Re orienting urban-planning towards local agenda 21
Re-orienting Urban-Planning towards Local Agenda 21
Urban Planning• Urban planning (also known as town planning) is a technical and political process concerned with the control of the use of land and design of the urban environment, including transportation networks, to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities.• It concerns itself with research and analysis, strategic thinking, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management
Local Agenda 21• Local Agenda is a process which facilitates sustainable development at community level.• It is an approach, based on participation which respects the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of the present and future citizens of a community.• 21 stands for 21st Century.
Problems in current urban planning policiesA central goal of urban policy is to improve the living conditionsof the city dwellers. In spite of that, people are facing a decliningquality of life which is connected with environmental and socialconditions.• Poor industrial and transport planning have given birth to pollution and stress related illness.• Most urban planning systems do not effectively address sustainability, health, environmental and equity issues.• Some of the powerful organizations that affect the urban environment such as transport and energy agencies are not involved.
• Sometimes planning policy gives rise to car use and land use segregation, intensifying environmental and social problems. If sustainability is the goal, Local Agenda 21 offers a process by which municipal land use plans can be drawn up and implemented in partnership with key players in the health, economic, social and environmental spheres. This presentation aims to facilitate discussion and analysis of existing experiences and how can they be helpful in integrating LA 21 in the urban planning process and structures and suggests a practical approach that can be useful for an integrated planning process.
Predicted challenges of Urbanisation for 21st Century• The environmental challenge of climate change and cities’ dependence on fossil fuels.• The economic challenges linked to the uncertainty of future economic growth, the new doubts on market led approaches and the expanding informality of urban activities.• The challenges linked to social and spatial inequality, urban sprawl and unplanned urbanization.
Existing Urban Planning System• Planning system that has evolved has dependent on the country’s legal systems and institutional framework.• Despite the differences, planning systems have been the forefront of public efforts to manage development and protect the environment.
Three types of planning systems can be identified.• The first has a clear centralized pattern, though it may have more than one planning tier.• The second has a balanced distribution of responsibilities through the different levels.• The third has a totally decentralized system with a high degree of autonomy at the different levels. Countries are shifting their planning systemsas per their needs and are trying to implement astricter framework to avoid ad hoc decisions.
Scope and methods of urban planning generallycomprises of three functions:• Long-term strategic planning provides an integrated vision for the future based on an overall evaluation of strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.• Plan-making is “providing frameworks through development strategies and plans at different geographical scales”.• Development control includes “legal or administrative procedures operating at the local level to control the location and form of development and change of use within buildings”.
Types of plansEuropean countries have introduced different typesof plans which range from structure plans andstrategic plans to local plans.• Strategic spatial planning has emerged as a response to the limitations of Master Plans as a more suitable tool to orient urban spatial development by focusing on city-wide planning and selected priorities.• Traditional planning approaches have proven inadequate to guide urban development in a context of rapid urbanization and in the face of new urban challenges.
Strategic Spatial Planning has provided theneeded alternative since it:• Is more process oriented and contains broader spatial ideas.• Prioritizes plans according to participation and consensus building among stakeholders.• Aims to provide a spatial dimension to sectoral interventions as a means of integrating them.• Is implemented through the empowerment of different actors, as opposed to regulation and enforcement.
Analysis of traditional approaches to urban planningHistorically, master plans have played a central role in theurban planning process. This type of planning is thefundamental tool of urban development andmanagement. Nevertheless, in recent years it has been much lesseffective than it could be:• It has been severely criticized as being too complex, bureaucratic, time consuming, static and elitist.• Many of its policies can become outdated.• It does not promote public participation.• Today, there is a new emphasis on decentralization, transparency and accountability.
Agenda 21 needs to be translated into localagendas with an emphasis on the environmentaland social challenges resulting from damagepartly caused by conventional urban planning. Amore flexible, indicative and proactive type ofplanning is needed.
Improvements to be made by new policies• Sustainable Development can be defined as development which meetsthe needs of the present without compromisingthe ability of future generations to meet theirown needsHealthy cities are one of the fundamentalinclusions for the sustainable development
Local Agenda 21 is intended to translate sustainabledevelopment principles and objectives into practicalaction at the local level. Some of the major aims ofAgenda 21 include:• Reducing the amount of energy and raw materials society consumes, as well as the pollution and waste it produces;• Protecting fragile ecosystems and environments;• Bringing about a fairer distribution of wealth, both between countries and between different social groups within countries – placing a special emphasis not just on the needs but on the rights of poor and disadvantaged people.
Local Agenda 21Local Agenda 21 is part of the process of defining and articulating sustainabledevelopment considerations at a local/regional level and identifying how they can beapproached and achieved.• Many of the principles upon which Agenda 21 is founded were included in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. A number of them are reproduced below.• People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.• Development today must not undermine the development and environment needs of present and future generations.• In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process, and cannot be considered in isolation from it.• Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.• Nations shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making environmental information widely available.• Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.
Local Agenda 21 Process: A ModelEight step approach to Local Agenda 21:• Step 1: Recognise existing planning and financial frameworks as well as other plans and programmes.• Step 2: Identify systematically, through extensive public consultation, local problems and causes.• Step 3: Prioritise tasks to address these problems.• Step 4: Create a vision of what a sustainable community should be, again based upon an active participatory process.• Step 5: Consider and assess alternatives and scope other strategic options.• Step 6: Adopt a long-term local action plan which includes pre- determined targets.• Step 7: Implement the plan with appropriate allocation of responsibility to key partners.• Step 8: Monitor and evaluate on an on-going basis.
Strategic Structure Planning Strategic structure planning addresses spatial, ecological, social,economic, technical and institutional factors of urbandevelopment. It mobilizes key actors in a dynamic, continuousand consensual vision-building and policy-making process. Thisprocess runs in parallel along three tracks:• Vision: Working towards a long-term shared vision on the desirable development and structure of the city;• Action: Daily action formulation and implementation; removing obstacles which hinder progress towards the above vision;• Communication: Involving actors in planning and decision- making processes; resolving disputes between different levels of civic society.
• Prevailing planning and management practices in diverse institutional contexts show that there is often a lack of balance between the three lines of strategic structure planning.• Vision without action does not yield tangible results.• Action without vision does not address strategic long-term conditions which ensure that essential resources for a good quality urban life are available for future generations.• Vision and action without communication is deemed to fail as it does not take into consideration the aspirations of civic society as a whole.
Multi-faceted Capacity-BuildingIn Order to alleviate these constraints, capacity-building activities are integrated into thestrategic structure planning process.The capacity-building efforts are designed toachieve an equilibrium between vision, actionand communication efforts. Scope of the maincapacity-building components is describedbelow.
• Consultation: The local authority is encouraged to broaden strategy development by conducting broad based consultation processes to reach consensus on priority areas for action.• Action research: Applied research into specific urban issues and exploration of solutions helps to develop strategies and increases the range of implementation options.• Developing tools: Improving planning and management practice through the development of tools to support the implementation of pilot action plans.• Encouraging partnerships: Showing the municipalities the advantages of working in partnership with other interested urban actors to enhance the impact of environmental planning and management activities.• Human resources development: Targeted group training is organized for key actors, often through national institutions for local government training.• Institutional strengthening: While programme operations are fully integrated within local government or council operations, institutional change is supported through sensitization at the appropriate levels when there is sufficient justification.• Leveraging of resources: Action plans are implemented through technical and financial support from a wide range of partners. An important way of leveraging resources is to scrutinize the municipal finances and adopt measures for strategic and equitable revenue collection and expenditure control.• Dissemination and exchange: Starting from local experiences, policy dialogue is promoted through exchange. Dissemination is directed to other cities facing similar problems but also to national institutions.
Case Study• Nakuru, Kenya• Nakuru is a rapidly growing urban centre with a diverse economic base. Particular environmental concerns are caused by the interrelation between human settlements• The Lake Nakuru National Park. Lack of investment and maintenance in urban infrastructure since the end of the 1970s has led to a dramatic reduction in the standards of urban services. This situation is aggravated by a lack of municipal autonomy in planning and management of its own affairs and by inadequate human, technical and financial resources.
The key thematic action areas in Nakuru include the following:• The council’s responsibility in urban planning has been limited to approving sub-division plans. A strategic structure plan is now being developed jointly by the local and central government, university departments and environmental groups, leading to the creation of a town planning unit to reinforce the council’s planning capability.• Space use conflicts at the bus park and market area lead to congestion, environmental degradation and loss of revenue for the council. Stakeholder meetings were held to resolve conflicts in the short term and to work out a long-term plan for a more efficient utilization and integration of this area as part of a municipal transport policy.• The council’s rental housing stock is a liability because of its irrational rent structure, lack of maintenance and environmental deterioration. Detailed revitalization proposals have been formulated for three estates and a pilot project for upgrading one of these estates is underway.• Uncollected solid waste in poorly serviced areas of the city results in blocked drains and health hazards. Alternative options for community assisted removal of solid waste have been implemented through the construction of refuse transfer chambers and a task force has been set up to map out an area based waste management policy.
• Unsatisfactory collection of municipal revenues has compromised the implementation of urgently needed environmental infrastructure projects. An action plan for rationalizing the collection of council revenues and for more equitable prices for housing, water, markets, solid waste and property rates is being implemented.• Lack of structured collaboration between the council and community groups is addressed through the setting up of zonal development committees which advise the council. Meanwhile, efforts are made to train elected officials to better undertake their leadership responsibilities and to make them more aware of their role as environmental guardians.• An innovative inter-municipal partnership with the municipality of Leuven has resulted in an exhibition on Nakuru, sensitization campaigns about urban development challenges in the North and South, and joint implementation of various projects.