‘Current urbanisation model unsustainable, increases insecurity’
A new report has demonstrated that the current urbanization model is unsustainable in many respects, puts many people at risk, creates unnecessary costs, negatively affects the environment, and is intrinsically unfair.
The World Cities Report ‘Urbanisation and Development- Emerging Futures’ by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of the time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion.
The growth of the world’s cities, according to the 262 page document is ingrained in a culture of short-term economic beneﬁt and often unbridled consumption and production practices that compromise the sustainability of the environment.
The document listed uncontrolled growth, privatization of public goods, lack of regulations and institutions as well as forms of collective indolence are often the key factors behind a model of urbanization that is becoming highly unsustainable.
Launching the report at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Director, Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said while rural to urban migration was inevitable, it should not be chaotic if cities are well planned to accommodate the drift whenever it occurs.
He said urbanisation includes the provision good roads, drainage systems and housing units for the teeming population. However, he lamented that many cities in the world still rely out dated modes of planning and unsustainable forms of urbanization.
The Director noted that planning regulations are often too detailed and inflexible making compliance so challenging that people tend to bypass them altogether. He further said that genuine accountability and administrative capacity to implement public polices based on accurate information entails a new urban agenda.
The UN Envoy said the New Urban Agenda should convey a sense of urgency, have a clear means of implementation, adopt a city-wide approach, propose concrete strategies and actions and be flexible to integrate regional differences.
Speaking further, he noted that cities must find a way to strengthen their finances citing London as an example of a city that has reinforced development through public private partnerships, land taxes and user charges.
The Don recommended the promotion and adoption of policies to stimulate high growth of manufacturing output which will raise shares of employment in industry; design and plan urban clusters and adopt sustainable urban plans and legislations to regulate orderly rural-urban transitions and growth of cities.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola said the event is very significant in many respects as it is part of concerted efforts of the University to promote research, to create awareness and sensitize the general public on the need for a change in order to better respond to contemporary challenges. Professor Daramola further said the event is also designed to foster collaboration between FUTA and the UN-Habitat to address some of the challenges associated with lack of adequate preparation for urbanization in Nigeria as in other countries of the world such as insecurity and increasing risk of terrorism, urban warfare, disease and pandemics.
In addition the Vice-Chancellor said the event is also designed to call attention of Government at all levels to the significant role that the report play in informing policies and actions taken by cities and their leaders to make a positive impact on housing and slums, risk reduction and basic urban services.