Challenges for Transport and Public Services
Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Roberto Patuelli and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho
Chapter 6: Efficiency and equity indicators to evaluate different patterns of accessibility to public services: an application to Huambo, Angola
The spatial allocation of public services – provided by the state, by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or by the private sector – is an important issue, very much related to a broad concept of accessibility that involves economic growth, access to work, education and healthcare, and guarantees of sustainability and local planning (Kilby and Smith 2012). The allocation of public services is justified not only by the tension between territorial cohesion and efficient use of public funds, but also by the long-term implications for migration patterns and cumulative effects on urban growth and hierarchies generated by the spatial allocation of public services. This is more so in developing countries in which rural areas are very much characterized by subsistence economies, sometimes dependent on funds transferred from central governments that control the rents of territorial natural resources. The urban hierarchy of the allocation of public services and the related design of infrastructural networks also exert a strong pressure on migration and urbanization, generating slums in major urban areas and desertification in detached rural zones. Although the importance of investment in urban areas in developing countries is recognized, the concentration of public spending in urban areas reinforces migration into those areas, creating spatial disequilibrium; this is because, as stressed by Paul Krugman (1995), the growth of some African cities is promoted by the allocation of public spending which generates cumulative processes of public spending, migration, urban slums and more public spending.
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