African Journal of Geography and Regional Planning ISSN: 2736-1586 Vol. 8 (8), pp. 001-014, August, 2021. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Perception and structure of environmental annoyances in a developing world urban setting: A study of Benin City, Nigeria                                                             

Roy Enahimion Okosun and Boyowa Anthony Choko                                                   

Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

Accepted 28 December, 2018

Abstract

Rapid urbanization and weak control of development are changing the character of most cities in Africa and the rest of the developing world. While trends in urbanization have received research attention, the day to day life experiences of people in emerging and diverse physical and social settings in cities, which are beginning to adversely affect the quality of life and the environment, have secured little research interest. Yet appropriate policy response to urban decay will require not only greater understanding of urbanizing trends but how people themselves experience and interpret the deluge of environmental issues associated with urban growth, especially the various contexts in which they either annoy or represent nuisances to their life and the strategies that may be required to halt decay and restore cities. This study explores how residents of Benin City, Nigeria, a fast expanding city, perceive environmental annoyances and the coping mechanisms adopted in face of the identified nuisances. A pre-survey to elicit, describe and validate suitable verbal bi-polar adjectival descriptors of annoyances in the urban setting was first conducted using a limited number of respondents. From an initial list of 100 descriptive constructs some 40 most frequently mentioned items were presented to 320 sampled residents for evaluation. By employing several statistical procedures including Principal Components Analyses, results show that carbon monoxide emissions (automobile smoke), flooding, epileptic power supply, noise from worship centres, foul odour associated with public transport vehicles and the dearth of public motorcycle transportation were seen as some of the most impactful issues in the city. This pattern of response seems to reflect the typical problems of poorly regulated urban activities, weak infrastructure/amenities as well as uncontrolled, unplanned urban growth and expansion, that were affecting life chances of the people and hindering their access to opportunities and comfort. While the study reveals that majority of respondents devote little thought to adaptation and coping mechanisms to manage the crisis of urban development, the study nonetheless recommends that planners and policy makers take seriously the need for more controlled urban development employing indicators of environmental stress and nuisances as bases for city renewal and regulation of the use of public spaces.

Key words: Environmental annoyances, perception, Benin City, quality of life, coping strategies.