- Does the Greater Port Harcourt Master Plan 2008 Meet Aspirations for Liveable City?    click here to open paper content742 kb
by    Ede, Precious & Owei, Opuenebo & Akarolo, Chimbiko | precious_ede2002@yahoo.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria has a population of 1.8 million people. Recently a firm was contracted to design a new city in its outskirts. The new plan is examined here to see if it has credentials that meet aspirations for modern liveable cities.
The city of Port Harcourt, the petroleum hub of Nigeria, with 1.8 million people is the fourth largest city in Nigeria after Lagos, Ibadan and Kano. Its remarkable growth of over 4.5 per cent annually has forced it to sprawl several times beyond the original city landmass. In 2007 the government of Rivers State, Nigeria contracted a South African firm to design a master plan for a new city called Greater Port Harcourt to be situated in the outskirts of the old city. The Greater Port Harcourt Master Plan 2008 is here examined in the context of current thinking as to whether it has credentials that meet aspirations for modern liveable cities.
The new city plan assumes that Port Harcourt will continue to grow at its current rate and therefore, there is the need to respond pro-actively to the reality of meeting this challenge. The infrastructure to be provided must be sustainable, that is, there should be continuity of effective service delivery by operators, by way of infrastructural renewal, upgrading and expansion to cope with the city growth. Provision of services will be private sector driven, while government is politically ready to amend laws, regulations and policies to create an enabling environment for private sector to thrive in driving the development initiatives. The plan provides a long-term vision for the city based on sustainability: social, economic and political equity. It recognizes the intrinsic value of biodiversity and natural ecosystems in the new sites that may require preservation of restoration in the particularly in the wetlands. There is a system to empower people and foster participation. Sustainability is hinged on continual improvement based on accountability transparency and good governance.
The master plan aims at a development that positively encourages the creation of a mixed community of 100,000 inhabitants, initially. It will embrace high quality design for residential, commercial and industrial areas that is also in keeping with architectural styles of existing immediate communities. The design promotes sustainable modes of transport through innovative approaches to an efficient, safe and inexpensive public transport infrastructure, and secure pedestrian access between residential areas and places of work, retail and commercial services. The energy infrastructure utilizes the natural resources in the region such as natural gas for powering turbines and providing domestic fuel, and solar power. Open spaces, sports and recreational grounds are integral part of the plan. Governance is exercised by an independent agency whose administrative and emolument structure are different from that of government.
We can only wait for the new city to take off and the lofty ideas expressed in the master plan to be implemented before we draw the right conclusions.
Greater Port Harcourt Master Plan, liveable cities.
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