Planners seek urban systems reform, adoption of structure plans
Planners have clamoured for urban systems reform and adaptable frameworks such as structure and area plans, which would replace inflexible master plans and decentralised land management, as well as improve zoning codes.
They also called for policy reforms that ensure transparent systems for land ownership and better coordination within public entities to improve service provision.
They made the call at the yearly general meeting of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) entitled: “Fostering Urban Sustainability and Development Through effective Town Planning Service Delivery in Nigeria: The Role of Town Planning Consultants.”
Leading the call, a past president of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Kabir Yari, said: “To capitalise on economies of scale and promote job creation, Nigeria must reform its urban systems. Failure to do so undermines the potential of cities to drive growth and expand small businesses.
He explained that incompetent municipal or metropolitan authorities’ outdated and inflexible master plans are hindering the planned expansion of urban areas. “Weak institutions and insufficient coordination between public entities cause inefficient development and increased service provision costs. For instance, lbadan has an urban plan that has not been implemented,” he said.
Yari said with the current knowledge and sophistication of indigenous town planning consultants, the sky’s the limit for them to contribute to the nation’s sustainable urban development and urban sustainability. He advised consultants to be multi-professional and invest in Information Communication Technology tools and equipment, as well as form a consortium of two or more firms to handle big and complex projects.
He noted that coordinating units at the metropolitan level would facilitate knowledge sharing, create integrated transportation plans, local land development and infrastructure, and provide essential urban services to informal areas that lack basic amenities.
He said the contributions of town planning consultants are pivotal in shaping the future of our cities and ensuring their sustainability.
Yari further challenged them to be mindful of other roles that include providing consultancy services for implementing physical development plans, capital investment plans, training, and developing human resources.
Past president, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) Muyiwa Adelu, said as consultants, how the cities and urban centres are sustained is imperative.
He charged practitioners to prioritise how to improve town planning service delivery in Nigeria, as well as ponder on what has been left undone that are making their services questionable by other professionals.
Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) President, Nathaniel Atebije, represented by Dr. Moses Ogunleye, said the association has become a veritable tool to the institute, and pledged its continuous support.
He encouraged members to be diligent in practice to earn respect of the public and practice with a high level of integrity to move the association forward.
MEANWHILE, ATOPCON has elected Bisi Adedire as its new president. In his acceptance speech, he promised to ensure the continuity and sustenance of existing planning companies, as well as open doors for more firms to join the association.
The Oyo State Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Olusegun Olayiwola, said while cities have continued to serve as centres of creativity, scientific research, economic growth, and innovation; they are at the same time a source of complex challenges.
He said the state government is determined to partner with corporate organisations such as ATOPCON to proffer lasting solutions to environmental issues confronting Ibadan, as the city was named by UN as one of the fastest growing city in Africa, following its rapid urbanisation, population explosion and non-corresponding sustainable development structures.
“We clamour for public private participation, collaboration and knowledge sharing that encompasses all areas of action and decision-making. Professional and policy making body is required to create opportunities of meaningful participation in decision-making between the government and the targeted communities,” he said.
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