«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»
Impact of Modernity on the Traditional Urban Form Timothy Odeyale, Behzad Sodagar and Nick Temple Lincoln School 0/Architecture, University o/Lincoln, United Kingdotn Abstract Architecture in any period has often been arefleetion of the soeiologieal, eultural, eeonomie and teehnologieal aspects of its development. Though it has been argued that Afriea has no reeorded history in the written form, but evidences persist of the rieh eulture of the different tribes that makes up the eonstituent of its inhabitants. This paper examines some of these soeio-eultural faetors that impinge on the historieal traditional forms and arehiteetural system in sub-Saharan Afriea, by considering the pattern of food production and eonsumption. lt also examines in partieular existing relationship between architecture and food consumption that affect the sustainable built form found in southwest Nigeria. The paper is thus an endeavor to discuss the connections, interrelationships and benefits of these concepts in the evolving modem socio cultural views on Afriea. The paper report arecent field survey carried out in the study area, based on quantitative and qualitative methodology. Sizeable numbers of questionnaire are administered to the target population, using stratitied random sampling method in order to elieit primary data with 76 percent response rate from the respondent.
Keywords: cultural sensitivity, development, sustainable food-production, social institutions, Nigeria, urbanization Timothy Odeyale, Behzad Sodagar & Nick Temple 1 Introduction The key to address the current debate on the sustainable future for the earth espeeially the urban centres may be found in the activities surrounding the production of food and the built environment. There is a lack of understanding of how food in the historical past has contributed to the formation of the present urban landscape and how it may well shape its future. This lack ofunderstanding is clearly evident in our manner of urban lifestyle and the present unsustainable ways in which food activities were carried out, which has contributed to the deteriorating nature of our towns and cities (Steel, 2008; Alexander, 2009).
Recent researches have shown that there is a lack of information on the growths of eities especially in developing countries, considering aspects of food and agriculture (Steel, 2008; Allen, 1993). The developing countries are especially affected, in their bid to follow global trends has embraced many policies and socio-cultural lifestyles that are unsustainable (Olayiwola, 2000;
Olanrewaju, 1996). The developing countries such as Nigeria, accounted for the most number of rapidly urbanized centres in sub Sahara Africa (Mabogunje, 1980; Onibokun, 1985), with its attendant o verpop ulati on, poverty, lack of employment, dependency on fossil based economy and stack abandonment of its agricultural base. Without addressing this problem from the viewpoint of earth scarce resources such as in food production, we may be unable to sustain life in a city. Hence, there is a need for a rethink in order to make adequate provision for the present and future generations. This paper is an attempt to open the discourse on the connection and relationship between sustainable food production and city growth especially in the developing countries.
2 Food and the Concept of Sustainable Development Sustainable development could be regarded as a process of change in wh ich the exploitation of resources; the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations (Egan, 2004; Hewitt and Hagan, 2001). Sustainable development can be viewed as that development that cultivates the environmental and social conditions that will support human weH being indefinitely. Discussion on sustainable development received significant exposition through the influential Brundtland report of 1987 (Pearce et al, 1990). Notable organizations such as the International Union for the Conservation of the Nature, World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Environmental programme, all contributed to the enshrinement of the tenets of sustainable development in the environmental circles. Sustainable development embraces all activities that meet the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Pearce et al, (1990:
10) also defines it as a development strategy that manages all assets, natural resources and human resources, as weIl as financial and physical assets for increasing long term wealth and weil being. According to Repetto, (1986) the Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 343 doctrine of sustainable development reject all policies and practices that support CUITent Jiving standards by depleting the productive base, including natural resourceS and leaves future generations with poorer prospects and greater risks than our own. The United Nations conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio in 1992 and the second Habitat Conference held in Istanbul in 1992 further brought the idea of sustainable development into limelight.
2.1 Sustainability and tbe sustainable food question
Hence, the tenets of sustainability involve the possible ways of carrying out present activities without endangering the future for generations. For any deveJopment to be sustainable, there are elaborate sets of minimum conditions to be present. These minimum conditions are based on "natural capital stock" that should not decrease over time. The natural capital stock consists of all environmental and natural resource assets. Development can be viewed as a desirable change, it consists of list attributes which society seeks to achieve or maximize. Development in this paper, is c10sely tied to changes in the culture of the people, improvement in the social amenities (involving provision of good infrastructure such as roads, water and energy system to support food production), increase access to basic education and better Iiving condition, the cumulative effect which resulted in a sustainable buiIt environment. This approach places emphasis on sound environmental management for meeting the objectives of sustainable development.
However, the rate at which people are consuming natural resourees and polluting the environment (ecological footprint), is rising exponentially. The available resources and capacity of the earth cannot sustain humanity's activities endlessly (Humphrey et al, 2008). Humanity's activities (such as transportation, agriculture, housing, waste and infrastructure) have generated large ecological or carbon footprint, which has increased by around 150% in the last 40 years. If Jeft unchecked will result in a permanent loss of biodiversity, this will affect access to water, food production, health and shelter for hundreds of millions of people around the world (Francis & Gill, 2009).
It is important to point out that there exist strong connections between food production and architecturel urban planning (Gordon, 1990; Chimbowu and Gumbo, 1993; Greenhow, 1994,). lt has been documented that food production and consumption is one of the main contributor to earth's ecological footprint (Sodagar, et al 2008). Tbe three planet model, estimates that an average European consumes three times the amount of food compare to those in the developing countries,. Human population has increased rapidly over the past 50 years and it is estimated to be over 7.5 and 8.3 billon people before 2025;
compare to Jess than 2.5 billion in 1961 and presently 6.5 billion (United Nations Population division, 2009; PAl, 2006). This huge increase in population will require food that mustbe sourced or produced in a sustainable way. Tbe world can not atlord to continue to go about food production and consumption in the usual way.
Timothy Odeyale, Behzad Sodagar & Nick Temple According to Steel (2008) and Zetter, et al, (2006) food must be sourced locally or produced in the city in order to reduce burden on the rural or hinterland. According to Patrick Geddes the evolution of the city are complex and complicated in nature that encompasses the physical attributes of sustainability; but involves the social, cultural, political, economic and historieal issues (Weiter, 2002). This must be fully addressed through social justice and encouraging a lifestyle that live within the fair-share of the earth Iimited resources. Food should not be allowed to become a political weapon in the hand of the rich corporations, nor another means to squander earth resources and increase socia) inequality among developed and developing countries. lt must become a useful tool in building social cohesion and interactions between society's different components leading to a sustainable communities and cities.
Sustainability can also be discussed at different levels these are; the project, building sector, and global levels. The highest level deals with environmental quality such as the global warming, ozone depletion and pollution, which are arguably tied to the issue of food activities. However, there is no single strategy for sustainability. The strategy to be used depends on the objectives and levels of sustainability being envisaged. Hence the paper addresses the necessary socio cultural issues and principles that can eontribute to the creation, maintenance and sustainability of the qualitative urban environment. This in effect is to promote the conservation, rehabilitation and maintenance ofthe city.
2.2 Social networks and the sustainable question
To attain the noble ideals of sustainability, a holistic view of the existing social context must be taken into consideration. Law (1991: 9-10) argued that 'in practice nothing is purely technical and neither is anything purely social... what appears to be social i8 partly technical and what is technical is partly social'.
Therefore, social issues played significant roles in the development of the society. Need to say that much research attention has been focused on the technical aspects, with little or no concern for the non-technical or social aspect of the built environment (Saunders, 1987). Law & Callon (1992) asserts that these non-teehnical issues as soft issues are critical to the achievement of a holistic sustainable development.
This paper, however, emphasizes the importance of these socio- issues. In order to capture the essence of the social world, the natural, corporeal, technological and sociological must be understood. However, to entirely describe social changes, a range of issues must be given consideration; economic, political, technological and applied scientific research (Latour, 1987; Law, 1986;
1987; 1991). To achieve the above, Bijker (1997:47) draws up four distinct but related steps of identification, drawing up, delineation and description of "relevant social group"; (a) identifying relevant social groups that p1ayed vital roles in shaping societal interactions (b) drawing up of detail description of the identified "relevant social group"; (c) making a dear distinction between various social group, by charting new social boundaries, based on their impact and level of influences and (d) making sense of interrelated and interdependent actors, Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 345 based on their impact and relevance to the network in this case sustainable food culture in a community.