Against the background of the contribution of the informal sector and/or land use to the urbanization process of the developing economies, especially in Africa, this paper examines the spatial distribution and environmental pollution implications of automobile workshops, as an important informal land use in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Inventory of the locations of the workshops was done, and air, water and soil samples were taken from six of the workshops selected from different density areas of the town for tests on the presence and concentrations of pollutants, and the results compared with appropriate standards. The spatial distribution of the workshops was observably non-random, but have some environmental implications, noted especially in water samples (with concentrations of heavy metals such as lead and zinc higher than permissible levels) and air samples (with gaseous pollutants such as CO and CO2, among others, beyond permissible levels). The paper, however observes that the operators of the informal activity are responsible household heads with an average income higher than the national minimum wage, capable of contributing meaningfully to the urban and national economy. It is therefore recommended that the land use activity be integrated into the formal economy and land use planning by easing the required processes of establishing, registering, and operating the business outfits through implementation of relevant people-friendly policies. This, the paper argues, would also necessitate further studies on different other dimensions of formalizing the land use.
Key words: Informal land use, integration, urban planning.
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