UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos has said that the agency would be willing to extend its rich pool of expertise to the city of Kampala to help it grapple with urbanization challenges.
Speaking in Kampala where he held talks with the bcioty authorities, Dr. Clos said that although UN-Habitat did not give direct funding, it had a tradition city authorities on how to develop. He stressed on the importance of planning and explained to the officials the importance of doing so.
"The most important part of urban planning is the layout of the street pattern. The ideal situation is where 30 percent of the total land space is allocated to streets", he said when he met the Executive Director of the Kampala Capital City Authority Ms. Jennifer Semakula Musisi and her chief officers in the city on Wednesday.
Cities must be creative, Dr. Clos reiterated adding that well planned and compact cities had the ability to generate jobs. "The other issue is that the design of the space must be of good quality," he said. He told the executive director and her officials that the city should explore the possibility of embarking on land readjustment legislation, a trend he disclosed was being followed by some 32 countries globally.
Ms. Musisi and her officers listed the challenges facing them as including mobility where they said transportation was causing them headaches. The city was looking into a paradigm shift where concentration would be in seeking solutions to problems facing pedestrians and cyclists, the chief officers told Dr. Clos.
The city also faced the problem of providing adequate housing to the resident as well as addressing the ever persistent problem of growing slums. The city had never before embarked on a deliberate move to improve slums, they said.
In a seprate meeting with the Lord Mayor of Kampala Elias Lukwago, the civic leader explained the system of the local authority under which there are several mayors with him at the apex as the head.
Mr. Lukwago said decentralization and planning were the major challenges facing the city. "Ours is a very vibrant city but we have these challenges which we must address urgently. Another problem is that of housing whereby even if they are available most of the habitations are very congested," he said.
Dr. Clos said UN-Habitat would be willing to step in with expertise and help the city address the urbanization challenges. "It would be interesting to find out why urbanization is not going on as it is supposed to be", he said.
UN-Habitat has a lot of ideas which we would be more than glad to share with you," the Executive Director said.