Graduate students in urban planning at the School of Architecture and Building Sciences will now benefit from modern global urban planning practices that will be made available by UN-Habitat, the Nairobi based UN specialized agency for human settlements that has pledged to offer internship opportunities to urban planning students of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The internships will specifically focus on successful UN-Habitat global projects and programmes with the hallmark of inclusiveness and sustainable urban development.
Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat Executive Director who spoke at JKUAT, Tuesday May 14, 2013, on the theme: “Challenges of Urbanization,” linked urbanization to development, stressing that rural –urban migration was a mark of development.
He however emphasized, developing countries would continue to witness increased urbanization in the near future and advised governments to embrace modern urban planning practices that are the only available path of “mitigating mushrooming of slums.”
Dr. Clos who signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow UN-Habitat and JKUAT to collaborate in agreed areas of interest, said over 800 million people in the world live in slums with Africa harboring the lion’s share of 62 per cent.
The UN official advised urban planners in Africa to involve their citizens in town planning as part of legitimacy building. Good urban planning practices he said had to allocate between 45 to 50 percent of land to public space that was crucial in increasing value.He added that planning should encourage integrated facilities, avoid social segregation and ensure adequate proximity to the factors of production.
In her statement, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga welcomed JKUAT/UN-Habitat collaboration which she said, would eventually lead to the establishment of a graduate Academy at JKUAT to spearhead specialized training and research in urban studies.
According to the Vice Chancellor, the Centre would as well serve as a national urban forum and think–tank for the forthcoming UN-Habitat World forum expected to work closely with Kenya’s private sector and other stakeholders to promote innovation in urban planning. The collaboration is also expected to enrich the graduate programme in urban planning at JKUAT.
The ceremony was also addressed by among others; Permanent secretaries; Philip Siika, Dr. Gideon Mulyungi of the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan and the Ministry of Public Works respectively.