Remaking Nigeria’s Urbanism: Assessing and Redressing the Dearth of Open Spaces in Benin City
AbstractUnplanned land use in most Nigerian cities has meant that all urban land needs are not adequately provided for within their landscapes. Open spaces are either conspicuously missing or inadequate. There is a tendency for existing open spaces to be lost to urban development pressure and a disregard for zoning. This paper identifies available and accessible open spaces in Benin City and assesses their adequacy using as a guide standards established in two selected international jurisdictions, discusses the potential benefits of open space to the city on the one hand and its residents on the other given the incipient impacts of global warming and climate change, and the prospects of mitigation by greening the city even in its already built-up state. Data is sourced from journals, reports, archival records and inspections of the urban environment. The findings confirm a great dearth of open spaces as well as deteriorating urban environmental conditions which have implications for health, well-being and urban sustainability. The recommendations are that future expansions of the city space incorporate adequate provisions for open spaces, whilst within the existing built-up city, solutions be sought in the creation of greenways, green paths, private green spaces, promoting street trees and the conversion of brownfield sites to green areas.
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