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THE EFFECT OF URBAN STRUCTURE ON ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN CALABAR METROPOLIS
Background to the Study
Land use are recognized as key drivers of environmental change (Shi et al, 2009) with significant implications for many international policy issues (Liu et al., 2010) and a central component in current strategies in managing natural resources and monitoring environmental changes (Minale and Rao, 2011).
In the context of urbanization, a large amount of agricultural land has been converted to built-up or urban land uses. Calabar has for the past 43 years experiencing a lot of land-use and land-cover changes due to both socioeconomic and natural factors. These include the increased spatial expansion arising from high rural-urban migration rates which has made the city one of the fastest growing cities in Nigeria (Rimal, 2011). It is therefore important to develop an explanatory model for understanding the rate, causes and consequences of the same which consequently aids in formulation of sustainable urban development strategies and in detecting environmental changes (Sultana and Weber, 2007).
Great efforts and methods have been done to understand the effect of urban structures but most of which are descriptive rather than quantitatively predictive. However, it is the quantitative predictive models which have a niche in aiding the development of sustainable urban development strategies. Technologies such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing are currently presented as dynamic tools for monitoring land use and land cover changes and environmental quality which has continued to present challenge to sustainable urban development ((Mahmood et al., 2010; Minale and Rao, 2011).These technologies provide a cost
effective and accurate alternative to understanding landscape dynamics.
Urban Structures is a global change driver and has notable implications to many of the international policy issues (Vitousek and Field, 1999). Over the years, human activities have modified the environment with significant population increase, migration, and accelerated socioeconomic activities. The process of urbanization has been characterized not only by population growth but also by industrial expansion, increasing economic and social activities and intensified use of land resources (Karuga, 1993). The environment and social consequences of a growing population in a loosely planned urban/build area system could be dramatic especially when urban areas experience accelerated growth in a short period of time as is being witnessed in Calabar (Mundia and Murayama, 2010).
The interactive nature of urban structures is not fully understood, making it difficult, if not impossible, to develop effective adaptation strategies for urban development (Jiaguo et al., 2012, p.1). Most studies especially on urban land change dynamics done using such methods as (environmental) impact assessment or post project analysis have resulted in no quantifiable changes. Again, the urban land use and land cover dynamics have raised new challenges for urbanization theory.
In Nigeria, land use and land cover changes have been mostly planned and executed without appreciation of their implications, mainly due to absence of quantitative information which makes it difficult to anticipate the possible socio-economic and environmental consequences of such changes (Karuga, 1993). Unfortunately, efforts which have been formulated to postulate theoretical knowledge and explanations for its occurrence are often descriptive rather than quantitative thus leading to lack of comprehensive information. Karuga (1993) attributes the failure to anticipate the possible socio-economic and environmental consequences of such changes to lack of accurate predictive model. Rapid urbanization of the city has resulted in high development densities, environmental degradation, proliferation of slum and squatter settlements and general low productivity (Linn, 1983; Nzioki, 1988; Obudho, 1983). The Calabar’s environment is affected by the planning process
No study has been done to quantify the effects of urban structures on the environmental management in Calabar metropolis. Therefore there is need for a comprehensive methodological framework for quantifying the city’s land use and land cover changes and their environmental implications.
The Aim and Objectives of the Study
This study was occasioned by the need to understand the Effect Of Urban Structure On Environmental Management In Calabar Metropolis.
It was also occasioned by the need to establish factors that have influenced the land use in Urban city of Calabar, the nature of the changes as well as the environmental implications of those changes
In order to achieve the aim above, the study was guided by the following specific objectives:
- To establish the trend and nature of land use and land cover variations in Calabar
- To establish the factors that influence Urban structures and land cover dynamics within Calabar metropolis
- To assess Land Consumption Rate and Land Absorption Coefficient in Calabar.
- To establish the socio-economical and environmental implications of the land use and land cover changes.
The Research Questions
This study sought to answer the following research questions: -
- What is the trend and nature of urban structures in Calabar?
- What are the factors that influence land use and land cover dynamics within Calabar metropolis?
- How does the Land Consumption Rate correspond to Land Absorption Coefficient for the City between the years 1988 to 2010?
- What are the major socio-economical and environmental implications of the land use and land cover changes in Calabar City?
Null hypothesis (H0): The Urban structure decision making mechanism in the city as embodied by statutory legal and /or urban planning regulations as well as socio-cultural, economical, political and technological advancement in society does not determine the land use and land cover dynamism; hence the quality of urban environment.
Alternative hypothesis (H1): The Urban structure decision making mechanism in the city as embodied by statutory legal and /or urban planning regulations as well as socio-cultural, economical, political and technological advancement in society determine the land use and land cover dynamism; hence the quality of urban environment.
Justification of the Study
Over the years, the challenge to Nigeria’s sustainable urban development has remained achieving proper balance between land uses and the environmental quality. However, the ad-hoc manner in which the city’s development planning has been undertaken has not integrated land uses with controlled environmental quality consequently leading to environmental degradation. Consequently, it is clear that Nigeria needs a development strategy informed by the spatio- temporal analysis of the land use and land cover dynamics which provides the benchmark for projecting future land use and land cover differentiation rate, pattern, magnitude and trend (Devas, 1993). Over the years, Nigeria has continued to experience land use and land cover dynamics manifesting through the built up areas invading other land uses and land covers with the greatest casualties being forest resources, rangelands, shrubs and agricultural lands. This has consequently led to the loss of a significant amount of agricultural land and other natural resources which can only be mitigated through a comprehensive urban development strategy. However, this must begin with quantitative evaluation of land use and land cover dynamics which entails building of land use and land cover inventory and the assessment of the type, magnitude, pattern and trend of land use and land cover dynamics within the city. This was equally important in projecting future land development demand, environmental quality assessment as well as aiding in directing infrastructural facilities to the parts of the city where they are needed most to support development. Therefore, it was imperative that a better understanding of the rate, causes and consequences of land use and land cover change be modeled in a quantifiable manner towards aiding in the formulation of sustainable urban development strategies.