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urbanization and its impact on housing development in Buea

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Housing is a fundamental human need, until now, making sure that every person has access to good quality housing is a grave challenge facing Buea Urban Space. This paper seeks to examine the housing situation and challenges to housing development in Buea Urban Space. The study adopted the mix method approach which involves triangulation of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. Primary data were obtained from field observations,
interviews and questionnaires administered to households. Secondary data were obtained from relevant official documents, published and unpublished sources.
Findings on housing situation revealed that, although the housing structures have improved, the housing designs, technology and level of maintenance are still low. The irregularity and unreliability in water supply, electricity supply and waste management systems have turned most households to alternative sources with poor quality. Urbanization and urban growth are occurring without a concurrent increase in housing supply resulting to congestion, deterioration of basic services,
pollution, inaccessibility, social vices, lack of privacy, poor ventilation and natural disasters amongst others. The paper, therefore, calls for the rehabilitation and renovation of dilapidated housing structures, provision of basic services, construction of low-cost housing, encourage financial institutions to grant loans to real estate developers at low interest rate.

 The sample size of this study was 60, and respondents were sample randomly. Questionnaires and observations were the instruments used to collect data. Data was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively with the use of frequency distribution tables. This study focuses on five chapters. On which the chapter one based on the urbanization and housing development. Africa contents, national and down to Buea. While chapter two looks at the literature review and some conceptual framework with some authors of the study. The chapter four deals mostly with data analyses and test of hypothesis and some result was done. And the final chapter focuses on research findings, recommendation and some conclusion




 Wealth is generated in cities, making urbanization a key to economic development. Some of the positive implication of urbanization includes the creation of employment opportunities, technological and infrastructural advancements, improved transportation and communication, quality educational and medical facilities, and improved standard of living. Additionally there is accessibility to the internet modern cities have the potential to better plan their city for sustainability and boost their economy.

   By 2050, the urban population could reach nine billion. Cities are increasingly functioning autonomously, setting new social economic standards. The world is much more urbanizing than previously according to the newly adopted definition of urban areas 76.5% of the population was already living in urban areas in 2015 as opposed to previous estimate of 54%.Both the total numbers and relative importance of cities is growing steadily with the global urban population potentially reaching nine billion by 2050.The rate of urbanization varies greatly by region, with nine out of ten future mega cities exceeding ten million is expected to be in the developing world, which will represent 90-95% of the urban expansion in the coming decades. The largest part of the urban population growth is expected to take place in Asia, Africa and Latin America {United Nations world urbanization prospect 2014}.Urban centers have almost doubled in number from 6900 in 1975 to 13100 in 2015 and their population size has also grown. The majority of a countries population grows faster in urban areas than in rural ones. Over the last 25 years, cities globally have grown in size. In 2015, urban areas hosted some 5.6 billion people, nearly double than in 1975, and their surface area exceeded half a million kilometers square a 20 percent increase since 2000.While in the rest of the world the urban population increase faster than the built up area, in Europe and Northern America the inverse occurred, Meaning that more land is now been consumed to accommodate new citizens than in the past. Globally, urbanization is occurring at different rates considerably faster in developing regions than in developed ones. Africa is expected to be the fastest urbanizing region in the last 25years.Meanwhile in many parts of North America and Europe urban population has instead decline. About 45% of the world’s urban dwellers live in settlements with less than 250,000 inhabitants and almost 60% in settlements with fewer than 1,000,000 inhabitants. In 2015 they were 467 urban centers with at least 1million inhabitants. Of the future mega cities, two will be in India, Delhi is projected to become the world’s most populated city around 2028, overtaking Tokyo which has a declining population by 2025,{European commission}.

       In the African continent, many countries have the majority of the population residing in rural areas. IN 2020 urbanization in Rwanda, Malawi, Niger, Burundi was below 20 percent. In 2020 Gabon had the highest urbanization rate in Africa, with over ninety percent of the population living in urban areas. Libya and Djibouti followed at around 81percent and 78percent respectively{Mariam,2021}.On the average, the African urbanization rate stood at approximately 47% in 2020.The number of people living in urban areas has been growing steadily since 2000 and is forecast to increase further in the coming years. The urbanization process is been particularly rapid in Burundi, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania and Burkinafaso. In these countries, the urban population grew by four percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. Africa’s largest city is Lagos in Nigeria, counting around nine million people. It is followed by Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cairo in Egypt, each with over seven million inhabitants. Moreover the population Bujumbura in Burundi would increase by 123% between 2020 and 2035, registering the highest growth rate in the continent. Other fast growing cities are Zinder in Niger, Kampala in Uganda, and Kabinda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo{Mariam,2021} The rapid expansion change the continents demographic landscape, yet urbanization in Africa has failed to bring about inclusive growth which, intern, has led to the creation of slums, urban poverty and rising inequality. Rural urban migration and natural population growth rates in cities are the major causes of the increasing rate of urban growth and slump creation in Africa. Another challenge from Africa’s rapid urbanization is the increasing pressure of urban population on the natural resources and the environment. The expansion of cities is generally at the destruction of forest and other natural environment or ecosystems, and increasing pollution especially air pollution with the related diseases. However, there are large variations in the patterns of urbanization across African regions North Africa has a higher proportion of urban population 47.8% relative to sub Saharan Africa with 32.8%.The relatively fewer slums in North African countries is mainly attributed to better urban development strategies including investment in infrastructure and in upgrading urban settlements. In contrast, sub Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of urban population 32.8%, but the highest proportion of slum dwellers 65percent {African development bank ,2012}.

     In Cameroon, urban places are considered based on population size and political administration criteria. Thus all places with a population of 2000, 5000, 10000, or more and all sub divisional, divisional and regional capital are considered urban. Urban growth is considered a complex phenomenon due to the strong interactions among different economic, social, and environmental, cultural and institutional components{Carolina and Montserrat,2017}.Most towns in Cameroon, such as the Nkambe, outgrown their socio-economic infrastructures and as a result, drinkable water is becoming scarce, housing is hard to find, transportation is inadequate, and electricity is scarcely available. While urban centers face major problems they are also power houses of economic growth {UN 2021}.The problem of haphazard urban construction and the question of squatter settlement {illegally occupied buildings} presents a major challenge in most Cameroonian cities {Fombe and Balgah, 2010}.It is true that the uncontrolled sprawling of settlement is a reason behind the massive urban disarray observed in Cameroonian cities today. This is due to the fact that most of these structures were constructed without the respect of the laid down construction norms{Fombe and Balgah,2010}.The urban population of Cameroon doubled within a period of 30years after independence moving from 28.3% in 1976 to 44.3% in 2005 it was projected to 50.6% in 2010,53.5percent for 2015{projections from national census, 2005}.This can also be collaborated with the findings by Olayiwola,Eludoyin and Ekecha 2011,who revealed that the increase in aerial extent of settlement closes the gap between the forest and built up area, thus easing the removal of forest ecosystems by humans at the fringe zones.

Besides being the capital of the south west region, Buea is a university and colonial settlement which has grown to attain a current population of over 200,000people from 46,000 in 2000{Fombe and Balgah, 2012}Cameroon has not been spared in the current wave of rapid and uncontrolled urban growth which extends at the peri urban fringes. Asin in other West African nations, the pace of urbanization in Cameroon has been very rapid. From 1976 to 1988,the rate of urbanization grew from 28.5percent to 40.4percent with the current figure at around 45percent.This rapid urbanization is easily observed in Douala especially in the Bonaberridistrict, andYaoundé where dramatic growth can be seen in the neighborhoods such asEmombo,Simboch and Nkolbisson.{Fombe and Balgah,2010}.

     In Buea the historic capital of German Kamerun,this settlement expansion presents a number of planning challenges which must be addressed. Cameroon vision of2035 has to challenge the need for urban development, regional development and environmental protection. While research efforts have been directed on urbanization and environmental problems{Amawa and Kimengsi,2009}.The case of Buea provides and insight into the planning challenges of peri-urban settlement growth and suggests recommendations to development.Peri-ruban dynamics in Buea have been characterized by changes in land use including a sharp decrease in agricultural use, down from 80percent in 2000 to 50percent in 2014.In 2000; the peri-urban environment occupied a surface area of 10km square. However, due to a number of factors such as population growth, the need for space to accommodate human activities, high cost of land in the inner city of Buea, and the availability of cheap land at the fringes, there has been significant transformation of the peri-urban landscape, increasing in size to 25km square in 2014.



Developing countries are experiencing a rapid growth in the urbanization. This rapid urbanization has posted the problem of high population density that has now led to inadequate infrastructure and increase in rents of houses. Problems such as poor nature of houses is been faced especially by the poor who can’t afford good houses, which results in overcrowding of already congested areas. Rapid urbanization in today’s world does not only affect housing development but also leads to other problems such as flooding, creation of slum areas and has also increase the rate of crime and congestion in many cities and towns especially in the study area of Buea in the south west region of Cameroon .urbanization brought up other problems such as poor housing maintenance, unavailability of environmental space and high energy consumption. All these cause, gives us a reason to examine the impact of urbanization on housing development in Buea municipality. 




What is the impact of urbanization on housing development in Buea?


What are the challenges of urbanization in Buea?

  What are the effects of urbanization on the nature of houses in Buea?

  What are the possible solutions to the challenges of housing in Buea?



To investigate the impact of urbanization on housing development in Buea.


  • To examine the challenges of urbanization in Buea.
  • To examine the nature of houses in Buea.
  • To investigate the possible solutions of the various challenges of houses in Buea.
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