Nigeria’s Poor Urban Quality: A Challenge To Sustainable Environment


  • Pantaleon Osunkwo Department of Architecture, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli Campus, Uli, Anambra State, Nigeria


pseudo-urbanization, sustainable development, sustainable environment, urban design, urban quality


Nigerian cities have been found to be aesthetically displeasing and their urban setting described as chaotic. A typical Nigerian city has been described as being aesthetically distressing. The cities are not organized and are lacking in urban quality attributes when assessed with the five crystallizing elements of the city image- paths, nodes, edges, landmarks and districts. The origin and pattern of Nigerian cities revealed that the colonial urban centres evolved out of the commercial out posts and administrative centres. They were developed mainly along trade routes except where there were existing indigenous cities. The colonial cities were not meant to sustain themselves but to be fed by the surrounding countryside. The nation’s planning system has since remained trapped in the left-over colonial pattern with the planners concentrating more on development controls at the expense of advance planning. Development therefore speeds ahead of plans resulting to pseudo-urbanization. The cities’ characters are neither European nor African, but alien with lack of maintenance culture since they do not match with the lifestyle of the people that occupy them. The UN-Habitat states that planned urbanization is essential for Africa’s structural transformation and achievement of the continent’s Agenda 2063. It goes further to state that urbanization that occurs in unsustainable pattern can actually constrain economic growth. As the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is being reviewed, this paper examines Nigerian cities to determine their environmental sustainability in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper asserts that the prevailing urban forms and patterns of Nigerian cities need to be re-organized and re-ordered to create enabling environment for their livability and sustainability. The paper goes further to suggest ways of improving the urban quality of the cities which include synergizing inputs of the urban professionals and the establishment of urban design departments in government development agencies and schools.




How to Cite

Osunkwo, P. (2018). Nigeria’s Poor Urban Quality: A Challenge To Sustainable Environment. Coou African Journal of Environmental Research, 1(1), 165–176. Retrieved from



Urban Design