Embark on appropriate urban planning, authorities urged

WHILE Dar es Salaam city is projected to become one of fastest growing cities in the world by 2030, researchers have urged authorities to embark on appropriate urban planning and committing massive investment in social services to accommodate increasing population in the metropolis.

Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) Executive Director, Dr Donald Mmari, made the call in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday during the launch of a study dubbed ‘Towards a Socially Just Urbanization in Tanzania’ that was commissioned by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Tanzania Office.

“Urban areas are growing rapidly but provision of social services remains limited. There is thus a need to ensure proper planning of urban areas and put in place enabling social services,” Dr Mmari advised while briefing journalists after launching of the study.

Citing findings of the study that was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Njombe, Dr Mmari mentioned economic factor and improved social services in urban areas as the main driving force for rural-urban migration.

“The study shows that almost a half of Tanzanians will be living in urban areas by 2050. Urban areas in Tanzania can only be sustainable if they are well planned,” he stated.

The REPOA boss also echoed findings of the research which suggested that service delivery in urban settings need to equip the youths who account for over 60 per cent of the population to make them more productive.

During the launching of the findings, the Resident Director of FES Tanzania Office, Ms Elisabeth Bollrich, said her organization had supporter similar studies in Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and Namibia.

“We did a full synthesis report of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to look at East African countries’ similarities and differences. Dar es Salaam, with about seven million people, is twice the size of Kampala and Nairobi and is the ninth fastest growing city in the world,” she noted.

Ms Bollrich observed that rapid urbanization in Tanzania is a major challenge held back by limited financial resources to address the situation.

She said the research was also aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 11 which states that; “Make cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

An expert on urban planning, Prof Jonas Nkya, said findings of the study will inform policy makers on the need to have in place affordable housing for the increasing population in urban areas.

“Affordable housing is a very important aspect in urban planning since many people who migrate from rural to urban areas will require rented accommodation rather that building their own houses,” he observed.

The national Five-Year Development Plan 2021/2022-2025/2026 focuses on ensuring land tenure system and promoting planned and serviced urban settlements with improved solid and liquid waste management, use of sustainable transport and cleaner energy.

According to the plan, interventions in the area will also address critical implications of rapid urban population growth on settlements.

It mentions key interventions areas as promoting and facilitating planning, surveying and titling of land parcels for investment and human settlement and preparing urban, islands and coastal development master plans.

Also, on the list of interventions are establishment of affordable housing schemes, upgrading and scaling up an Integrated Land Management Information System and mainstreaming land management and planning systems in other sectoral development plans.

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