INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 2019, VOL. 11, NO. 2, 223–233 https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2019.1615492 ARTICLE Changing land use/cover of Ghana’s oil city (Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis): implications for sustainable urban development Collins Adjei Mensah, James Kweku Eshun, Yaw Asamoah and Emmanuel Ofori Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 21 August 2018 Sekondi-Takoradi has been a preferred city in Ghana for many individuals after the Accepted 28 April 2019 discovery of oil in the area in 2007. This paper sought to analyze the land-use/cover change of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis between 1991 and 2016, and its implications KEYWORDS on the sustainability of the city. A combination of GIS and remote sensing techni- Land use/cover; change; ques were employed in the study. The ﬁndings of the study revealed a substantial urban development; land use/cover change over the period under investigation. Farmlands, open forests, sustainability; and closed forests were converted into built-up areas. Furthermore, areas covered Sekondi-Takoradi; Ghana by water were also encroached by the built-up environment. These show evidence of unguided expansion of the physical growth of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis. To address the situation, the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly in collaboration with public land and environmental agencies should undertake sustainable urban development initiatives such as urban growth boundary strategies and also encou- rage vertical physical land development to protect the city’s nature reserves. Introduction and decreased by 4.82 percent (341,450 km )in Africa (FAO 2012). In Europe, agricultural lands Land plays a pivotal role in human existence and declined by 1.5 percent (70.836 km ) between 2000 development on earth since human beings depend and 2009 whilst Africa had some 3 percent on land for virtually everything including basic needs (382,991 km ) gains in the agricultural land in the such as water, clothing, and shelter. However, over same period (FAO 2012). reliance on land for various uses to satisfy human needs are now changing the land use and land cover The West Africa Land-Use Land Cover Time Series (LULC) patterns in various parts of the world. data analysis from 1975 to 2013 found substantial According to the FAO (2000), land cover refers to LULC change in the region with countries like Togo, the observed biophysical cover on the earth’s sur- Burkina Faso, Benin, and Ghana being the hot spots face, which literally means what can be seen on for such changes (Tappan et al. 2016). For example, a given land. Land use on the other hand refers to there was a loss of about 406,432 km savannah ‘arrangements, activities and inputs people under- vegetation and 100,176 km loss of forest lands. take in a certain land cover type to produce, change The analysis further found human settlements or maintain it’ (FAO 1998). Putting the two deﬁnitions increasing in coverage by about 140 percent from 2 2 together, Briassoulis (2000) classiﬁes LULC change as 15,172 km to 36,412 km with coastal areas (includ- the increase or decrease in the area extent of a given ing the study area Sekondi-Takoradi) contributing LULC type. Globally, statistics show that between very much to this increase (Tappan et al. 2016). 2000 and 2010, forest land cover increased by Human activities on earth inevitably cause some about 1 percent (153,510 km ) in Australia and Asia, LULC change but the rate of such changes in West decreased by 2.49 percent (400,750 km ) in America, Africa is of great concern as it has resulted in fast CONTACT Collins Adjei Mensah email@example.com Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group 224 C. ADJEI MENSAH ET AL. depletion of the natural vegetation especially in area and proposes land-use planning initiatives to urban areas. This is critical because such changes enhance the sustainability of the city. are contrary to the objectives of sustainable devel- opment goals (SDGs) especially Goal 11 (sustainable Land use change and sustainable urban cities) which calls for preservation of the natural development vegetation in city’s physical landscape to enhance the quality of life of urban dwellers (UN, 2015; A variety of factors have been advanced by natural Mensah et al. 2017). and social scientists to aﬀect the LULC change of an Afterthe discoveryofoil in commercial quanti- area. These factors can aﬀect individual or small par- ties in 2007 in Ghana, Sekondi-Takoradi (Ghana’soil cels of land (micro level) or a larger area (macro city) the closest major city to the oil ﬁelds has been level). According to Briassoulis (2000), the factors the point of attraction for many individuals (both inﬂuencing LULC change at both micro and macro foreigners and Ghanaians). A report by the STMA levels can be grouped into biophysical (natural (2011) showed that the city is now witnessing rapid induced factors) and social factors (human-induced increase in socioeconomic activities with several factors). Earlier study by Turner et al. (1990) categor- infrastructural projects taking place in the hospital- ized the social factors underlying LULC change into ity, health, commercial, industrial, and educational human driving forces, human mitigating forces, and sectors of the city. For instance, the 2010–2013 proximate sources of change. Whilst the human driv- spatial development plan of Sekondi-Takoradi ing forces focus on fundamental societal forces about Metropolis stressed on changing physical land- changes in population, technology, and sociocultural scape due to pressures on land for various devel- and economic organization, the human mitigating opment projects. These changes have forces counteract the negative eﬀects of human driv- consequences on the sustainability of the city but ing forces such as all forms of formal and informal previous studies have barely focused on the causes regulations. The proximate sources of change on the of LULC change in the city. They have failed to look other hand cover human actions that directly aﬀect at the linkages between LULC change and the the LULC of an area. The major proximate factors sustainability of the city which is very important identiﬁed by Meyer and Turner (1994) include har- to global development agenda of cities which sup- vesting (hunting, ﬁshing, fuel wood cutting, mining, port initiatives that contribute to achieving sustain- grazing, and farming); replacement (clearing, plowing, able communities by 2030 (UN 2015). It is therefore irrigation, construction, and paving); and external to bridge this knowledge gap that this paper was inputs (plant/animal introduction, fertilizers, machin- written. The paper aims at analyzing the LULC ery, and herbicides). change of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis between A study by Verburg et al. (2004) relying on ideas 1991 and 2016, and its implications on the sustain- from various disciplines in the natural and social ability of the city. It is guided by the following sciences classiﬁed the factors inﬂuencing land use research question: What is the nature of LULC change into ﬁve broad themes: biophysical, eco- change of Sekondi-Takoradi? nomic, social, spatial interaction, and social policies. The study makes important contributions in dif- To them, the biophysical conditions of a given land ferent ways. It ﬁrst shows the LULC pattern of such as its soil, geology, climate, rainfall, and drai- Sekondi-Takoradi over a 25-year time interval to nage to a greater extent determine the suitability of know which LULC type is increasing, declining, or that land for a given land use. The economic factors remaining unchanged for the city authorities to concentrate on the relation between location factors take the necessary land policies to address the situa- and land use where land is used for a given activity tion. Furthermore, the ﬁndings of the paper facilitate that generates the highest potential proﬁt, that is, easy comparison of the LULC of the study area before land-use decisions are made to satisfy utility- and after the discovery of oil in the area to guide maximization of individuals. Verburg et al. (2004) future development controls to enhance oil-led further opined that in terms of social factors, indivi- development of the city. In terms of sustainability, duals’ cultural values, norms, preferences (lifestyles), the paper highlights the consequences of the LULC composition of neighborhoods and means of trans- pattern on the sustainable urban development of the port serve as important determinants of LULC INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 225 change. The spatial interaction factors focus on cen- a mixture of building and housing types, and archi- tripetal forces which deal with factors that cause the tectural styles to cater for the needs of diﬀerent concentration of urban functions (such as economies urban dwellers. Lastly, greening as an element of of scale, localized knowledge spillovers, and sustainable urban development embraces nature as labor markets) and centrifugal forces which concen- an integral part of urban areas and therefore strives trate on factors that inﬂuence a spatial spread of to conserve many green spaces (parks, gardens, for- urban functions (such as congestion, land rents, and ests, farmlands, etc.) in urban areas to enhance the factor immobility). In addition to the above determi- well-being of urban dwellers. Hence to achieve sus- nants, recent studies have found rapid urbanization, tainable urban development, many of the above ele- population growth, migration, industrialization, ments or indicators have to be achieved in a given deforestation, and economic reforms as among the urban area. key social and economic contributors to LULC change in urban areas (Murayama et al. 2015;Gu Materials and methods et al. 2016; Owoeye and Ibitoye 2016). The changes in LULC in urban areas often result in Study area various environmental and socioeconomic problems The study was undertaken at the Sekondi-Takoradi (such as loss of biodiversity, ﬂooding, congestion, Metropolis which serves as the industrial and com- pollution, health problems, etc.) which aﬀect the mercial hub of the Western Region of Ghana. As the livelihood of urban dwellers and consequently capital city of the region, it is strategically located destruct the sustainable development of urban due to its proximity to the sea, airports, and accessi- lands. Therefore to enhance the sustainability of bility to major cities by rail and road. It can be found urban lands, diﬀerent models have been highlighted in south-western part of Ghana (Figure 1) which is in the literature and these include the neotraditional about 280 km west of Accra and 130 km east of the development, urban containment, compact city, and Ghana Cote d’lvoire border (Stemn and Agyapong eco-city models (Williams et al. 2000; Nelson et al. 2014). It is predominantly covered by the tropical 2004; Jabareen 2006; Suzuki et al. 2010; Naess 2014). rain forest and mangrove vegetation types which Ideas from these models have revealed that having favor green vegetation (Ghana Statistical Service a sustainable urban development requires 2014). The 2010 National Population Census of a combination of interrelated concepts or elements Ghana puts the total population of the Sekondi- such as diversity, density, mixed land uses, compact- Takoradi Metropolis at 559,548 people with an ness, greening, and sustainable transport (Wheeler annual population growth rate of 3.2 percent. Since 2002; Nasar 2003; Neuman 2005; Jabareen 2006). 2007, when oil was discovered and subsequently Density in this context is the ratio of people or dwell- exploited in commercial quantities in 2011, the city ing units per a given land area and at a high thresh- has been given the name the ‘Oil City’ of Ghana. It is old (high density) it generates much interactions now the focal point for infrastructural developments, needed to make urban functions or activities viable. migrants, and employment opportunities due to the Compactness covers urban contiguity and connectiv- discovery of the oil. The current population density is ity, and when applied to existing urban area helps to 8140 persons/km (CHF International 2012). control urban sprawl. This when achieved minimizes the cost of transporting energy, materials, products, and people from one area to the other. Sustainable Data processing and analysis transport lays much emphasis on walking, cycling, and eﬃcient public transport that encourage social Various softwares were utilized to get and analyze interactions. Mixed land uses focus on allocation of data in the study. For example, ERDAS Imagine 2013 various land uses (such as residential, commercial, was used to preprocess the satellite imageries and recreational, industrial, and institutional) in close undertake supervised classiﬁcation of land-use and proximity to avoid or limit the need to use car for land cover classes. Arc Map version 10.1 was further various activities in urban areas. Similar to mixed land used to make layout and design maps for ﬁnal print- uses is diversity which apart from emphasizing on ing. Microsoft Word and Excel 2013 were utilized to diﬀerent land uses in urban areas recommends generate tables, and bar charts for various analyses in 226 C. ADJEI MENSAH ET AL. Figure 1. A map of Ghana showing Sekondi-Takoradi metropolitan area. Source: GIS and Cartography Unit of University of Cape Coast (2017). the study. The available satellite imageries were and the boundary was developed from a raster acquired from Landsat 04 MSS, 05 TM, 07 ETM+, image that was opened in Arc Map 10.1. This and Landsat 08 OLI/TIR for the years 1991 and image was digitized into shape ﬁle extension mak- 2016. A remotely sensed data was acquired there- ing it a vector layer. It was later opened in ERDAS after with radiometric corrections performed on Imagine 2013 and superimposed on the 1991 and them for the study area. This was done to remove 2016 imageries one after the other. The superimpo- atmospheric eﬀects so as to improve the accuracy of sition of the boundary of the study area as an AOI the image classiﬁcations. ﬁle was done to subset or clip out the needed area Image classiﬁcation was done to convert the for image classiﬁcation. Signatures from various fea- remotely sensed data into thematic data and the- tures needed for consideration were created into matic characteristics such as land cover and land AOI ﬁles and afterward the ﬁles were classiﬁed use were considered. The image classiﬁcation sys- into six categories based on the USGS classiﬁcation tem was based on the United States Geological system (Table 1). The classiﬁed imageries for 1991 Survey (USGS) classiﬁcation system. This was due and 2016 were produced as thematic images. to the fact that it has features of several existing Speciﬁc color codes were assigned to the various classiﬁcation systems and also amenable to data classiﬁed thematic images in their various attribute derived from remotely sensed imageries and photo- tables for better cartographic view. graphs from satellites (Avery and Berlin 1992). The Aside image classiﬁcation, change detection of supervised classiﬁcation was adopted for the 1991 LULC for the time interval under study was done to and 2016 imageries. An area of interest (AOI) ﬁle enable the study to draw informed conclusions. The was created using the boundary of the study area change detection covered the discovery of changes in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 227 Table 1. Description of LULC units used in the study. Land-use/cover (LULC) General description Water It includes all areas within the landmass that are persistently covered by water. Its categories include stream, lakes, reservoirs, bays, and estuaries. Barren land Land areas of dry and exposed soil surface as a result of both human activities and natural causes. Farm land It broadly covers land used primarily for production of food and ﬁber. It includes cropland and pasture, orchards, groves, vineyards, nurseries, and ornamental horticultural areas, conﬁned feeding operations, and other agricultural land. Built-up Comprised of areas of intensive use with structures. This category covers community service areas, residential areas, commercial and industrial areas. It also includes lands cleared in readiness for development. Open forest Forest lands with a tree-crown aerial density (crown closure percentage) of 5 percent. It includes areas that depict sparsely located trees, shrubs, and patches of bare soil. Areas of extensive grass cover and isolated thickets are classiﬁed under this category. Closed forest Forest lands that have a tree-crown aerial density (crown closure percentage) of 10 percent or more, regime. It includes deciduous, evergreen, and mixed forests. Data analysis, 2018. the form of location and extent, and identiﬁcation of However, during the 1991 and 2016 time interval features in space (Asubonteng 2007). Postclassiﬁcation closed forest was found to have greatly reduced in size change detection technique was used and this losing over 4000 ha of land (4558 ha). Similar was the involved an overlay of independently classiﬁed images situation of open forest which slightly reduced from its to identify changes in LULC in terms of aerial extent, previous land coverage of 6716 ha in 1991 to 6614 ha in spots of change, and the path of change. The LULC 2016 (Figure 2). Another important observation made maps were loaded into matrix union thematic tool with in 2016 was the loss of farmland to other land uses. the help of Raster GIS analysis tool in ERDAS Imagine A total of 300 ha of farmlands were lost. In fact, apart 2013 to indicate the changes between the time interval from built-up lands which recorded more gains than under investigation in a form of change map and loss between the 1991 and 2016 time interval, there change matrix which was then used for analysis. The was generally a decreasing trend of LULC change in the change maps for the various images were later opened city with various LULC classes losing substantial por- in Arc Map 10.1 for management, map layout and map tions of their land sizes. The excessive increase in built- design for the ﬁnal map display of the work in JPEG up lands at the expense of the natural environment is image ﬁle extension. Likewise, the change matrix for not ideal in terms of sustainable urban planning as this the images of various years were opened in Microsoft causes huge destructions to the natural ecosystem and Excel 2013 for the generation of the change matrix its accompanying services essential for human survival. tables for the respective years images. The above GIS These observations suggest that during the 1991 and and remote sensed data were supplemented with rele- 2016 time interval much pressure was put on the exist- vant secondary materials on the topic under study. ing lands to satisfy the needs of the residents in Sekondi-Takoradi. Furthermore, looking at the LULC transitions Results among the various LULC classes between 1991 and 2016 time interval, it was found out that about 576 The LULC change analysis conducted on the 1991 ha of built-up lands remained unchanged (Table 2). satellite imagery revealed that in 1991 substantial por- There was no change of lands between built-up tions of lands in the study area were covered by open lands and closed forest, and built-up and barren forest (6716 ha) followed by closed forest (4594 ha). lands. On closed forest, as 20 ha remained Farmlands covered 301 ha with built-up lands taken unchanged, 2691 ha were converted into open forest about 580 ha of the total land area. This suggests that and 1697 ha to built-up lands with barren lands also by 1991 the forest cover of the area was very high taking 134 ha of such lands by 2016 (Table 2). signifying much greenery of Sekondi-Takoradi An estimated 1959 ha of open forest remained Metropolis (Table 2). Closed forest, open forest and steady, whereas it lost approximately 4442 ha to farmlands together covered about 70 percent of the built-up lands. In addition to this, 111 and 193 ha total land area of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis. 228 C. ADJEI MENSAH ET AL. Table 2. LULC transitions in hectares between 1991 and 2016 at Sekondi-Takoradi. 2016 1991 Interval Water Barren land Farm land Built up Open forest Closed forest Total Loss 1991 Water 0 4 0 17 3 0 24 24 Barren land 9 221 47 2,184 1,959 11 4,431 4,210 Farm land 20 1 297 1 0 301 300 Built up 10 3 576 1 0 580 4 Open forest 6 193 111 4,442 1,959 5 6,716 4,757 Closed forest 0 134 52 1,697 2,691 20 4,594 4,574 2016 Total 18 552 214 9,212 6,614 36 16,646 Interval Gain 18 331 213 8,636 4,655 16 13,869 Data analysis, 2018 *Figures bolded in Table 2 above signiﬁes various land use/cover which remain unchanged. **The spatial resolution for the data is 30 × 30 m for each pixel from Landsat 7 ETM+. Figure 2. Area change of LULC in Sekondi-Takoradi between 1991 and 2016. Source: Data Analysis, 2018. of open forest were converted into farmland and a massive increase in the built-up lands from 580 ha in barren land, respectively (Table 2). The LULC change 1991 to 9212 ha in 2016. This shows a phenomenal analyses between farmland and other LULC classes expansion of the built-up lands of the city over the found farmland losing a large tract of land to built-up time interval under study (Figure 3) with such expan- lands. Speciﬁcally, 297 ha of farmlands were found to sion taken place on farmlands, forests (especially have been converted to built-up lands during the closed forest), barren lands, and water bodies. This is 1991–2016 time interval. synonymous to the situation in urban areas of devel- oping countries such as the Eastern Ghats Region (India), Dhaka Metropolitan area (Bangladesh), and Al Discussion Gharbiya governorate (Egypt) where much agricul- The overall LULC pattern (between 1991 and 2016 tural lands and forests have been converted into built- time interval) of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis shows up lands due to rapid urbanization (Belal and a drastic decrease in the land coverage for closed Moghanm 2011; Dewan et al. 2012; Ramachandran forest, farmlands, and some reduction in open forest et al. 2018). For instance, in the Dhaka Metropolitan and water bodies but this is accompanied by rather area, rapid urbanization resulted in built-up lands INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 229 Figure 3. A land use/cover map of Sekondi-Takoradi between 1991 and 2016. Source: Landsat Satellite imageries of 1991 and 2016. increasing substantially from 5500 ha in 1975 to prevent encroachment into these reserves (natural 20,549 ha in 2005 whilst at the same time interval vegetation, water bodies, wetlands, etc.). However, cultivated land decreased drastically from 12,040 ha what were observed from the LULC analyses were to 6236 ha. In the case of Egypt, due to urbanizaiton, far from their mandates and hence suggesting some Tanta and Quttour districts in the Al Gharbiya gover- element of ineﬀectiveness in the performance of norate had their agricultural lands decreasing by their roles as a probable factor for the seemingly about 2377 and 1339 ha, respectively between 1972 uncontrolled nature of physical land development and 2005. Although the results of the above literature in the area. is similar to the ﬁndings of the study area but the Another possible factor for the rapid expansion of intensity of the expansion of the built-up lands at the city’s built-up area is the discovery of crude oil in the expense of other land uses was found to be very the area in 2007 and its associated increase in popu- high in the study area taken into consideration the lation and building infrastructure. Studies have magnitude of the expansion of built-up lands (over 15 revealed that after the discovery of oil, Sekondi- folds) within the time interval (1991−2016) that the Takoradi has become a point of attraction for many study was conducted. The foregoing suggests uncon- people (both Ghanaians and foreigners) and busi- trolled nature of physical developments taken place at nesses resulting in excessive rise in the real estate Sekondi-Takoradi. This raises questions about the sector (houses, hotels, and oﬃces) and human popu- roles of government land and environmental agencies lation (Asafu-Adjaye 2010; Eduful and Hooper 2015; operating in the study area (such as the Physical Mensah et al. 2018). Prior to the discovery of oil, in Planning Department, Development Planning Unit/ 2000, the population of the city was about 360,000 Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and but in 2010 it rose to nearly 560,000 when commer- Forest Services Division). cial exploitation of the oil began. By the end 2016, These agencies as part of their mandates are sup- the population of the area was estimated to be near posed to protect the city’s nature reserves and 700,000 people giving the city an average population ensure orderliness of physical developments to growth rate of 3.2 percent, higher than the national 230 C. ADJEI MENSAH ET AL. average of Ghana which is 2.5 percent (Fiave 2017; buildings taking place on water ways. However, it is Mensah et al. 2018). These revelations clearly provide contrary to the situation in Nairobi (Kenya) where some linkages between the oil discovery and the water areas despite the expansion of the city expansion of the city into its reserved forests and between 2000 and 2014 rather increased in size farmlands to accommodate the growing population. more than 30 percent (Murayama et al. 2015). This The above ﬁnding makes the changes in LULC of situation denies the city the opportunity to have and the city not the result of natural or biophysical means enjoy the beneﬁts associated with conserved water but rather due to replacement conditions (such as areas such as wetlands and marshy areas. clearing of farmlands/forest to contain the increasing population, ﬁlling of water bodies for infrastructural Implications for sustainable urban development, construction activities, etc.) as indi- development cated by Meyer and Turner (1994). These activities deplete biodiversity which is critical for sustainable The above ﬁndings have several implications for sus- urban development as opined by Elmqvist et al. tainable urban development of the area. First, the lat- (2015). To Elmqvist availability of many urban forests eral expansion of the built-up area has huge and green vegetation helps to provide many ecosys- consequences on the compactness of the city which tem services such as ameliorating the microclimate is an important element in achieving sustainable urban of an area and improving urban air quality to development. Earlier study by Aduah and Baﬀoe (2013) enhance the well-being of urban dwellers. The loss using the Shannon’s Entropy Index provided similar of farmlands as found in the changes in LULC of evidence by ﬁnding Sekondi-Takoradi to have low Sekondi-Takoradi means that farmers who rely on compactness due to the sprawling nature of its built such lands for their livelihoods have to lose their environment. This prevents the city from enjoying the jobs and search for other job alternatives for their beneﬁts associated with compact cities such as high survival. In Akure city (Nigeria), similar observation social interaction due to close integration of commu- was made by Owoeye and Ibitoye (2016) which nities, and easy access to social-economic facilities found the city losing much of its farmlands to the because of their close proximity to each other. built environment (especially for residential housing The horizontal spread nature of the built-up area development) relieving most farmers of their jobs. further exposes the city authorities, national govern- This development is contrary to the current national ment, and multinational companies to incurring high agricultural policy of Ghana (planting for food and cost in extending essential public facilities such as jobs) which supports the conservation of more farm- water, electricity, and telecommunication networks to lands in order to encourage more Ghanaians, espe- newly developed areas at longer distances. This pro- cially the youth, to go into agricultural activities blem was evident in the area as new developed com- (Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 2017). The loss of munities at far distances at the outskirts of the city were farmlands therefore serves as a disincentive to city found suﬀering from frequent shortages of water sup- dwellers who are interested in farming not to go into ply due to diﬃculties in extending pipe-borne water that venture but rather search for other jobs, espe- supply to those areas by the city authorities (Coastal cially ‘white collar’ jobs which are limited in the city Resources Centre, 2013). The outward expansion nat- and Ghana as a whole. This therefore serves as ureofthe city furthermakes thecitymoresusceptible a contributing factor to the unemployment situation to having low building density which discourages more of the study area. walking since it positions social-economic facilities at The reduction of water bodies, on the other hand, longer or greater distances which sustainable urban as against excessive rise in the built-up area also development discourages. gives an indication that some individuals and devel- The diminishing nature of both closed and opers are encroaching water areas for building pur- open forests signiﬁes some loss of green spaces poses. That is ﬁlling up such areas with sand to make (such as parks and gardens) and for that matter them conducive for construction of buildings and poor protection of such spaces in the physical other infrastructure. This ﬁnding is consistent with landscape of the city which is at variance with studies by Mensah et al. (2018) and Aduah and what is recommended by the eco-city model. Baﬀoe (2013) in the same city which found several Although the green vegetation of the city (both INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 231 open and close forest) as at 2016 covered almost Planning Department of the city should liaise with 50 percent of the total land area which is quite the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority to commendable as it is above the global average of establish a well-deﬁned urban growth boundary tak- 33 percent as observed by Dobbs et al. (2014). ing into consideration the current LULC pattern of However losing 32 percent of such spaces within the city. Expansion of physical developments beyond a 25-year period makes it critical. These green this boundary should strictly be prohibited. This spaces often referred to as ‘the lungs of cities’ when complied with will help to concentrate physical provide tripartite beneﬁts (social, economic, and development in areas within the boundary to create environmental beneﬁts) to enhance the sustain- the necessary building density and conserve much ability of cities (Jennings et al. 2012;Mensah natural environment to enhance the sustainability of 2014). These beneﬁts include providing spaces the city. Although in Hangzhou (China) the eﬀective- for leisure and recreation, oﬀering health beneﬁts, ness of urban growth boundary has been found to and enhancing social integration and cohesion be low (Zheng 2014) but generally in both developed (social beneﬁt). Economically, they provide job and developing countries empirical studies have opportunities; and environmentally, beautify shown that this strategy helps to reduce indiscrimi- urban design, conserve biodiversity, improve air nate urban expansion and conserve large amount of quality and ameliorate local climate. However, natural vegetation for future usage (Planning their diminishing nature in the current LULC of Institute of Australia 2006; Woo and Guldmann the Sekondi-Takoradi will make it diﬃcult for 2014; Horn 2015; Greenbelt Alliance 2016). their beneﬁts to be well felt by the residents. In addition to this, proposals for developing con- Furthermore, excessive increase in the built-up area served nature reserves by individuals or organizations indicates increment of more impervious surfaces (hard or especially at the northern part of the city should be concretesurfaces)inthecity.Highamountofsuchsur- subjected to thorough checks, and cost and beneﬁts faces are not recommended in sustainable cities due to analysis by the statutory planning committee and other their poor absorption of running water and reﬂection of technical experts before decisions are made. This will solar radiation back to the atmosphere hence contribut- help avoid unnecessary conversion of forests and farm- ing to environmental problems such as ﬂooding and lands into built-up areas which the city is experiencing Urban Heat Island. This development put the city at risk now. This in the long run will help the city to conform to of experiencing such environmental problems to ham- objective ﬁve of the 2013 National Urban Policy of Ghana per the socioeconomic development of the area. which focuses on improving environmental quality of urban dwellers. The STMA in collaboration with government land and Conclusion and the way forward environmental agencies (especially the newly created The ﬁndings of this paper give a clear indication of Landuse and Spatial Planning Authority) should eﬀec- unguided expansion of the physical growth of Sekondi- tively undertake their roles to prevent undue encroach- Takoradi Metropolis which is shown in undue encroach- ment of the city’s forest reserves (both close and open ment of forest reserves (both close and open forests), forests) and water bodies. With the passage of Ghana’s rapid diminishing of the city’sfarmlands,conversionof new Landuse and Spatial Planning Act of 2016 (Act 925) water bodies into built-up lands, and uncontrolled built which have restructured the Physical Planning environment. This is partly due to poor management of Department of STMA (now Town and Country Planning the LULC by the city authorities, and the discovery of oil Department and Department of Parks of Gardens con- which serves as a stimulus to draw more people and solidated into one body) to have more powers than their businesses to settle in the area, therefore putting pres- previous mere advisory role, these agencies now have sure on the available LULC for various building activities. strong legislative and administrative support to eﬀec- To correct the situation, the following measures have tively manage the city’s land by undertaking stringent been suggested by the paper. measures and routine surveillance of the city’sphysical In checking the uncontrolled expansion of the land developments. This will help detect activities intrud- built environment, urban containment policies such ing into the city’s nature reserves early for the necessary as urban growth boundaries strategy could be imple- measures to be undertaken to correct the situation. mented in the area. In doing this, the Physical Furthermore, the city authorities should encourage 232 C. ADJEI MENSAH ET AL. vertical physical land development as against lateral Avery TE, Berlin GL. 1992. Fundamentals of remote sensing and airphoto Interpretation. 5th ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing (horizontal) land expansioncurrently taking placein Company. the city. This can be achieved by sensitizing the residents Belal AA, Moghanm FS. 2011. Detecting urban growth using and private estate developers on vertical land develop- remote sensing and GIS techniques in Al Gharbiya governor- ments and their contributions to sustainable urban ate, Egypt. Egypt J Remote Sens Space Sci. 14:73–79. development . 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International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development
– Taylor & Francis
Published: May 4, 2019
Keywords: Land use/cover; change; urban development; sustainability; Sekondi-Takoradi; Ghana