As urban populations grow, cities experience intense pressure to expand at their peripheries. For people’s health and economic vitality, land use policy must be developed to create compact, dense and mixed-use communities; and not more sprawl.

For the attention of: City planners, urban developers, policy makers and public health

The problem: Urban sprawl needs to be resisted. Increasing pollution due increase fumes emitted from vehicles associated with sprawl, has been known to be the cause of increase respiratory problems in the case study area.

Developing low density urban form is capable of reducing the cohesiveness and sense of belonging in the community.

These have negative effect on health and socio-economic wellbeing.

What we did: Primary data were acquired with the aid of 318 questionnaires. Analysis was carried out through the use of statistical packages for analyzing the questionnaire and a geographic information system (GIS) based model for spatial analysis. These analyses were used to evaluate the rate and extent of sprawl, also examining socio-economic characteristics and health issues within the study area.

What our study adds: We found that:

  • The pattern of sprawl had a great toll on personal health and economic lives.
  • The cost of transport to and from the city centre was high, negatively affecting  the income of the residents.
  • The more people travelled from to carry out everyday activities in the city centre, the higher the living cost.
  • Constant fatigue due to the regular travel distance people needed to cover traveling to and from the core areas on a daily basis.

Implications for city policy and practice: There is a need;

  • to revise land use strategy to create a compact, dense and vitally mixed-use communities,
  • to develop an efficient transport network, since the study area is a transit node between the North and South of the country.

Policies should be developed to;

  • increase creation of awareness of the local environment and bioregion through the enlightenment of ecological sustainability issues,
  • impose a tax on areas identified as potential parks or forest reserves before development is allowed.

Full research article: Encroachment on green open space, its implications on health and socio-economy in Akure, Nigeria

Authors: Michael Oloyede Alabi (@mikolo06)
Editor: Marcus Grant