Africa is regarded as the fastest urbanising region in the world. By 2050, an additional 950 million people will live in African cities. While urbanisation has the potential to foster opportunities for a better life, deepening inequalities and exclusion are apparent developmental challenges confronting African cities.
Urban planning, a tool and approach meant to address many of these issues, has in many instances compounded them. This is evident in the prejudices of the urban planning process in many of our cities. Spatially, planning is partial, focusing on specific territories while mostly neglecting poor and informal communities. At the socio-economic level, planning is biased towards high-level residential areas and business districts, thus benefitting a privileged few. The outcome is increasing urban sprawl, socio-economic segregation, gentrification and growing inequality in many dimensions of urban life, including access to infrastructure and basic services, security of tenure and livelihoods as well as economic opportunities. This is compounded by planning legislations and guidelines that are outdated and which do not keep pace with ongoing urban trends. All of these derail progress towards the achievement of the SDGs.
Responding to these challenges calls for a new approach to planning – an approach that is inclusive, participatory, proactive and responsive to the ever-changing realities of our cities and people. This webinar will examine the role of planning in directing urban growth and development towards inclusivity and sustainability.