- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Africa is currently undergoing an urban transition at an unprecedented scale and pace with an unestimated growth of 5%, the proportion of Africa’s urban residents doubles every 15 years (U.N 2002). This unprecedented rate of urbanization and antecedent quest for incoming dwellers to participate in the process of commercialization deeply explains the concept of change of land uses that has characterized our urban areas over the years. With increasing population growth and the increasing material requirements of modern life, the needs of almost every type of land use are bound to increase. The problem of meeting these additional land requirements would be greatly simplified if each use could expand without emerging upon land needed for other purposes. Unfortunately, the fixed nature of the world’s land scale makes this an idle dream. Accordingly, each new upward sprut in the demand for land may be expected to contribute further to the competition and possible conflicts between existing and emerging land uses.
Some of the most talked competition between land uses comes within the encroachment of residential, commercial, recreational, industrial and agricultural land uses. Most of the sprawling outward growth of our cities has come at the expense of areas once used for agriculture. Even after the cities have been taken over mostly by residential and commercial land uses giving little room for other uses of land, fierce and continuous competitions still goes on. Individual operators anxiously bid against each other for the use of land.
This competition between is the main reason for the changes in land use from time to time. As the population increase and as people strive for higher standard of life, more competition surfaces and more change in land use comes to limelight. Akure is one of those cities witnessing such rapid population growth and change in land use pattern. This is the pivot upon which this study is hinged, the analysis of these changes in land use patterns in the metropolis and the effects it is having on rental values of properties in the metropolis is the main focus of this study.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Man’s physical environment is dynamic, so is man’s thought and action. The levels of commercial activities are a determining factor of the socio-economic and cultural development of any country. Despite stringent economic measures, the spirit of enterprise has refused to be dampened (Udechukwu, 2006). Resourceful men and women continue to come up with business ideas that not only benefit them financially but also boost their entire business sector. Due to this resourcefulness of men, areas that were originally meant for agricultural use or residential use have become major commercial centers. Over time, commercial activities which consist of buying, selling and provision of services such as banking, insurance, warehousing and all others that has their goal as making profit are fast taking over the original purposes of land use.
The increasing influx of commercial activities has occasioned the continuous change of uses of land. Take for instance; lands meant for residential use are often converted into commercial use (Buddy James1991). The reason for this change has been partly influenced by the rent accruing from the commercial use. A landlord would most likely prefer his space for commercial use if that use would generate optimum return than a less profitable residential use. Thus he could most likely prefer to have the property used for the purpose which represents the highest and best use of the land relative to other uses. However, the investors in the process of converting this property in conformity with the concept of highest and best use often contravene planning laws and regulations of government.
The town planning laws attempt to regulate and control the use of land, this is necessary to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the community. Thus a balance has to be struck between the investor who intends to obtain highest and best use of land and the government striving to obtain a balanced environment. The town planning regulations put in place to control the influx of commercial activities into residential areas has been subverted by investors. The investors submerge government laws and this has had adverse effects on the population in terms of housing accommodation shortage.
The activities of these investors are not telling on lands meant for residential use alone, it is also seriously affecting lands purposed for agricultural use. Lands that were formally used for plantations, animal farms e.t.c are been converted into other uses mainly residential. Most agricultural lands were located at the fringe of cities; most were converted to residential use due to influx of people on them caused by the overpopulation occurring from the city centre.
Taking a look at this from the economical aspect, it is obvious that there will be economical imbalance in the cities witnessing such rapid population growth and often changes in land use. The rental value of properties gets affected due to the fact that there is disequilibrium between the demand and supply of properties.
The study area(Akure) is a perfect example of such a city witnessing rapid population growth resulting into changes in the land use patterns ,therefore the study seeks to keenly analyze the land use changes that have occurred in Akure over the years and the effects this changes have brought upon the rental values of properties in the city.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study seeks to answer the following questions
- What is the procedure for land use conversion in Akure?
- What is the nature of land use conversion in Akure?
- What are the factors responsible for conversion of land use in the study area?
- What is the effect of land use conversion on rental value of properties?
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study is to analyze the changes in land use pattern and its effects on rental value of properties in Akure. In order to achieve the above aim, the following objectives were to;
- Identify the procedure for land use conversion in Akure
- Examine the nature of land use conversion in Akure
- Analyze the factors responsible for conversion of land use in the study area
- Identify the effects of land use conversion on rental viability of the project