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Reclaiming setbacks and open spaces for greening and sustainable landscape development in state capital cities: A case study of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.

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The rapid rate of urbanization in developing countries generates various socio-economic and environmental challenges. In Nigerian urban centres, high rate of rural-urban drift aggravates population growth rate, and increasing space demand for land use and human activities put pressure on land resources. In Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, the study area, land is continuously fragmented, resulting to densely populated areas and inequitable use. This syndrome culminates in vegetal depletion, urban sprawl, environmental degradation and increasing poverty levels. Uncontrolled development, excessive hard landscaping and informal sector activities along transportation corridors, water bodies, utility lines, and the inner core areas deprive the city of adequate greenery. The research examines the city‘s spatial structure, socio-economic attributes of residents, setbacks and open space characteristics, pattern of encroachment, and the efficacy of development control legislations. The challenges posed by the inadequacy of greenery and excessive hard landscaping, government‘s effort in reclaiming lost spaces to create inclusive green areas for sustainable urban landscape were evaluated. The research methodology utilise relevant data from secondary sources to build literature and compliment socio-economic baseline data collected from primary sources by multi-stage technique across three morphological zones. Research findings expose devegetation, hardening, gross inadequacy and abuse of setbacks and air spaces, lack of organised open spaces and green areas. There is a disconnection between relatively high literacy level and contravention of development regulation laws. Informal development, mostly commercial, is rampant and driven by high poverty level and people‘s instinct to sustain their socio-economic needs. Ignorance of good quality environment, desire for economic benefits, and ineffective governmental control are other factors responsible for the disruption of public spaces. The study argued that the people engage in space contestation to survive, while the uncontrolled informal sector is neglected by government. Recommendations are hinged on the Strategic Urban Greening Intervention Model developed to encapsulate key systematic elements in the negative aspects, and how intervention strategies, tools and methods are deployed for positive transformation. Based on the Model, the proposed Ado-Ekiti Urban Greening Master Plan was prepared as policy directives and programmes for stakeholders‘ synergy to establish, monitor and maintain inclusive green areas in the city. Informal sector integration to strengthen livelihood strategy, inclusiveness and green economy is germane to successful greening programme, failing which the people will return to the streets and continue to aggravate carbon footprints. Socio-economically, the research is guaranteed to diversify local economy, boost investment generation, and enhance living standards. Physical impacts include improved environmental quality, global warming abatement and climate change mitigation in the city. The Model developed out of this research and contribution promotes landscape sustainability in Ado-Ekiti and can be replicated in Africa cities.


Doctoral degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.