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Town planners push for green building policies

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National President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lekwa Ezutah

Flustered by the adverse effect of climate change on the built sector, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called on government at all levels to strengthen the green building and urban design-related policies in such a way that buildings would be constructed and operated to meet global best practices.
 
It urged critical stakeholders in the housing industry to step up efforts at initiating climate change adaptation initiatives and evolving technologies that promote environmental conservation and green production process.

These were parts of the communiqué at the end of a three day, ‘Nigeria green cities summit’ in Abuja. The tow planners expressed worries about the lethargy on the part of governments at initiating more policies that will institutionalize environmental protection, while investors and entrepreneurs are still less committed to adopting green technologies in their production or service delivery process in-spite of the benefits.

The need for reducing Green House Gases (GHGs) emission, they declared, is not properly understood by critical stakeholders stressing that this has implications for evolving adaptation strategies to combat the climate change phenomenon. While also saying that there is still careless consumption of natural resources like, water, vegetation, energy and others by individuals, corporate bodies and organisations, as if they are limitless, the association maintained that this is not likely to abate soonest as a large number of actors in the economy have not embraced the value of circular or green economy, which emphasize recycling, reuse, reduction and recovery of materials.

Accordingly, NITP stated that natural areas like forests, wetlands and river banks within cities should as much as possible be carefully protected from encroachment or abuse, while more trees should be planted within the cities and towns. “Government should reward or recognise especially, organisations whose activities promote the attributes of green cities and enforce laws on penalties for those who degrade the environment. A city governance regime that will create or strengthen agencies and departments in charge of parks, gardens, and recreation for better planned and managed public open spaces should be institutionalised.

To evolve physical planning strategies, they posited that the government must promote the use of the non-motorised mode of transportation and integrate the same with pedestrian movement. It also advanced that the design and construction of neighbourhoods and infrastructure like roads and components like walkways should be encouraged in Nigerian cities.

It further observed that physical planning and building control regulations/codes in many states are obsolete and therefore, do not meet the requirements of green buildings, smart infrastructure planning, modern construction methods, as well as building operations/usage.

“The design of the various neighbourhoods, communities, and cities, including provision for infrastructure, does not encourage walking, putting those who choose or may prefer to walk at high risk,” it added.
 
According to the Chairman of the Summit Committee, Mr. Moses Ogunleye, there should be landscape plans for all cities, which should be effectively implemented to boost the degree of greens and beauty as well as the functionality of cities and towns.

“More parks and gardens of various concepts, identities, forms, and sizes should be created in towns and cities in order to enhance their aesthetic values and mitigate the impact of climate change”, he said.


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