1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Urban areas are the engines of economic growth as well as location for complex network of activities essential to basin human function of living and working (Mattingly, 1995). The lure of employment and the perception of improved quality of life in the cities are major socio-economic pull factors (Harris & Todaro, 1970; World Bank, 2007).
The huge increase in urban population amounts to a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in urban shelter provision, space for commerce and industry, quality health care and a conducive environment. Every year, the world’s urban population is increasing by about 70million, equivalent to seven new mega-cities. These people need to be provided with shelter, employment and urban services. People deserve the right to enjoy a living space that is clean and maintained making it easy to agree that the clean-up of urban areas is essential to building a lasting community. The way an area looks has an impact on who moves there, how long they stay, and ultimately decides the future of that neighborhood. Picking up trash, maintaining the landscape, and the demolition of abandoned buildings could inspire residents to work together to rebuild their community. For neighborhoods that have lost their appeal as destinations of choice, a community clean up may be what is needed in order to revitalize the area. (September 5, 2013 by Malcolm Johnson).
Urban beautification starts by identifying the cosmetic changes that can be made in a specific neighborhood then working with the residents to make community improvements. Organizing specific days for residents to pick up trash or to engage in some sort of area refurbishment is crucial to creating a better place to live. Furthermore, public officials share part of this responsibility as well, and should make policy initiatives to improve the regions they represent. By putting in place programs to repair streets, sidewalks, and demolish abandoned buildings, policy makers can contribute to rebuilding a community. In order to make sure an area that has been rehabbed remains in the best condition, lawmakers also have a duty to enforce ordinances that will ensure the maintenance and cleanliness of a neighborhood.
In addition to gaining a nicer living space, beautification may cause residents to have an increased sense of pride in where they live. While there is no quick fix to the many problems that are present in urban areas, a person who lives in a clean environment may be more optimistic about the future. Living in a place that is constantly improving might just inspire individuals to do the same within themselves. The Neighborhood Beautification Program was designed to engage communities to beautify underutilized spaces in each of the City’s wards. This program complements the City’s increased efforts to clean and revitalize overlooked City owned spaces.
Urban areas in the developing world are under constant pressure of a growing population. Cities, metropolis and mega cities are now emerging as centers of domestic and international investments in an era of economic reforms, liberalization and globalization. This has created opportunities for technologists and planning professionals to guide and develop the process of planned development and monument. One of the main objectives of town planning is creation a conducive environment that is functional, efficient and visually satisfying for living, working, recreation and worship. However, many of today’s urban structures were never planned, for instance, Ibadan city, was built at a time when planning awareness was substantially different from today.
According to Agbola (1987:89), Ibadan as a city was either not planned successfully or not planned at all. A large part of the city seems to be unplanned and dominated by the trading activities. Those who engaged in trading activities occupy an open spaces or shops along major roads in other to display their goods. Sometimes they cover front of a residential building along the road to shops while some other cases, the traders display goods very close to the road setbacks. For those who occupy open spaces, container, umbrellas serves as their shops in which they display their goods. In other words, standard for physical development in Oyo state are easily flouted and usually “there is no approval for change of use of open sites for utilities and services” (Agbola 2009).
Urban beautification refers to a program that protects and seeks to restore the beauty inherent in a targeted environment, in this case of urban center. Most developing countries in the world engage in urban beautification of cities whose state has deteriorated or decayed, in order to enhance the quality of the environment and for the purpose of bringing out nature’s beauty. There are various forms of urban beautification, among which are creation of car parks, the provision of proper refuse dump for dirt in order to avoid littering, construction of bridges to enhance transportation, construction of walkways, sculpture decoration, ornamentation and greening of the environment and many more. The underlying purpose of carrying out these projects are to give a face-lift to parts of the cities, that is, development and to make the immediate environment attractive for investors, among others (Bilgili BC and Gokyer E 2012).
In the case of Nigeria, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), that was ruling some state of the federation then before changing to All Progressive Congress (APC) in the last general election of 2015, was carrying out beautification projects as part of its political agenda. This is to bring about a face lift to the states they govern, in terms of planting greens (flowers, trees) and expanding old major roads to enhance movement in the respective states and the country.
Therefore, these two forms of urban beautification are of paramount importance to the present study on Ibadan urban. However, just a few portion of the state capital was covered.In the case of Ibadan region, that is, the pattern of urban beautification differs in the entire metropolis. Places like Eleyele, Onireke, Aleshiloye, Gate, uch, Mokola, Challenge are more of road expansion project, then, Ring-Road, Gate, Dugbe, Bodija, Toll Gate and Akinyemi that features the planting of greens.
Whatever the case, before any form of beautification could be implemented, certain structures would have been demolished. Consequently, social and economic activities would have been impacted negatively among others. Therefore, containers, kiosks or any other structure that are built in open spaces close to the road were subject to demolition. In Ibadan urban, more than 400 structures, including residential buildings that encroached on roads and illegal structures built by dwellers and traders were demolished in designated commercial parts of the city.The presence study is therefore to verify the perception of Ibadan metropolis dwellers on urban beautification programmes in Ibadan metropolis.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
There are many problems facing most urban centers, among which are the growth of illegal unauthorized structures; that is structures that flout principle of the standard offset backs to roads, high tension power-lines and unauthorized conversion of approved use of land to different use(s) that’s encroached on open spaces. These are compounded by growing population size and increase of social and economic activities. Ibadan metropolis, as a commercial nerve center of Nigeria and as an area experiencing high rate of urbanization is lacking in terms of adequate physical layout and planning. In the recent past, Ibadan was classified as one of the dirtiest cities in the world, due to the shabby environmental situation of the largest city, south of the Sahara. (Kumuyi 2005).
However, Oyo state Government took interest in urban beautification in order to transform the city into a better shape. This resulted in the demolition of illegal structures along selected road. The spilt-over effect is the displacement of traders that occupied the illegal shops and spaces along the roads. The present study is therefore to examine the forms of urban beautification that are implemented in Ibadan urban and the way the dwellers perceived it. These are examined in terms of changes in the rate of security, road accessibility, loss of buildings/shops, damaged acquired by individuals to the city.