Q. 5. What strategic & integrated planning needs to be considered in managing urban spaces to improve the quality of living conditions, economic growth, etc.?

March 24, 2017

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.


  • Claudio Torres Slum Upgrading Consultant, Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch. UN-Habitat
  • Pireh Otieno Human Settlements Officer, Urban Basic Services Branch - UN-Habitat
  • Kulwant Singh Regional Advisor - UN-Habitat
  • Marcus Mayr Urban Planner, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat
  • Edmundo Werna Head of Unit at Sectoral Policies Dept. ILO

Q. 5. What strategic & integrated planning needs to be considered in managing urban spaces to improve the quality of living conditions, economic growth, etc.?

Strategic & Integrated Planning & Management of Urban Spatial Development 

Question 5: What strategic and integrated planning needs to be taken into consideration in managing urban spaces to improve the quality of living conditions, economic growth, etc.?

Please share your ideas and/or examples below.

Featured Comment ()
Laura Petrella – Discussion Moderator, UN-Habitat from Kenya
Wed, May 4, 2016 at 03.10 pm

Thank you very much to all of you for your valuable contributions to the discussion last week and your feedback on the Habitat III process to-date. 

Among the challenges mentioned were that posed by speculative land markets and skewed taxation of properties and its effects on urban renewal processes, the service delivery challenges and the inclusion challenges of minorities. 

As for recommendations made during the dialogue, I would like to highlight (1) the need for an approach to service delivery within a urban development framework, linked and integrated with Urban Planning as proposed in the (re)source submission; (2) the advantages of establishing land-only property taxation to counter speculation and (3) the need for inclusionary planning that makes cultural diversity of community a driving force for integration.

Thanks again for your contributions. 

Arslan Scientific, Physical & Industrial Research
Fri, April 29, 2016 at 10.52 pm



Urban problems are known and suggestions, advises to overcome and shape the future of Cities, particularly the living styles of people have also been suggested. It is necessary to implement, but how and in what manner. Is just planning as has been suggested a Tool? Planning is a process, rather the first step, for achieving any goal. Constructing very tall, vertical buildings is a method; providing planned public spaces is a method; the two complement each other; tall, vertical buildings provide space to create public spaces. Whereas involving people, the stakeholders in planning is a strategy without a method; linking, the urban-rural continuum is a strategy without the method. The MMCPs exist both in Democratic Societies and the others. Democratically elected local people for instance at Municipal level, the various Committees, Commissions, Authorities & Panels which are formed at various Government levels are MMCPs. The UN and the Policy Units of UN System are MMCPs.

The Montreal Declaration is a very good document till a certain level;

1. The diagnosis, the delineation and understanding of the problems is excellent

2. recognition what needs to be done is also right in certain aspects

but then, it dissipates into intangibles and uncertainties, particularly and in every respect where it is depending upon all humans. Humans are not alike. There is not only good but bad as well. In fact, the bad more often prevails; that is the reason why we see so many conflicts and poor conditions. The conflicts and the poor conditions are the proof that not every human is alike. If you ignore this dichotomy, then you are not practical. The insistence on involving all in to planning & managing process could be on account of the fact that the present planning and administration set up, the people who are responsible to manage the affairs have miserably failed. Therefore, they now want to shift the failure on the shoulders of everyone else. The reason for professional & administrative failure is just because there is no premium or preference to values, for instance knowledge. Look at the manner in which public works are executed. This is done through what is called Tendering process, where money & lobbying plays the most dominant role. The capability to perform, the spirit to innovate and constantly improve is not there. Other extraneous factors come into play. That has resulted in the mess to-day, and this is what is being called or referred to as Metropolitan Cities. And the mess is being championed. The document therefore is idealistic.

The second error rather the most fatal to the document is the acceptance of the reality of Metropolitan Areas. Should the areas which are burgeoning and becoming unmanageable with so many ills and evils be persisted with. This question has not been raised at all. Or the discussions or debates which led to the declaration see this as inconceivable or impossible.

But we take it from where the Declaration deviates and build upon it. Read below Declaration 14.

14. We recognize that transportation and mobility are central to the sustainable development of metropolitan areas. Sustainable mobility can enhance economic growth, improve accessibility, stimulate revitalization and foster better economic and social inclusion while respecting the environment. Therefore, we must work to facilitate the free movement of people and goods, along with access to environmentally sound, safe and affordable transportation infrastructure with a view to improving social equity, health, city resilience, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas. Furthermore, we must promote active transportation that contributes to reduce congestion and increase community well-being.

Right now, this remains a pious declaration but according to us, this is the mother, the right Declaration. What has been done towards this. If you pursue this rigorously, rather we pursued this rigorously about 30 years back. We invented a system of Transport which will carry people at a speed of 1000 Kilometers per hour. It can be more but there is a limit to speed endurance of humans and therefore this is now limited to 1000 kilometers. If you build this transport, then Metropolitan cities and almost every evil that is associated herein which in other words mean, every Urban problem disappears like magic. Because, now on account of the easy mobility, people will not live in congested, city areas. They would rather live 500 to 1000 kilometers away in peaceful, spacious, green environments. The transport system enables them now to reach any part of the city, their places of work, leisure and residence in easy reach within the hour. The system brings about what we call Urban Dispersion and Rural Equalization. This has been explained better in the Book I have referred earlier and which is being written for every country. Please go through this before forming the policy.

Climate Change Centre Reading
Thu, April 28, 2016 at 03.46 pm

With reference to:


Consolidated Concept Notes & Guiding Questions for Panel Discussions  

“There is a need to change the way we think of cities. The city is primarily perceived as a significant source of negative ecological impacts. The second challenge identified in discussions is the need to review and revise the way we live in, design, and manage our cities. Shocks and stresses affecting cities now and in the future, pose significant threats to humans and ecosystems.”

–          The Transformative Commitments for a Sustainable Urban Protection Development #Vulnerability from growth

I would like to suggest/impose a Cross-Cutting Policy Recommendation between:

  • A city fulfilling its social functions, that is, ensuring equitable access for all to shelter, particularly for women and other marginalized groups; a city that prioritizes the collectively defined public interest, ensuring a socially just and environmentally balanced use of urban and rural spaces.
  • Improve habitat conditions: improve habitability (urgent protection from natural elements, hazards and disease; adequate space) in urban and rural locations; access to basic services (water, sanitation, lighting, electricity, and garbage disposal)

My comment is that urban topography can determine it’s storm resilience and disaster response to other urban extreme (increasingly frequent and intense) climatic events.

k you
Introducing underground public open/shared spaces 

Steven Crosskey – Discussion Moderator – Head of IPM Strategic Positioning, UNOPS Copenhagen from Denmark
Wed, April 27, 2016 at 09.44 pm

I wanted to join Laura in welcoming you all to the online discussion on the Habitat III process to-date. I will be co-moderator for this discussion, and looking forward to hearing from you. I am most interested in how to improve provision of basic services, particularly in the developing country context. It is important to understand the interconnected nature of sectors, including water, waste, energy and transport. This will be important to ensure efficiency and improved investment decision-making. Finding ways to break the traditional sector siloes from a policy, planning and implementation perspective is key.  Any comments on Issue papers under area 6 – Urban Housing and Basic Services will be welcomed. I look forward to some insightful discussions.

Nina Ilieva While The Pretoria Declaration on Informal Settlements Recall the outcomes of the “Paris Agreement on Climate Change”, the “S from Bulgaria
Wed, April 27, 2016 at 12.11 pm

While The Pretoria Declaration  on  Informal  Settlements Recall the outcomes of the “Paris Agreement on Climate Change”, the “Sendai Frameworkfor Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as the “2030Agenda for Sustainable Development” , which provides a focus on cities through Goal 11 and thespecific target on slums (Target 11.1 “ensuring access to all for adequate, safe and affordablehousing, basic services and upgrading slums”) as well as other interlinked goals and targets acrossthe whole agenda;we are asking for

  1. RECOGNZING The EU Framework for National Integration  Strategies up  to  2020,  which  outlines the main  strategies of the EU  Commission  for integrating  of Romani  people across Europe on  National  and International  level.

  2.  RECOGNZING the interdisciplinary, holistic approach,outlined by the EU Framework,  involving Romani NGO’s, local residents, and government officials should cover 4 crucial  areas:education, employment,  healthcare and housing.

Empowering  not  only  women  but  all citizens, people should be major priority along with the citizen participation . Exploring the cultural diversity of the Romani people as a driving force for their empowering and integration.

Edward J. Dodson Director from United States
Mon, April 25, 2016 at 07.59 pm

Too often “urban renewal” really means “urban removal,” which means that the poor are relocated to even more marginal areas in order to aggregate sufficient land for large-scale, multi-use projects. As I have written above, the most important change in policy is how government raises revenue. Moving to a land-rent only property tax base will, in time, allow markets to function well to the benefit of all residents. This does not eliminate the need for land use planning that promotes diversity and creates communities were people are able to live, work and play.

Laura Petrella – Discussion Moderator City Planning, Extension and Design Unit from Kenya
Tue, April 26, 2016 at 10.47 am

Thanks for this point. We need to link better taxation and land use planning. Many model exists, but we need those that enable to keep communities diverse both socially and in terms of actviities. So land-rent based taxationneeds to be adjusted to enable that. How do you see this happening, also in the case of land-rent based taxation?

Edward J. Dodson Director from United States
Thu, April 28, 2016 at 03.03 am

For nearly forty years I worked on teams focused on community revitalization. One consistent challenge was land acquistion costs, driven up by land speculators who always seemed to learn where public funding was to be brought to the table. Poor assessment practices and the wrong structure for the taxation of real estate combine to create very dysfunctional land markets. Everywhere one looks, well-located land parcels are kept vacant for years or even decades. Buildings are too often poorly maintained or held empty and boarded-up even as large numbers of people are not able to find decent, affordable housing. City governments try to stimulte development by providing tax abatements on new construction. The lower annual property tax obligation allows a developer to pay more for the land, then pass on the cost to purchasers of condominium units, who (because of the lower escrow for property taxes) will be qualified to carry a higher level of mortgage debt. When the tax abatement expires, many owners experience financial difficulty coming up with the cash to pay the full property tax each year. Adoption of a land-only property tax base solves these problems by implementing a community-wide exemtion of all property improvements.

Laura Petrella – Discussion Moderator City Planning, Extension and Design Unit
Mon, April 25, 2016 at 05.09 pm

Thanks (Re)sources for posting this document that highlights the inmportance of planning and governance for development and access to basic services. This is a fundamental objective of urban planning strategies and of integrated approaches. Integrating basic service consideration and plans in wider spatial and urban development plans can achieve important economies of scale and avoid fragmentation of service provision. It would be important to evaluate different strategies from the point of view of service delivery (effectveness and affordability). Have you any example of such assessments?

Laura Petrella – Discussion Moderator City Planning, Extension and Design Unit
Mon, April 25, 2016 at 05.01 pm

Welcome to the online discussion on the Habitat III process to-date, taking placein parallel with the Open-ended Informal Consultative Meetings this week. I am happy to be moderating this discussion and looking forward to hearing from you. In particular, I’m interested in Planning and Management of Urban Space.  Let me start the discussion by highlighting how this issues have received renewed attention in the lead process todate with  increasing recognition that spatial patterns are crucial to enable cities to prosper and that well planned  urban space can be  a key tool for development.  Among issues that have been discussed I would like to remind the creation, development and access to public space, the increased attention to sprawl and its impact on urban prosperity, and the needs  and the  importance of focus on making plans happen.  There are still many gaps in planning and management practice though, and I invite you to share your views on this topic.  I look forward to a useful discussion

think tank (Re)sources
Mon, April 25, 2016 at 02.24 pm

The French think tank (Re)sources has just published 21 recommendations after its colloquium in Tangiers in Feb 2016 about how conciling urban development and access to essential services. These recommandations are to be shared widely.