units to accommodate her growing population by the year 2015. This is generally considered unachievable in the face of the on-going sporadic rate of urban sprawl in Nigerian cities that are characterized by substandard housing. Hence, there is the need to evolve a feasible strategy to address the sprawling problems of Nigerian cities.


1.3 Research Objectives

The main aim of this study is on the evaluation of a planning strategy for managing urban sprawl in Nigeria. The specific objectives set to achieve the aim were:

  1. Analyze urbanization changes and the trends in the physical expansion of the city,
  2. To find out the rate at which cities are developing in relationship with the factors behind urbanization
  3. To compare the rate of growth of the city to the available resources and check the balance between them
  4. To provide suggestion that can enable planners contribute to the improved land use administration

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the urbanization changes and the trends in the physical expansion of the city?
  2. What is the rate at which cities are developing in relationship with the factors behind urbanization?
  3. What is the rate of growth of the city to the available resources?
  4. What are the suggestions that can enable planners contribute to the improved land use administration?

Chapter Five


5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

One basic factor that is essential to successful implementation of planning project is to embrace sound planning practice that is based on evolving principles. It is time for city dwellers particularly in Nigeria and other developing countries to note that government resources are limited and its areas of attention are unlimited. This has made the need for collaboration between government and the public in curtailing urban sprawl. Therefore, the strategy of planning with the communities in a bid to check urban sprawl as suggested would go in no small measure at enlisting the support of the developers.

Urban environmental problems are of differ- ent dimensions and are mostly due to geologic, climatic and cultural factors. However, the cul- tural factors seems to be more pronounced in the Nigerian context because most of the identified urban environmental issues are so much associated with the way of life of the people either as reactions to urbanization or their spatial heritage. Their effects are far reaching on efforts to attain sustainable development in the country. Since no section of the country’s urban environment is immune to environmental effects, there is urgent need to seek workable solutions by the application of planning, economic, legal, institutional and educational tools as have been suggested here. One basic factor that is essential to successful implementation of planning project is to embrace sound planning practice that is based on evolving principles. It is time for city dwellers particularly in Nigeria and other developing countries to note that government resources are limited and its ar- eas of attention are unlimited. This has made the need for collaboration between government and the public in curtailing urban sprawl. Therefore, the strategy of planning with the communities in a bid to check urban sprawl as suggested would go in no small measure at enlisting the support of the developers.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on these, this report offers the following suggestions in addressing these issues:

  1. Rural–Urban migration remains one of the major contributors to the ever-increasing urban population growth in Nigeria; this is prob- ably due to the perceived wide gap between the urban and rural areas in terms of job opportunities and availability of basic infrastructural facilities. This infrastructure gap has to be bridged through comprehensive rural infrastructure provision. There is an urgent need for the government to enter into partnerships with Community-Based Organizations in rural infrastructure provision. This will promote the establishment of agro based industries, pro- vide incentives for younger people to go into agricultural activities and make life worth living in rural areas. These will eventually reduce the number of immigrants to the urban areas and consequently cut down on the rate of urban population growth.
  2. Increasing the environmental carrying capacity is necessary for enhancing the livability of urban areas in Nigeria. Massive rehabilitation and expansion of urban infrastructure stock in the country should be taken more seriously. Collaborative efforts among all stakeholders in taking advantage of the existing economies of scale in our urban areas in improving the infrastructure stock are inevitable. The concept of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the provision of urban infrastructure should be ad- opted. Slum areas in urban areas in the country should be revitalized, or remodeled through the introduction of basic infrastructure services and incorporation of mix-use development to enhance property values, and thus checking further deterioration of such areas.
  3. Remodeling of urban transport system from automobile-based to pedestrian, bicycle and mass transit (e.g. intra-city and inter-city) systems is a worthwhile venture. This will reduce the level of dependence on single-passenger automobiles, and consequently reduce the problems of air pollution, traffic congestion and high energy consumption. The imposition of special tax on private cars in certain parts of cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Ibadan, Enugu and other major cities at various times will definitely help to achieve this objective. Furthermore, appropriate legislations should be put in place to check indiscriminate discharge of industrial wastes (gas, liquid, solid), while the relevant regulatory institutions and agencies should be empowered to monitor the level of compliance and mete out appropriate sanctions to offenders.
  4. The provision of both closed storm water drainage (curbs, gutters, catch basins, under- ground pipes, culverts, inclined channels) and open drain systems (swales, filter strips) as ad- equate monitoring of physical developments will check perennial urban flooding in Nigerian cities. Development along flood plains, drainage channels infrastructure easements and flood prone areas should be avoided. Development Control Authorities (e.g. Town Planning and Capital City Development Authorities) should enter into partnerships with the private sector to ensure that physical development legislations are strictly adhered to by developers.
  5. Plants have been found to be beneficial to man not only as food but also as natural source of oxygen. In addition, they provide shades from sun, beautify the environment and protect the soil from erosion. To maximize these benefits, there is a need to increase the number of the green areas and open spaces in urban areas by encouraging the preservation of green areas and open spaces. For these reasons, the annual tree planting exercise, agro forestry, and com- munity-based conservation schemes should be taken more seriously, and people should be encouraged to plant trees, ornamental plants and establish horticulture gardens around their buildings. While the use of hard landscaping element around buildings, bush burning and il- legal mining activities should be discouraged.
  6. Going by the level of construction activities that go on in this country, there is a need for effective monitoring by the relevant authorities of every construction activity to make sure that such does not have adverse effects on the environment within, around or distance from the construction site. The relevant provisions dealing with this issue in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act 86 of 1992 should be strictly enforced. Also, the construction industry needs to imbibe the concept of “green/eco-construction” in devising new methods and develop new materials that are not injurious to the environment and does not constitute health hazards.
  7. Solid waste management in urban areas seems to have engaged the attention of government at all levels in Nigeria. Despite the establishment of waste management agencies, the problem of solid waste management persists in urban areas in the country. Therefore, Public-Private Partnership or outright privatization of urban waste management activities should be explored. By this arrangement, private organizations should be involved in house – to-collection and disposal of refuse at the expense of the households. The establishment of waste treatment or recycling plants and the use of the products for agricultural purposes should be looked into.
  8. It is argued that Nigeria never lacked good policies, legislations and institutional frameworks but good implementation has always been the crux of the matter. The failure of existing laws and institutions to make significant impacts in protecting and preserving the environment may be have been due to poor legal frameworks, poor funding and lack of adequate manpower. Therefore, the reorganization of environmental management institutions has become most expedient. This ensures horizontal and vertical coordination among the institutions. Similarly, all legal ambiguity, lack of qualified personnel, inadequate funding should be addressed. The private sector should be encouraged to make significant contributions in capacity building in environmental management institutions. This will enhance the capacity of the institutions to enforce environmental laws and physical development regulations, and thus reducing the rate of il- legal developments, contravention of planning laws, street trading and in discriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorized places.
  9. The psychological re-orientation of the people toward proper environmental management practices is central in developing environmental consciousness in individuals. To this end, environmental education such as public enlightenment campaigns in the mass and print media, churches, mosques, and community- based organizations is highly needed. Similarly, the introduction of environmental studies into the curriculum of the educational system at all levels will most likely contribute to creating the desired environmental awareness, and thus reducing unfriendly environmental practices (e.g. indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the roads, drains and unauthorized locations, defecating in the open field) in Nigerian cities.
  10. Built environment professionals (e.g. architects, urban planners, estate managers, builders, engineers, etc.) have a role to play in creating environment that does not jeopardize peoples’ health and well-being`. They should accept the responsibility of being the “watch dog” over the environment in making sure that they use their professional expertise to protect the environment for the present and future generations. Through appropriate design, construction and management solutions, significant result in environmental sustainability and by extension sustainable development can be achieved.

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