Full Length Research Paper
Urban settlements in many parts of the world have been experiencing rapid growth in recent decades with serious consequences on the environment of the fringe areas. This paper examined the opportunities and challenges of rapid urbanisation of Lokoja on the environment of the urban fringe. It utilised data generated from questionnaire administration from the fringe areas and Google images of Lokoja to examine the following specific issues; the incidence of growth, motivation of responses of fringe dwellers to urban expansion, the impacts of the growth on the physical and residential environment, and urban management interventions to the growth. It was observed that settlements in the fringe expanded from 3 to 83% between 2000 and 2016 without commensurate provision of social infrastructure. This growth has generated uncontrolled physical development within the flood plains, and the conversion of forest and agricultural land at the periphery of Lokoja for settlements. Though the expansion has served to provide accommodation and means of income for the residents, the situation has exacerbated negative externalities in form of risk to health and life, and physical hazards related to the occupation of unsuitable sites, lack of access to potable water and basic sanitation and poor housing conditions. The paper therefore made recommendations for the preparation and implementation of integrated development plan for the Metropolis and the restructuring of the administrative and management systems for the urban region to balance conflicting interests for effective control.
Key words: Urban fringe, rapid urbanisation, land use, development control, planning.
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