Faced with many constraints, the infrastructure provider - Kampala City Council, is failing to manage the neighbourhood roads in Kampala City. Many of them are therefore in a poor state of disrepair. This is evidenced by; the potholes that can be seen in many of them, the poor storm water drains, the lack of clearly defined pedestrian walkways, etc. This affects the comfort and the convenience of vehicular and pedestrian users, from inside and outside the neighbourhood, especially during the rainy seasons. To attempt to improve the management of these neighbourhood roads, and their actual state, it is important to look at the way the neighbourhood roads are used. This paper looks at neighbourhood roads found in neighbourhood areas, in Uganda's capital city Kampala that is urbanising rapidly. The development of the theoretical framework is still ongoing. However this research identifies with a number of theoretical fields that will be utilised in this study. The first is the management of neighbourhood road infrastructure, the second is the neighbourhood roads and their use, and the third is the actors/agents of change. In each of these theoretical frameworks, relevant concepts will be identified. Included in the theories of urban management will be the concepts of: urban governance, participation and self-help. Others concepts used will include place attachment by residents and other users, social cohesion by members of the community, and home based enterprises that serve road users. Not much research has been done that combines the three aspects described above, or that looks at the neighbourhood road from a wider perspective. Neighbourhood roads are looked at as a distinct technical element of the actual neighbourhood that enables people to move from one place to another. However the relationship between the road and the neighbourhood's people is not taken into consideration. The neighbourhood road is mainly seen as a transit conduit. However is that all it is used for? What does the neighbourhood road do for the local people who live along it or off it, and to others who use it? What potential improvements can be identified to improve it The neighbourhood roads in Kampala city need to be looked at with a wider perspective, for it is used for many more activities, other than as a transit route. Case Study Methodology: As part of an ongoing PHD research study, a case study of a selected road located within Kansanga in Makindye division, which is a mixed income neighbourhood of Kampala City, is being undertaken to show how the road is used, and how people living along and off it, relate to it. This case was chosen because it is information rich, and will be able to show how different income groups use and relate to the neighbourhood road. Preliminary results from the case study confirmed that in addition to being used as a transit conduit, the neighbourhood road is used for many more activities that include trade, social activities, etc. Facilities for trade that can be found along neighbourhood roads include groceries, fruit and vegetable stalls, charcoal stalls, bars, etc. The identified uses of the neighbourhood road, involve many stakeholders, some of who depend on it. However while the road is a means of livelihood to some, to others it is an insecure boundary to their properties. They use it to as a means of getting to a place where they feel secure and seclude themselves from it using boundary walls, gates, etc, as they try to protect themselves from crime. Preliminary results also highlighted the poor state of the neighbourhood road that will need to be improved, to make it comfortable and convenient for all its many users. It is therefore in their common interest to improve it. With this wider definition of the neighbourhood road and what it is used for, a wider group of stakeholders can be identified. From this it follows that new opportunities for improving the management and the maintenance of the neighbourhood road can be found. Some of the stakeholders identified, may be able to contribute to the improvement of the road, or they may be potential managers of the neighbourhood road, complementing or supplementing Kampala City Council in its role, if their needs can be met .The creation of community organisations and the involvement of the community in improving the neighbourhood roads, could also contribute to the development of a sense of community in the neighbourhood, which may lead to a safer neighbourhood. Thus looking at the road through a wider perspective should provide knowledge that could contribute to the improved management and the overall improvement of neighbourhood roads in Kampala city.
The 19th IAPS Conference. Alexandria, Egypt. 11-16 September, 2006