Contemporary urban development in Calabar – promoting sustainability by curtailing ecological footprints of (housing) development
The need to regulate land use and the exploitation of natural resources has led to the concept of sustainability, and by extension, ecological footprint (the total amount of land required by an individual to grow his/her needs). This paper examines ecological footprint savings in urban growth and housing development in Calabar (middle-sized Nigerian city) by comparing compact house development with single detached units per lot size. The method involved first, exploratory studies, mainly in the form of physical observations, conducted across the city towards the determination of the principal land use activities that are responsible for rapid urban growth in Calabar. Second, concepts of housing were analyzed by the use of experimental projects in order to demonstrate housing development paradigms that would be ecologically more beneficial for the city, with a view to minimizing the ecological footprints of the city in the future. The result showed that the existing urban development spread could be reduced by more than 150% if the current trend of individual one-unit housing practice is replaced by aggregation of units in a single block. The study also shows that ribbons of farmland could be saved between developments for urban agriculture.
Keywords: Ecological footprint, sustainability, housing, urban development