A Spatial Decision Support System Approach to a Flexible Physical Development Planning of the Obafemi Awolowo University Estate
The study assessed the present state of physical development of the Obafemi Awolowo University estate and developed a spatial decision support framework for capturing physical development on the university estate. It also provided a model for physical expansion scenarios of the university on the basis of a range of parameters including access roads, residential accommodation, lecture theaters and services spaces. This was with a view to evolving a system that could assist the physical development plans of the university to respond flexibly and effectively to unanticipated land use demand. Primary and secondary data were used for the study. The primary data were obtained from physical and geo-positional attributes of the various landuse types on the Obafemi Awolowo University estate. Sample areas of the estate were selected for ground verification of changing land utilization on the campus. Six main land use categories were defined. These are Staff quarters, students' hostels, routes, shopping facilities, lecture theatres, and water bodies. From each of the categories two sample sites were selected for verification using purposive sampling technique. The secondary data were obtained from base map and master plan of the university estate. These were scanned and georeferenced in AutoCAD Map R2 to their true ground positions using pairs of coordinates that were obtained with Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The raster maps were vectorized into different themes. The attributes of the vectorized data were created using Microsoft Access as the host Database Management System. The data sets were stored in Arcview 3.2a where basic spatial analyses such as overlaying, buffering and Digital Elevation Models (DEM) were performed. The Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) were built using Map Object LT 2 to connect stored data with Microsoft Visual Basic which were use to build the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of the SDSS. Various parameters were manipulated to test the responses of the system to different land use demands. The result showed that the physical environment of the university estate had undergone changes over the years which were largely in tune with the master plan. The area occupied by hostel facilities in 2005 had increased by about 51% of its size in 1985. This was due to new uses particularly the expansion of the banking zone and the establishment of private hostels. Furthermore, the result showed that 45.5% of the main campus was used for physical development, with residential landuse taking the largest share of 22.4%. In terms of its terrain, 20.1% of the university estate lay in the south-western direction of the north Azimuth. The results demonstrated that the application of SDSS to physical planning can make the implementation of development plans responsive to other potential uses and to different prevailing and future planning conditions in the estate. The model developed for the physical expansion scenario showed that creating a new development nucleus away from the main campus would be worthwhile if municipal facilities could be provided. The study concluded that the SDSS could facilitate integrated procedures for determining optimal sites for incremental physical development in the university estate.