Kisumu Members of County Assembly sensitised on urban planningEldoret 4 June 2015-- A workshop was last month organised for the Kisumu Members of the County Assembly (MCA) with the aim of deepening their awareness related to the roles of in urban planning and specifically, their role in approval of the city’s draft Integrated Strategic Urban Development Plan (ISUDP).

The Plan was submitted to the county assembly for approval, during the last week of May. Once approved, the plan will provide a legally recognized framework for guiding the implementation of the much awaited Kisumu Urban Projects, funded by the French Development Agency through a credit agreement with the Kenya Government.

A day to the County Assembly workshop, there were similar engagements with the Chief Officers and County Executive Members of the Kisumu County Government. The Kisumu County and City leadership, led by the Deputy Governor, Ms. Ruth Odinga, acting on behalf of the Governor, and the Acting City Manager, Ms. Doris Ombara, underscored sound urban planning and land management as among the key drivers of robust economic development in the city.

However, they emphasized that this can only be achieved through active participation by all key stakeholders. Climate Change and its related impacts were also highlighted. The County underscored the importance of green energies to their sustainable urban development. And besides, such consideration will double as incentives to the planners, towards institutionalizing climate change-sensitive planning and design- in the subsequent detailed plans that will follow the approval of the ISUDP, including plans for public places, neighbourhood /district developments and urban mobility.

Furthermore, there was emphasis on the importance of the Special Areas Plans (SAPs) proposed by the ISUDP, key among this being the Lakefront re-development area. This area was especially cited for its role as a strategic asset for the city. It’s planning and re-development is envisioned to extend the activities of the current Central Business District and revitalize the lake front area, by creating a stronger and more sustainable functional synergy between the built environment and the lake.

In essence, the lakefront redevelopment will make Kisumu city to “Face the lake”, an observation that the Deputy Governor had earlier laid particular stress on. UN-Habitat made a presentation that accentuated the importance of an integrated approach to urban planning that combines urban planning, urban economy and urban legislation. In addition, UN-Habitat created awareness on 5 basic principles of good urban planning: adequate space for streets and public space in an efficient street network, mixed land use, social mix, adequate density, and limited land use specialization.

At the end of the workshop, it was evident that a general consensus had been created on the need for the county to strengthen urban planning, and a milestone resolution to forge ahead with the approval process of the Kisumu ISUDP, was arrived at. Indeed, the ISUDP was touted by the county assembly as a critical factor for the sustainable development of Kisumu.