As a side event to its 24th Governing Council, UN-Habitat organised a workshop on April 13th 2013 at the United Nations' Offices in Nairobi (Kenya), discussing the use of a new generation of National Urban Policies (NUP) towards socio-economic growth and Sustainable Development.
National Urban Policies were presented as a cornerstone tool to accompany rapid urban transitions in urbanising countries and as a means to guide urban territorial development towards compact, connected, integrated and inclusive cities.
Gathering delegates from 12 fast-urbanising Sub-Saharan African countries, also from Cities Alliance, GiZ and KfW, and led by four international experts from Australia, Colombia, South Korea and South Africa, the workshop discussed the benefits of well planned urban systems .
Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat's Executive Director singularly expressed the need to follow certain steps to well-planned cities: "Good street patterns and legal delimitations regarding what is buildable and non-buildable is inexpensive, fosters an efficient urban system and will stand forever".
The speakers complemented this vision by presenting differentiated case studies, about the application of national urban and territorial policies. Four cases were shared from Australia (implementing a NUP within a Federal system), Colombia (preparing national spatial economic planning in regions with scarce data), South Africa (seeking to rectify legacies of space-based ethnic and economic polarisation) and South Korea (presenting 40 years of efficient national territorial planning, based on industrial development).
The afternoon session served as a discussion platform for UN-Habitat's work framework on NUP. Delegates expressed what they consider critical for the efficient implementation of long-term national urban policies, including a good understanding of drivers of urbanisation, the urban-rural linkages, the need for anchored participatory planning and the need to link urbanisation directly to economic growth, poverty alleviation and reduction of inequalities.