COMMUNITY SQUARES; CONFLUENCE OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL URBAN LANDSCAPE IN OWERRI CAPITAL TERRITORY,IMO STATE,NIGERIA

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Community squares are not only ancient but public open spaces transmitted from generation to generation The historiology of the community squares therefore gives  culture of the people in graphic artistic forms.

The inclusiveness of the squares is not only embedded  in African communal life of extended family system  but embodies physical elements of mixed residential houses, green areas, agriculture, socio-economic, cultural and environmental life of the people printed in physical terms but gradually being lost through formal planning. In order to preserve them, the paper therefore proposes  their integration as a convergence of old and new, formal and informal planning elements in the emerging Owerri Capital Territory.

This was done by examining the conditions and  values of community squares. The research found out there was positive effect of community squares on location, socio-economic and socio-cultural activities of the people. Relevant questions were raised with appropriate hypotheses developed, data were collected using questionnaires, Geographic Positioning System, GPS, Geographic Information System, GIS, visits, interviews and analysed.

It was found that the traditional community squares has positive effects on the life of the people, therefore  convergence of formal and informal planning  that could improve the  life of the people from generation to generation. It identified some planning components that shaped the built environment over the years as a healthy pointer to modern urbanism, It therefore concludes that planning is not only interdisciplinary but multicultural and advocates the integration of community squares in Owerri Capital Territory into emerging urban morphology as a means of not only greening the capital territory but enhancing the life of the people. It also highlights the contribution of traditional community squares to planning  as convergence of formal and informal, history and modernity that could  enrich the pedagogy  of planning and architecture.

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