1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Urban Infrastructures are the pillars and backbone of cities, provisioning mobility, lodging, energy, potable water, sanitation, and communications. Infrastructure plays a pivotal role in any development, because without it development will not occur (Porter, 2010). Urban infrastructure is often in the foreground when we discuss about city development and the quality of life of the urbanites. Good quality and sufficient infrastructure are vital elements of prosperity of any nation. In the absence of urban infrastructure, land has little potential for residential, commercial, industrial and other kinds of land uses. Urban Infrastructure plays a salient role in shaping urban space, determining where inhabitants live, work and create wealth; how they move; and how they exchange or sell their goods. The influence of urban infrastructure on city development, function, management, and growth over the short, medium, and long time has been frequently emphasized (see, for example, Azizi, 2015; Boyle et al., 2010; Ausbel & Herman, 2010; Cotton & Franceys, 2014; Seitz, 2015; Seitz & Licht, 2014). Lack of urban infrastructure is a good catalyst for squatter formation and worsening housing conditions in urban districts. In other words, the presence or absence of these essential facilities is one major difference between a slum dweller and a non-slum dweller areas (Otegbulu & Adewunmi, 2009). To this end, it is important to provide adequate infrastructure to inhabitants, especially in the housing area. In line of this, Abrams (2016) points out that housing is not just shelter; it depends upon many facets of economic activity, industrialization, and urban infrastructure development. Urban infrastructure can affect growth through many channels (Agénor & Moreno-Dodson, 2010). For instance, one percent increase in infrastructure stock result in one per cent increase in Gross Domestic Product (World Bank, 2014). In addition to its function of raising the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), infrastructure contributes to the welfare of households and quality of life (Kessides, 2014; Sanford Bernhardt &McNeil, 2013). Moreover, there is an undeniable relation between provision of urban infrastructure and social justice. In confirmation of this notion, Calderón and Servén (2010) point out that increasing the quantity and quality of infrastructure results in reducing social inequality. Urban infrastructure systems are interconnect facilities, including public utilities (power, piped gas, telecommunications, water supply, sanitation and sewerage, and solid waste management), municipal works (roads and drainage) and transport sectors (public transit, ports and airports). The term infrastructure, which is defined as “the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization)” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2014) implies systems which are highly interconnected and mutually dependent in complex ways, both physically and through a host of information and communications technologies (Rinaldi et al., 2013). In the other words, what happens to one of urban infrastructure systems can directly and indirectly influence other infrastructures, influencing large district of cities. Therefore, to achieve sustainable urban street infrastructure, those involved in the urban infrastructure provision, must consider the functionality of the urban street infrastructure systems (Engel-Yan et al., 2011). The performance of urban infrastructures constitutes a major determinant of economic benefits which require efficient and continuous allocation of resources in response to the demand for such services. Poor functioning of our urban infrastructure portrays Nigeria as being more interested in initiating and embarking on projects, without making provision for effective operation of such equipment and facilities to perform the functions they were established for. There are indications that many existing infrastructure requires refurbishment and additional capacity is needed to match urban demand. Therefore, there is need to examine the assessment of urban street infrastructure functionality of public space in Akure.
In Nigeria, urban infrastructural provision, like developments in other sectors of the economy, is decided on the spur of the moment without conviction that their future expansion and sustainability are guaranteed. This is because maintenance projects get little or no matching grants, while new construction gets generous treatment with substantive grants [Gramlich, E. M. 2014]. Routine infrastructure maintenance is not reflected in the budgetary or revenue allocation process in Nigeria, although it is by far the most cost effective spending strategy. Infrastructure plays an important role in the development of urban society to an extent that the level and standard of the society can be inferred from the functionality of existing urban infrastructure. The challenges remained the assessment of urban street infrastructure functionality of public space in Akure.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine assessment of urban street infrastructure functionality of public space in Akure. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The study would be of benefit to unveil problem in the areas of urban infrastructure functionality of public space in Akure, as well as to proffer recommendations that would benefit both the government and residents in their quest for functional urban infrastructure. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to assessment of urban street infrastructure functionality of public space in Akure.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Infrastructure: Is a network of interrelated basic facilities and services that provides an adequate environment for human living. Acity infrastructure is a system of connected utilities, basic facilities, and services of that city, from the smallest units of the community(houses) to the significant city structures and buildings that render services such as electricity, sewage and sewerage and water supply.
Urban: An urban area or urban agglomeration, is a human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, towns, conurbations or suburbs.
Public space: A public space refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all peoples, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. These are public gathering spaces such as plazas, squares and parks.
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