Time-series satellite imagery demonstrates the progressive failure of a city master plan to control urbanization in Abuja, Nigeria

Gumel, Ibrahim A.; Aplin, Paul; Marston, Christopher G. ORCID:; Morley, Jeremy. 2020 Time-series satellite imagery demonstrates the progressive failure of a city master plan to control urbanization in Abuja, Nigeria. Remote Sensing, 12 (7), 1112. 22, pp.

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Urbanization is a global phenomenon, but its negative effects are most pronounced in developing countries. While much urbanization in the global South is unplanned, there have been occasional attempts at strategic, large-scale urban planning. One example is Abuja, Nigeria, a new city with origins in a 1970s Master Plan. Here, we use multi-temporal remote sensing to investigate four decades of urbanization in Abuja, showing the extent to which urban development has matched original intentions. Seven Landsat images from 1975 to 2014 were selected to correspond with Master Plan milestones and turning points in Nigeria’s socio-political development. Land cover classification and change detection results show built-up land increasing rapidly, from 1,167 ha in 1975 to 18,623 ha in 2014, mostly converted from grassland, often via a pioneer bare soil class. Comparing image analysis against the Master Plan shows that, in the early years, Abuja’s development matched broad planning intentions fairly closely. Later, though, unplanned development proliferated, and the city’s resemblance to the Master Plan diminished progressively. Level of adherence to the Master Plan varied widely according to the system of government. Notably, after long-term military rule was replaced by a democratic government around the turn of the millennium, unplanned development increased sharply.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2072-4292
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: urbanization, global South, land cover classification, change detection, master plan, unplanned development
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 08 Apr 2020 10:53 +0 (UTC)

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