Urban Planning

Lack of updated urban planning strategies was today identified as the bane of major towns in the country.

A planner in Nakuru Town, Daniel Kiragu, said the urban poor were particularly vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards due to their location within cities and the lack of reliable basic services.

He said with the devolved funds, the governors should engage urban planning professionals, including architects and structural engineers to update the town plans.

Kiragu said urban planning has the capacity of changing the environment or ecosystem, through the expansion of paved, impermeable areas, which prevents rain from being absorbed by the soil adding that poorly planned and managed cities create new risks which threaten to erode current development gains.

He gave an example of poor solid management, which can cause blockage to storm water and sewage networks leading to water-logging and flooding.

The planner urged counties to categorise unplanned areas with a high concentration of people as high-hazard areas, in order to increase awareness of the dwellers.

Kiragu said weak regulations, such as lack of enforcement on building codes, planning permission, allows transfer of risks from builders to those who live and work in the buildings.

He added that the most vulnerable groups tend to settle and build homes in informal locations without adequate provision of infrastructure and critical services, and whenever disaster strikes all their hard-earned sweat gets eroded in a flash.

Picture: Flood water in an unplanned informal area in Nakuru town

Source: Kenya News Agency