Management with the People : An Enabling Approach to Neighbourhood Road Infrastructure Management in Kampala City

Abstract: Rapid urbanization occurring in many developing countries coupled with the constraints they arefacing, has affected road infrastructure service delivery by public authorities charged withmanaging them. In Kampala City’s mixed income neighbourhood areas that have a disparitybetween neighbourhood community members, inadequate neighbourhood road management byKampala City Council who are charged with managing these roads has led to neighbourhoodroads that are in a poor state of disrepair, and do not meet many of the needs of their users. Anumber of interventions have been attempted to improve service delivery with limited success.Given this background, a modified or different approach to the management of neighbourhoodroads may be needed if the neighbourhood roads are to be able to meet the needs of their users.Opportunities exist within the neighbourhoods and their external environment that may be ableto enhance neighbourhood road management.The neighbourhood community might be able to participate in the management of theirneighbourhood roads, enabling them to meet the needs of their users. There is a lack ofknowledge about community participation, and how the neighbourhood community couldparticipate in the management of neighbourhood roads that might not be a priority to some ofthem, given their other needs. The community participation process is unclear to theneighbourhood community and to the public authorities.The main objective of this research study was to produce knowledge that shows how themanagement of neighbourhood roads in Kampala can be improved through participation, andthus better meet the needs and wants of its users.The Case Study Method was used to undertake the research, with neighbourhood areas beingpurposefully selected in Kampala City. In the selected neighbourhood areas, which were locatedon both public and private land, some members of the neighbourhood community hadattempted to participate in the improvement of their neighbourhood roads in a manner that didnot meet the needs of their users. Different data collection methods that included a review ofliterature and official records, a survey, interviews, focus group discussions, and observation,were utilized.The results of the thesis reveal that community participation could be used in the management ofneighbourhood roads in neighbourhoods such as those found in Kampala City i.e. with a socialand economic disparity between neighbourhood community members, to meet the needs ofsome of their users given the constraints that exist in the neighbourhoods. This would call for anenabling environment, the enhancement of the sense of community, an approach that meets theneeds of community members with other priorities, and the use of components of the enablingstrategy. This can be done with support from other stakeholders. The neighbourhood communityand the other stakeholders with a role to play in the management of the neighbourhood roads atneighbourhood, city or national level, need to understand their roles in the process and togenuinely support the activity. Factors that enhance and affect community participation that canbe utilized and mitigated exist in the neighbourhood and in its external environment. Acommunity participation process that allows for flexibility, and the roles of the differentstakeholders involved in the management of the neighbourhood roads are outlined. An enablingcommunity participation model for the management of neighbourhood roads was subsequentlydeveloped.The findings will contribute to the ability of the neighbourhood community to participate in themanagement of their neighbourhood roads in Kampala city’s neighbourhoods, although furtherresearch from different disciplines will be needed to add to it.City authorities in Kampala should manage the neighbourhood roads using a two-prongedapproach that would utilise both the provider model and the supporter model that would involvea partnership between the city and the community, if neighbourhood roads in the city are to bemanaged effectively to meet the needs of their users.

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