Urban morphology dynamics and environmental change in Kano, Nigeria

Aliyu Salisu Barau, Roy Maconachie, A. N. M. Ludin & Adnan Abdulhamid. Urban morphology dynamics and environmental change in Kano, Nigeria. Land Use Policy, Volume 42, January 2015, Pages 307-317

In recent years, a critical understanding of human–nature interactions has become central to studies exploring the dynamics of urban morphology and the sustainability of growing cities in the developing world. Accordingly, numerous scholars have employed the coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) framework as a tool for understanding how cities are evolving in times of profound global change. Focusing on the case of Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city, this paper explores the potential of the CHANS framework in the analysis and interpretation of the human–nature interface in cities of the global south. Drawing on the qualitative analysis of graphic information and classical and contemporary literature, the centuries-old spatial morphology of Kano is traced and analysed. In the process, the paper highlights how change in the roles of traditional institutions of urban land administration have triggered the degeneration of the city’s resilient indigenous urban morphology.

Field investigations and the analysis of a variety of 19th, 20th and, 21st century images reveal significant change in the city’s traditional building materials, roofing styles, street forms, distribution of ponds, and green and open spaces. Population pressure on urban land has also been a major driving force behind the unfolding changes. One catastrophic outcome of these changes has been the exacerbation of recurrent floods. In drawing attention to wider lessons for urban planners in other developing country contexts, the paper stresses the need to analyse any notable spatial and non-spatial events in cities in relation to the changing dynamics of urban morphology.

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Photo: en.wikipedia.org


Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher Land Use Policy
Year 2015
Author(s) Aliyu Salisu Barau, Roy Maconachie, A. N. M. Ludin, & Adnan Abdulhamid
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