Nigerian Institute of Town Planners(NITP) has stated that seven years after the world made a decision to focus on cities there is a gap between expectations and fulfillment “and this gap needs to be filled.”
In a statement by Olutoyin Ayinde, the National President of the body, read on his behalf by Hope Iyawe, the chairman of the Edo State chapter, on the occassion of World Cities Day, NITP called on all stakeholders “to recognize our cities as engines of growth and therefore need a lot more diligent management to make them function as such.
“The amount of energy and resources deployed to do this will prove the value we have attached to humanity, first, and then, our human settlements. The expectations of the world point to sustainable development which does not get achieved on its own. It is a goal that requires deliberate strategy to attain.”
Going forward, the NITP averred that “the gap between expectations and fulfillment is vision, which is expressed in the preparation of development plans. It has been confirmed worldwide that the way urban areas are spatially configured (planned and built) directly relates to their capacity to generate economic value.
“When settlements are well planned and efficiently managed, growth and development show visible signs of improvement from the local to the national level. This is why the Institute will continue to advocate for investment in physical development plans that would ultimately impact economic, social and environmental values.”
According to the NITP “Without vision, it is said, the people perish and this is probably the reason why many cities in developing countries have continually failed. There have been no clear cut vision and calculated strategies for their growth and development.
“The preponderance of slums or informal settlements is a vivid example of the diminishing value placed on cities and communities in the developing world. The disadvantage of promoting such settlements became apparent when the whole world was confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was obvious that the cities that had public open spaces and readily convertible facilities, as well as more organized public transportation, stood a better chance in coping with the pandemic. This is why there has been a call for inclusiveness, to make everyone part of the settlements they live in, to be part of plan-making and plan implementation.
“Such inclusion produces a collective vision, an imagination and picture of what people expect their settlements to look like, while they are also willing to bring together resources to make the vision achievable.”