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Architects tell State to merge planning services

BUSIA
By | August 29th 2009

By Patrick Beja

Competing interests among Government departments have contributed to failure in urban and regional planning.

The Director of Physical Planning in the Ministry of Lands Njiru Nthiga said the ministry is addressing the problem.

While his department is mandated to carry out physical planning, he said, about five other ministries are doing the same and implementation has been a major problem.

Addressing an annual convention for the Architectural Association of Kenya at Whitesands Hotel, Mombasa, Nthiga said the ministry has initiated plans to have a national urban and regional planning authority set up to put physical planning services under one roof.

"Ministries have to get a working formula to avoid duplication of planning services," he said.

It is expected the establishment of the Prime Minister’s office would help fix the problem and streamline planning of towns.

"Perhaps our planners need more teeth to bite," said Prof Samuel Akatch.

Mr David Kithakye of UN-Habitat said the world over, there is increased population growth rate in urban areas and governments should plan for such challenges.

"It is not more institutions that will solve our problems. We should plan for fast growing urban populations," he said.

Nairobi Metropolitan Development PS Philip Sika challenged architects to help address housing and waste management problems in urban areas.

He said the Government is pursuing proposals for the establishment of a central transport authority to address traffic congestion in Nairobi.

"The metropolis is not just about boundaries but working systems," Sika said.

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