Reflections on the Impact of Urban Sprawl on the Architecture of the City: Lessons from Benin City, Nigeria

Timothy Oluseyi Odeyale(1*)

(1) University of Ibadan, Oduduwa Road, 200132, Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper focuses on Benin City, Nigeria, as a case study to explore urban sprawl and its associated problems resulting from unplanned and uncontrolled spatial expansion. Informal settlements house approximately 45% of Nigeria's urban population, leading to a range of land and environmental challenges. The study investigates how sustainable development goals can be realized through efficient sustainable planning and urban design concepts, with a focus on managing urban sprawl in the city. The methodology comprises a literature review, field investigation of unplanned or squatter settlements in a selected part of Benin City through the administration of 201 questionnaires, and an analysis of its developments and physical transformations. Understanding the issues of urban sprawl arising from the rapid spatial expansion of Benin City is crucial for achieving a well-organized, planned, orderly, and sustainable environment. This paper provides valuable insights and information to facilitate effective urban planning in the study area. Additionally, it offers guidance to practitioners and developers on the adoption of sustainability measures in their projects. The findings of this study contribute to expanding the knowledge horizon and serve as a reference for further research on spatial expansion and the incidence of sprawl in urban centers throughout Nigeria.


Informal settlement; planning; spatial expansion; sustainable development; squatter settlement; urban sprawl

Full Text:



Angel, S.; Parent, J.; Civco, D.; Blei, A. and Potere, D. (2011). The dimensions of global urban expansion: Estimates and Projection for all Countries, 2000 – 2050. Program Planning Journal. Vol 75.

Ciommi, M., Chelli, F. M., Carlucci, M., & Salvati, L. (2018). Urban growth and demographic dynamics in southern Europe: Toward a new statistical approach to regional science. Sustainability, 10(8), 2765.

Couch, C.; Petschel, G. and Leontidou, L. (2007). Urban Sprawl in Europe: Landscapes, Landuse Change and Policy; Blackwell, London, UK.

Dmochowski, Z. (1990). An Introduction to Nigerian Traditional Architecture. Ethnographica, 2. 1-3.

Duvernoy, I., Zambon, I., Sateriano, A., & Salvati, L. (2018). Pictures from the other side of the fringe: Urban growth and peri-urban agriculture in a post-industrial city (Toulouse, France). Journal of Rural Studies, 57, 25-35.

Ekhaese E. N. (2011) Domestic Architecture in Benin City: A Study of Continuity and Change, an unpublished Ph.D. Thesis in the Department of Architecture, School of Environmental Science, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun, Nigeria.

Ezra, K. (1992) The Kingdom of Benin in the Nineteenth Century. Royal Arts of Benin: The Pearls Collection in The Museum of Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc.

Frenkel, A. and Ashkenazi, M. (2008). Measuring Urban Sprawl: How can we deal with It? Environmental and Planning Bureau. Vol 35.

Gyau K., Awuah B., and Hammond F. N. (2014) Determinants of low land-use planning regulation compliance rate in Ghana Habitat International

Volume 41, Pages 17-23 (January 2014).

Henderson, J. V., Nigmatulina, D., & Kriticos, S. (2021). Measuring urban economic density. Journal of Urban Economics, 125, 103188.

Ikhuoria, I. A. (1984). Rapid Urban Growth and Urban Landuse Pattern in Benin City. In P.O. Sada and A.B.Osirike (ed), Case Studies in Migration and Urbanization in Nigeria: Perspectives on Policy Issues, Benin City.

Ismael, H. M. (2021). Urban form study: the sprawling city—review of methods of studying urban sprawl. GeoJournal, 86(4), 1785-1796.

Kazepov, Y. (2005). Cities of Europe: Changing Contexts, Local Arrangement, and Challenge to Urban Cohesion. Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Lang (2003), Edgeless Cities Exploring the Elusive Metropolis. Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C

Liu, Z., Liu, S., Qi, W., & Jin, H. (2018). Urban sprawl among Chinese cities of different population sizes. Habitat International, 79, 89-98.

Lopez, R. (2012). Building American Public Health: Urban Planning, Architecture, and the

Quest for Better Health in the United States. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Lopez, R. and H. P. Hynes (2003). "Sprawl in the 1990s: measurement, distribution and trends."Urban Affairs Review 38(3): 325-355.

Natarajan. L. (2017) Socio-spatial learning: A case study of community knowledge in participatory spatial planning. Progress In Planning, Volume 111, January 2017, Pages 1-23.

Nkeki, F. N. (2016). Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Land Use Transition and Urban Growth Characterization in Benin Metropolitan Region, Nigeria. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 4, 119-137.

Odeyale, T.O. and Kehinde, O. (2015) “Millennium Development Goals: Impact of Sustainability Discourses, Conflict and Inter-Governmental Actions in the Built Environment”, International Journal of Engineering and Technology Research (IJETR), vol 5, no.2, Pp.95-108. (ISSN 2329-7309).

Odeyale, T.O. (2010): “Cultural Metamorphosis, Building Tradition and Search for Architectural Identity in Africa: A Case Study of South-West Nigeria. In Deependra Prashad (ed.) New Architecture and Urbanism: Development of Indian Tradition. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.61-72.

Odjugo, P.;Enaruvbe, G. and Isibor, H. (2015). Geospatial Approach to Spatio-temporal Pattern of Urban Growth in Benin City, Nigeria. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. Vol. 9(3), 166-175.

Ogundipe, K. E., Ogunbayo, B. F., Olofinnade, O. M., Amusan, L. M., & Aigbavboa, C. O. (2021). Affordable housing issue: Experimental investigation on properties of eco-friendly lightweight concrete produced from incorporating periwinkle and palm kernel shells. Results in Engineering, 9.

Ogunbodede, E. F., & Balogun, T. F. (2013). An integrated remote sensing and GIS approach in monitoring urban expansion in Benin City, Nigeria. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, 4(5).

Olayiwola, A. and Igbavboa, O. (2014). Land Use Dynamics and Expansion of the Built-Up Area in Benin City, Nigeria. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy.

Omoigui, I. 2005. How to improve youth development in Edo state, a keynote presentation on excellence in education and culture for the new millennium, 14th Annual National Convention of the Edo National Association of USA and Canada. On the first report of the SFHA, San Francisco Housing Association 13(1): 6.

Orenstein, D.; Frenkel, A.; Jahshan, F. (2014). Methodology Matters: Measuring urban spatial development using alternative methods. Environment and Planning B. Vol 41.

Osadolor, O. B. (2001). The Military System of Benin Kingdom, c.1440 – 1897, PhD Thesis in the Department of Philosophy and History University of Hamburg, Germany.

Rong, F. (2006). Impact of Urban Sprawl on U. S. Residential Energy Use. Unpublished PhD Thesis. School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, U. S. A.

Queslati, W., Alvanides, S. and Garrod, G. (2015). Determinants of Urban Sprawl in European Cities. Urban Studies Journal, vol. 52 (9), Pgs. 1594-1614.

Tang, W., Zhou, T., Sun, J., Li, Y., & Li, W. (2017). Accelerated urban expansion in lhasa city and the implications for sustainable development in a Plateau City. Sustainability, 9(9), 1499.

Taussig, M. (2017) Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses. London: Routledge.

Tombolini, I.; Zambon, I.; Ippolito, A.; Grigoriadis, S.; Serra, P.; Salvati, L. (2015). Revisiting “Southern” Sprawl: Urban Growth, Socio-Spatial Structure and the Influence of Local Economic Contexts. Journal of Economic Vol 3.

Tong, L., Hu, S., Frazier, A. E., & Liu, Y. (2017). Multi-order urban development model and sprawl patterns: An analysis in China, 2000–2010. Landscape and Urban Planning, 167, 386-398.

Wang, J., Qu, S., Peng, K., & Feng, Y. (2019). Quantifying urban sprawl and its driving forces in China. Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, 2019, 1-14.

Wapwera, S. (2012). Spatial Planning Framework for Urban Development and Management in Jos Metropolis, Nigeria. Ph. D Thesis, School of the Built Environment, College of Science and Technology, Salford University, Salford, UK. Ekhaese, E. N. and Ediae, O. J. (2014). From Home Owners Perspective, “Ikun Concept” of Design in Benin, Nigeria: Some Like It Some Don’t, Journal of Architecture Research. 4(1). Architecture Research 2014, 4(1): 20-34 DOI: 10.5923/j.arch.20140401.03

Wolff, M., & Wiechmann, T. (2018). Urban growth and decline: Europe’s shrinking cities in a comparative perspective 1990–2010. European urban and regional studies, 25(2), 122-139.

Wu, T., Yang, S., Liu, M., Qiu, G., Li, H., Luo, M., & Jia, P. (2021). Urban sprawl and childhood obesity. Obesity reviews, 22, e13091.

Xu, G., Dong, T., Cobbinah, P. B., Jiao, L., Sumari, N. S., Chai, B., & Liu, Y. (2019). Urban expansion and form changes across African cities with a global outlook: Spatiotemporal analysis of urban land densities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 224, 802-810.

Article Metrics

Abstract view(s): 245 time(s)
PDF: 100 time(s)


  • There are currently no refbacks.