Full Project – Analysis of urban sprawl in Gwale LGA, Kano state

Full Project – Analysis of urban sprawl in Gwale LGA, Kano state

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  • Background of the Study

Human existence on the surface of the earth is punctuated by what have generally been referred to as “revolutions” in recognition of the profound impact of the successive technological innovations of new tools and ideas that led to the inventions and innovations of new processes and techniques of doing things and the distinct changes to life occasioned by them. Each of these “revolutions” represents a turning point in the history of mankind. The Neolithic Revolution (or Agricultural Revolution) was one of them. It marks the departure from hunting and gathering and the beginning of sedentary complex community life based on agricultural production and the domestication of animals leading to the rise of permanent settlements and, eventually, urban civilizations.

Today, there is no doubt that the world has increasingly becoming urban and the 20th century witnessed rapid and unprecedented urbanization of the world’s population. The global urban population increased from 13% in 1900 to 29% in 1950, 49% in 2005 and it is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the population will live in the cities. This trend is a reflection of the growth of urban population that increased from 220 million in 1900 to 732 million in 1950 and is expected that there will be 4.9 billion urban dwellers by 2030 (annual urban growth rate of 1.8%).

Urban land use/land cover changes are very dynamic in nature and have to be monitored at regular intervals for sustainable environment development. Urbanization is the process of population concentration in a location due homocentric pulling factors. Urban growth or sprawl is simply the expansion of towns and cities. According to urban growth is a spatial and demographic process and refers to the increased importance of towns and cities as a concentration of population within a particular economy and society. Many town and cities in developing countries have withnessed high growth rate in recent time. There is strong effects of land use and land cover changes on our environment today. The natural environment of West Africa like most parts of the world is constantly experiencing change. Land-use change affects the socio-economic conditions of an environment.

The growth of most Nigerian cites in recent times, especially Kano has been sporadic. Nigeria, by her population figure of 140 million in 2006 is considered the highest in sub-Saharan African, with a complex growth of settlement. As a result of rural-urban migration, Nigeria like other parts of developing countries is experiencing challenges of rapid urbanization and sustainability. Urban sprawl in Lagos for example has put profound pressure on housing, infrastructure, and the environment. It is therefore necessary to investigate the dynamics of city growth in Nigeria and Kano metropolis in particular. Currently, there is no up-to-date comprehensive documentation on trend and magnitude of land use pattern dynamics in Kano metropolis. The natural land cover in the area have changed over time and still experiencing change. Natural and anthropogenic factors have impacted on the environment. The social and environmental repercussion of loosely planned urban cities could be catastrophic especially in the present situation in cities that has constantly experienced remarkable urban expansion in a short period of time. Predicting and understanding urban growth and change are critical to city planners and resource managers especially in rapidly changing environments.

Understanding and quantifying the spatio-temporal dynamics of urban growth in Kano metropolis is necessary to put forward appropriate policies and monitoring strategies so as to make informed decision. The city has witnessed growth and infrastructural development such as low cast housing estates, highways departmental stores and large markets, to mention a few.

The major urban challenge of the twenty-first century includes the rapid growth of many cities and their role in causing or mitigating climate change. Evidence from around the world suggests that urban planning has failed to address these challenges. Urban sprawl and unplanned urban development are among the most visible consequences, along with the increasing vulnerability of hundreds of millions of urban dwellers to rising sea levels, coastal flooding and other climate-related hazards. The world is increasingly becoming urbanized and the rate at which city populations grow and the rate at which countries urbanize is an indicative of the pace of social and economic change [Donk 2006].

In 1976, one third of the world population lived in cities and 30 years later (in 2006), this rose to one-half of the entire humankind [Tibajuka 2006]; and by the target year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is by 2050, cities in the world are estimated to grow to two-third, or 6 billion people by 2050 [UN Habitat 2006]. The development of these cities has given rise to concerns about their sustainability. Most of the big African cities; including those in Nigeria are faced with the problem of rapidly de perorating physical and living environment. This deterioration manifests itself in a form of slums, urban sprawl and squatters’ settlements, increasing traffic congestion, flooding, erosion, and deteriorating infrastructure. The increase in urban sprawl in most cities continues to attract attention of national and international agencies but the efforts has not yet achieved much result at checking the sprawl. There is the need therefore, to re-evaluate these efforts and make necessary suggestions that would reverse this trend.

Omole F.K (2000) defined Urban sprawl as a formless dispersal of congested urban area with little or no regard for the inter-relationship of such factors as transportation, employment, health, and recreational needs. It has also been described as leapfrog development [Jothimani, 1977]. Urban sprawl is characterized by an unplaned and uneven pattern of growth, driven by multitude of processes and leading to inefficient resource utilization. It has become a pejorative term without any serious examination of its qualities or benefits and without any critical analysis of its troubled alternative – urban congestion while the formation of the world’s cities has always been determined by the means of available transport. Sustainable development refers specifically to “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [The World Commission on Environment and Development. 1987].

Sustainable development implies economic growth, together with the protection of environmental quality, each reinforcing the other. The importance of this form of development is a stable relationship between human activities and the natural world, which does not diminish the prospects for future generations to enjoy a quality of life at least as good as our own. There is a need therefore to achieve economic and social development in ways that do not exhaust a country’s natural resources. This is where sustainable development comes to play.

Wheeler, in his 1998 article, defines sustainable urban development as “development that improves the long-term social and ecological health of cities and towns” sustainable city development can be characterized by compact, efficient land use; less intense automobile use, yet better access; efficient resource use; less pollution and waste; the restoration of natural systems; good housing and living environments; a healthy social ecology; a sustainable economy; community participation and involvement; and preservation of local culture and wisdom. Some planners argue that modern lifestyles use too many natural resources, thereby polluting or destroying the eco system, creating urban heat islands, and causing climate change. Many urban planners, therefore, advocate for sustainable cities. In a Sustainable City, the use of renewable resources is emphasized, resource consumption is minimized and resources are managed in a way that maximizes recovery and reuse.

1.2 Statement of the Problems

This study concerns itself with the analysis of urban sprawl in Gwale local government Area of Kano State. It can also focus on the processes of urbanization in Gwale local government area of Kano state.

Urban sprawl refers to the expansion of poorly planned, low-density, auto-dependent development, which spreads out over large amounts of land, putting long distances between homes, stores, and work and creating a high segregation between residential and commercial uses with harmful impacts on the people living in these areas and the ecosystems and wildlife that have been displaced.

Although some would argue that urban sprawl has its benefits, such as creating local economic growth, urban sprawl has many negative consequences for residents and the environment, such as higher water and air pollution, increased traffic fatalities and jams, loss of agricultural capacity, increased car dependency, higher taxes, increased runoff into rivers and lakes, harmful effects on human health, including higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and chronic diseases, increased flooding, decrease in social capital and loss of natural habitats, wildlife and open space. In its path, urban sprawl consumes immeasurable acres of forests, farmland, woodlands and wetlands and in its wake, leaves vacant storefronts, boarded up houses, closed businesses, abandoned and usually contaminated industrial sites, and traffic congestion, which can stretch miles from urban centers and is creating a hidden debt of unfunded infrastructure and services, urban decay, social dysfunction, and environmental degradation

Sadly, based on the analysis of this research work; we therefore determined that most problems confronting Gwale local government Area and its inhabitants include inadequate financial resources, lack of employment opportunities, spreading homelessness and expansion of squatter settlements, increased poverty, growing insecurity and rising crime rates, inadequate and deteriorating building stock, services and infrastructure. Other problems  include substandard and  inadequate housing, slums, low  productivity,  crime  and  lack  of  health  and  educational  facilities, improper land use, insecure land tenure, rising traffic congestion, lack of green spaces, inadequate water supply and sanitation.


  • Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to examine the effect of urban expansion in Gwale local government area of Kano State. The aim is to achieved through the following objectives as follows;

  • To determine the effect of urban sprawl in Gwale Local government Area.
  • To ascertain the role being played by various organizations such as mass mobilization of people (MAMESR). Community development directorate of food, roads and rural infrastructure (DFRII) Poverty alleviation (PAP), and finally support programme (FST).
  • To understand whether Gwale local government Area is involved in rural urban migration
  • To suggest solutions and possible recommendations that could minimize, if not completely eradicate the various problems faced by the inhabitants of the study area as a result of urban sprawl.


  • Research Questions

The study was guided by the following questions:

  • What is the effect of urban sprawl in Gwale Local government Area?
  • What are the roles played by various organizations such as mass mobilization of people (MAMESR). Community development directorate of food, roads and rural infrastructure (DFRII) Poverty alleviation (PAP), and finally support programme (FST) in related to urban sprawl in Gwale local government area.
  • Did Gwale local government area involved in rural urban migration?
  • What are the solutions to the problems faced the inhabitant of Gwale as a result of urban sprawl.


  • Significance of the Study

The analysis of urban sprawl would give some insight into the difficulties or other rise of the policy to areas where improvement is desired. Because urban sprawl is associated with a number of negative environmental outcomes. One of the major environmental problems associated with sprawl is land loss, habitat loss and subsequent reduction in biodiversity.

A review of this research work finds that urbanization endangers more species and is more geographically ubiquitous in the Nigerian States than any other human activity. Urban Although the effects can be mitigated through careful maintenance of native vegetation, the process of ecological succession and public education, sprawl represents one of the primary threats to biodiversity.

Any cities with high birth rates and immigration are therefore faced with environmental problems due to unplanned urban growth and emerging megacities such as Gwale.

  • Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study is aimed in the analysis of urban sprawl in Gwale local government Area of Kano State.

The scope of this study was delineated along the dimensions of space and time. Therefore, Gwale local government area was chosen for the study due to the large number of population.

  • Definitions of Key Terms

Urban sprawl: urban sprawl is basically another word for urbanization. It refers to the migration of a population from populated towns and cities to low density residential development over more and more rural land.

Analysis: Analyze means to study or examine something carefully in a methodical way.

Meaning of Urban: A settlement where the population is very high and has the features of a built environment is known as urban.


  • The Study Area

Gwale is a Local Government Area in Kano State, Nigeria within Greater Kano city. Its headquarters are in the suburb of Gwale.  It has an area of 18 km² and a population of 362,059 at the 2006 census.

Gwale Local Government Area counts as semi-urban town doubling as the local government area headquarters, with its area council covering other communities like Mandawari, Kabuga, Gyaranya, Dandago, Diso, Galadandi, Goron-Dutshe and Kwalli.

The Gwale government councils heads the public administrations in Gwale government area which is made up of ten wards represented by ten councilors inclusive of the chairman who heads the executive arm of the local government.

  • Location of the Study Area

Gwale is one of the serving forty-four local government areas located in the central corner of Kano state senatorial zone with its capital administrative headquarters in the Gwale town, under Kano urban area and also sharing boarder with four local governments area, they are; Kano Municipal, Ungogo, Dala, and Kumbotso six other local government areas.

  • Geology of the Study Area

The Geology of the study area is comprises of migmatite of high metamorphism and gneisses which are formed from the metamorphism (high grade) and granitization of sedimentary rocks.



  • Vegetation of the Study Area

The vegetation type of Kano state is mainly savanna, climatically defined into Northern guinea savanna and Sudan savanna. The vegetation is characterised with little vegetation of shrubs, tree and few trees. The vegetation cover is now altered as a result of climate change and human activities.

  • Climate of the Study Area

Gwale feature is a tropical savanna climate. The bulk in which rain falls is from June through September. Gwale is typically very hot throughout the year, though from December through February, the city is noticeably cooler. Nighttime temperatures are cool during the months of December, January and February, with average low temperatures of 11 to 15 °C (52 to 59 °F).

  • Soil in the Study Area

Gwale it has sandy soil which is very excellent for growing peanuts (groundnuts), a major export. Other crops include cotton, onions, indigo, tobacco, wheat, and gum arabic; millet, sorghum, beans, cowpeas, and corn (maize) are subsistence crops. Cattle, horses, goats, and sheep are grazed, and hides and skins are exported. Tin and columbite are mined.

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Full Project – Analysis of urban sprawl in Gwale LGA, Kano state