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Master planning crucial for slum-free urbanization

Master planning crucial for slum-free urbanization, says UN agency chief

Aiming to prevent the proliferation of slums, the head of the United Nations Human Settlements agency has said that the urbanization crisis facing many countries, especially in Africa, can be effectively tackled if towns and cities stuck to detailed master plans.

“We must incorporate the culture of planning in our towns and cities,” UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka told a group of Tanzanian experts in a keynote address at a one-day seminar on the Urbanization Crisis in Tanzania in Moshi town on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Noting that many urban centres had developed a passive attitude towards planning, Ms. Tibaijuka said that with a detailed master plan, civic authorities would be able to monitor construction and related activities carried out within their jurisdiction.

The seminar was sponsored by the UN-HABITAT’s Sustainable Cities Programme and drew some 50 participants drawn from municipalities, government departments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders.

If managed well, urbanisation would work for the local people by creating decent jobs and decent shelter for the urban poor stranded in the slums and squatter settlements surrounding cities and towns of Africa, Ms. Tibaijuka said, calling for efforts to “address the root causes that lead to slums.”

She added that UN-HABITAT is shifting its focus from improving conditions in slums to preventing them altogether.

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