Gambian Compounds: Their Role, Significance and Influence on Planning
Peri-urban compounds were examined in order to gain an understanding of the potential role, significance and influence this group of settlement units, might have on planning in The Gambia, West Africa. Solutions to planning issues arise from a variety of sources and the investigation of an urban area in a developing country was thought of as an area of study that would provide the opportunity to learn about the differences and similarities that exist between 'developing' and 'developed' countries. Planning problems and solutions have a global component. The relationship between the compound and its urban setting, i.e the relationship between form and context, was examined and various compound functions were identified which resulted from the interaction of human activity with the compound. Some of the compound functions included shelter, food production and disposal, security, community and family relationships. The degree of 'fit and mis-fit' of form to context, i.e. of compound to urban setting, was viewed through a group of variables which include availability of land, infrastructure, number of individuals and environment. These variables assisted in the identification of a list of compound qualities. Qualities result from the interaction of the compound with its surrounding urban setting. The qualities provide an understanding of the compound and an indication of its potential role in planning.