Urban Sprawl: Environmental Consequence of Rapid Urban Expansion
Urban Sprawl is a disturbing issue to geographers, urban planners and allied professionals in the 21st century. The anxiety is based mainly on the social, political, economic, cultural and environmental consequences of rapid urban growth. Hence, this study examines the reasons for urbanization, as well as encroachment of urban development into the border belt. Next, the study probes into the causes, consequences and adverse effects of uncontrolled infringement and conversion of rural land to urban uses. Likewise, the study investigates the processes of land use development, population expansion and physical growth, as well as their ecological foot prints. Consequently, the study identified the major causes of urban sprawl as rapid population increase, high level of urban development pressure, provision of housing, changes in living standard, as well as technological changes among others. Also, the study found out that urban sprawl is desirable because of the benefits of spread of development, low rent at the periphery, as well as lesser pressure on the environment of the border belt. Also, the effects of urban sprawl were recognized as destruction of the means of livelihood of the rural dwellers at the urban fringe belt, land fragmentation, food scarcity, changes in the ecosystem, environmental pollution, biodiversity loss, as well as loss of wildlife habitat. For the achievement of sustainable urban development in the 21st century and beyond, the study recommends environmental monitoring with the aid of geographic information systems and remote sensing techniques, environmental impact assessment, development control, farm land policy, regulation of land allocation, sustainable land use management, as well as enforcement of planning policies.