, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – The United Nations Human Settlements Programme UN-Habitat has set aside Sh605 million ($7 million) to work with counties in urban planning development in 2014.
The UN Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos says that they are already working with Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa counties in urban planning.
“We are working with the Nairobi county government on public urban spaces development, as well as urban planning in Mombasa and Kisumu counties,” Clos said.
He added that urban planning is very important as urban dwellers are set to double in a few years.
“We are also looking to work with other counties,” he said.
He asked the government to develop a national urban policy that will retain people in intermediate cities as demand for urban settlement it set to increase.
“If we do not plan our cities well, we will remain with very many informal settlements, we need to have good urban planning that will offer public space and buildable plots,” he explained.
He said that 20 percent of land should be used as public spaces while 30 percent of land should be used for road patterns the rest 50 percent should be left as buildable land.
“However in Sub- Saharan Africa only 10 percent is used for roads, the rest is just used as buildable land; this has increased informal settlements,” he said.
Clos added that the government should also focus on providing affordable housing to Kenya’s citizens to address the demand for housing that is likely to boom in the coming years.
He was speaking at the Kenya Properties Developers Association stakeholder’s forum where he also urged developers to incorporate green technologies in their projects.
The UN Habitat and the KPDA signed an MOU that will see them train and share information on the adoption of green technologies in property development as well as urban planning.
KPDA Chief Executive officer Robyn Emerson said that she is lobbying the government to have it mandatory for all developers to put in green technologies in their properties.
“Green technology is much cheaper and friendlier to the environment, we need to look at these issues,” Emerson said.