The urbanisation crisis facing many countries, especially in Africa, can be effectively tackled if towns and cities stuck to detailed master plans, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka told a group of Tanzanian experts.
Saying that many urban centres had developed a laissez fairez attitude towards planning, Mrs. Tibaijuka said that with a detailed master plan, civic authorities would be able to monitor the erection of structures and all other activities carried out within their jurisdiction.
“We must incorporate the culture of planning in our towns and cities,” she said in a keynote address at a one-day seminar on the Urbanisation Crisis in Tanzania in Moshi town on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The seminar was sponsored by the UN-HABITAT’s Sustainable Cities Programme and drew some 50 participants drawn from municipalities, government departments, NGOs and other stakeholders.
If managed well, she said 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.
She hailed Moshi as a well managed municipality. “This cannot be said of most of Tanzanian towns and cities which have seen a rise in poor planning,” she said.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Mohamed Babu decried the steep increase in slums and called for measures to help stem the tide.
“Different studies have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of urban dwellers in Tanzania live in such settlements, whose main features are low quality houses, informal settlements lacking basic services like roads and water as well as poor waste management,” he said.
The Executive Director said UN-HABITAT was in the process of shifting its focus from slum upgrading to slum prevention. “We think that it would be in order to address the root causes that lead to slums,” she said.