Neglected Urban Green Spaces: A Tool To Foster Community Interactions And Integration In Owerri Urban
The need for community interaction and integration among urban residents is still an important factor in the environmental sustainability of urban life in Owerri. Issues of social dynamics make it imperative that any enduring development should be done through an inclusive and participatory process. A well-balanced urban environment can enhance living conditions and the quality of life of urban residents. The pressures of urban life often make it difficult for the residents to find the time for community interactions. Urban schemes and developments in the urban area have pressured out places that could be developed into places for community interactions and have grossly reduced opportunities for interactions among urban residents. Planning authorities have created green spaces within neighbourhoods and layouts in order to enhance the urban environment. However, these spaces have become neglected, misused and negate the urban environment. The study was to find out how the neglected green spaces could be used to ameliorate fractured community interactions in Owerri Urban. The study of these spaces reveals that they could also be integrated into the urban environment as places for community interaction and integration. The study was a survey research using questionnaires administered on residents of some selected layouts in Owerri. Obtained data was analysed using the frequency distribution and the Spearman Rho correlation statistical tools. Findings reveal that if these spaces are integrated into the neighbourhoods, they would serve as community spaces that could enhance community interactions and integrations, hence would improve quality of life of the urban residents. This paper makes a case for more efforts to be made in enhancing community interaction and integration in the layouts in Owerri urban.