The first Kenya Urban Forum (KUF) being held in Naivasha municipality from June 14-16, themed “Strategic pathways to inclusive and sustainable urbanisation in Kenya”, carries the broader theme of “The future is urban”.
Indeed, the 2019 census report put the proportion of urban dwellers to the national population at 31.2 per cent and the urban growth rate at 4.9 per cent per annum. By 2030, it is projected that almost half of the population will be living in urban areas since the country has 372 urban areas—which range from markets to towns, municipalities and cities as per the Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011.
The importance of urban areas to socioeconomic development led the State Department for Housing and Urban Development, the World Bank, UN-Habitat, NLC, CoG and Kenya Institute of Planners to organise the ongoing forum. The forum will tackle six key issues key to the management and operations of our urban areas, the engines of growth that are rapidly growing in number and size.
The first is land and its impact on urbanism and urbanisation, ensuring that land markets and property rights are streamlined and informality and uneconomical use of land and land resources reduced.
The second is urban finance, the basis for the provision of urban infrastructure and services. The third is urban economy and poverty, addressing the needs of the people living below the poverty line in urban areas (the marginal society/urban poor or the urban marginalised persons). The fourth is strategies for urban planning and management—including land banking, standards and enforcement.
The fifth is urban governance and management. Urban politics and governance have profound impacts on residents. Stakeholders should address the many conflicts evident in urban areas over the use of available land and attendant resources. The sixth is urban resilience, climate change and environment.
Dr Giti is an urban management, public-private partnerships (PPPs) and environment specialist. [email protected]. @DanielGiti