The Matter in Urban Governance and why it matters!

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Forward Planning! That was the call to action by Dr Konyimbih a lands expert working with the National Land Commission during his address at the Utafiti Sera Forum convening organized by Pamoja Trust with funding from PASGR under the theme of Reflections on Urban Governance in Nairobi.

In his address he asserts that if there was concerted efforts to undertake futuristic planning centred around Urban Infrastructure, Urban inclusivity and safety would lead to a reduction of the challenges faced in Urban Governance. This he refers to it as forward planning and at its centre is evidence based practise.

As advanced by William RobertAuis, “Managing cities and urban growth is one of the defining challenges of the twenty-first century.”

This challenge stems from the rapidly expanding urban populations that are burdening the already ill equipped local government to deliver services to these populations. This increase in population has led to the emergence and growth of large swaths of informal settlements and consequently expanded the informal economies that are seldom integrated into the formal urban fabric hence miss out or end up as victims of development. A redress to this challenge thus calls for forward planning.

Development in the informal settlement many a times disposes and displaces the residents’ of informal settlements more often in contravention of their social rights.

Social rights… unknown alien to most development partners! Even though it rests well in the Constitution of Kenya, development still goes without taking into consideration the development of the people themselves. Research has been done as to why the social aspect is crucial…too much of it! Challenge is…none of it is taken up during development.

To this end, our remit is that the well being of the urban poor can be improved by facilitating access to economic opportunities, supportive social networks and greater access to land, infrastructure and services. Whether and how these are available to the poor depends to a significant extent on urban governance i.e. local political processes (informal and formal); the influence of the civil society organizations representing the poor and the capacity of city government to respond.

Maximizing the potential of urban areas requires institutionalizing mechanisms of coordination, planning and accountability among diverse stakeholders.

Solution??? Policy Intervention maybe!

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