An investigation into the proliferation of informal sector activities within residential areas: Case study of Balozi Estate (South B)

Urban planning in developing countries -- particularly in urban areas that are experiencing rapid
urbanization -- is facing a problem with the informal sector. The businesses that comprise the
informal sector, typically operating on streets, road reserves and in other public places, are
often seen as eye-sores and undesirable activities. Thus, conflicts arise between urban
authorities trying to keep their cities and urban areas clean, and the urban informal sector
operators who need space for their activities.
With this background, this study seeks to investigate in to the factors that have led to the
proliferation of the ISEA. It looks at Balozi Estate as a residential urban system, highlights its
physical, spatial and institutional deficiencies, determines what benefits might be expected if
these defects are remedied and then considering the stakeholders views and perspectives,
proposes planning interventions to remedy the defects.
This study is founded on the assumption that the absence of an integrated planning approach
that accommodates commercial activities within residential areas has led to mushrooming of the
ISEA; the absence of a commercial centre within Balozi estate has led to the proliferation of
informal sector economic activities.
The rationale for this study is the fact that many scholars have looked in to the existence of
hawkers (informal trade) on the city streets but have not investigated the proliferation of informal
trade within urban residential areas, yet unplanned existence of such trade results into
malfunctioning within the residential areas.
The study begins with an investigative research to assert the needs of the traders and
households in terms of location and development standards. It continues to establish the extent
to which these needs are met in the existing trading situation. It finally establishes the planning options and interventions that can be adopted to ensure optimal functionality of such activities
within residential neighborhoods.
The study findings observe that the Informal Sector Economic Activities are inadequate in terms
of hygiene, development standards and layout, and the overall location of the trading activities.
As a result of such findings, the study provides two broad planning proposals and policy
recommendations. The study identifies the intervention of either establishing a new trading
centre or rehabilitating the existing trading area.