Untitled Document

Issued on: 18 December 2019





Nairobi, Kenya


Human Settlements Officer/Urban Planning Laboratory


City Planning Extension and Design Unit/Urban Planning and Design Branch



The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

The Urban Planning and Design Lab (Urban Lab) of UN-Habitat is an initiative to promptly respond to the requests of national and local governments to support sustainable urban development. The Urban Lab is the integrative facility of the Agency where innovative processes and partnerships are translated into tangible and transformative solutions to complex urban challenges. The Urban Lab acts as a neutral broker, managing knowledge in complex stakeholder settings to resolve multi-sectoral, multi-scalar and multi-stakeholder challenges, by offering a multi-disciplinary team capturing the necessary thematic areas. In this context, the Urban Lab applies an integrated approach to systemic and strategic planning to deliver transformative change for sustainable urbanization and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda.


The Global Future Cities Programme (GFCP) is one of the programmes the Urban Lab currently is undertaking. The GFCP, under the UK Foreign and Commonwealth’s Prosperity Fund, (UK FCO) aims to deliver targeted interventions in 19 cities across 10 countries to encourage sustainable development, increase prosperity whilst alleviating high levels of urban poverty. The programme will also create significant short and long-term business opportunities in growing markets forecast to be regional growth hubs. In addition, the programme will make a significant contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA).


Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships

This position is located in the Urban Planning and Design Branch, City Planning Extension and Design Unit, Urban Planning Lab.  The Programme Officer will directly report to the Under the direct supervision of the Unit Leader, City Planning, Extension and Design Unit, and general guidance of the Coordinator, Urban Planning and Design Branch, and within the framework of the Strategic Plan and priorities established by the UN-Habitat Assembly through its biannual Work Programmes, the Human Settlements Officer is responsible for supporting the Unit and the Branch in implementing the Urban Planning and Design Laboratory and the Urban Planning Programme





Within delegated authority, the Programme Officer will be responsible for the following duties:


system for the logical framework related to the Urban Planning and Design Lab

  • Assisting development of individual work plans and targets for the Lab staff
  • Supervise and guide overall delivery and performance of the Unit team
  • Design adequate delivery mechanisms according to different typologies of clients and


  • Ensure timely and accurate reporting
  • Develop products and services on Urban Planning and Design
  • Lead the design of interventions in the field of urban planning at city and country level, at city, neighbourhood and site level
  • Develop the partnership strategy for the UPD Lab, the principles and instruments to be utilize with different types of partners, including business partners, other Labs, expert organizations
  • Provide substantive inputs for the planning and implementation of networking activities, expert group meetings, and seminars and prepare issue/discussion papers required for capacity-building workshops and networking meetings.
  • Support the development of local level plans at city, neighbourhood and site level
  • Provide necessary technical inputs to city level partners to develop meaningful planning processes, by developing, sharing and communicating city level tools for assessment, scenario, planning and implementation
  • Provide necessary technical inputs towards the design and implementation of illustrative projects on city wide plans, extension plans and densification/transformation plans.
  • Provide the required technical support towards the design and development of advocacy materials.
  • Undertake missions in support of field projects and partner cities.
  • Other activities including project backstopping and representation in meetings.
  • Resource mobilisation for planning and design projects.   
  • Backstopping Regional activities on urban planning and design.
  • Support coordinating of implementation of UN-Habitat Assembly Resolutions on areas

articulated to the Unit and Branch Mandate.

  • Support the development of new initiatives at country level and global level including the

mobilization of additional resources.

  • Promote synergy with other UPDB units, UN-Habitat Branches and Regional Offices and UN

System organisations.

  • Contribute to the development, implementation and periodic review of UN-Habitat’s

    3-legged initiatives.

  • Engage with global and UN processes in relation to urban planning and design, including Habitat 3, SDG discussions and other fora.
  • Liaise with the Habitat Programme Managers (HPMs), Habitat Regional Offices, other UN entities and other key partners to ensure synergy and coordination of activities with the “One UN” and UNDAF country level assistance frameworks.
  • Undertake any other duties assigned by Coordinator of UPDB to support urban planning and design work within the agency.


Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

Counterparts, officers and technical staff in relevant Secretariat units and in UN funds, programs and other UN specialized agencies. Representatives and officials in local and national governments, international organizations, consultants and interns.




  • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to urban planning and urban economy. Strong analysis of urban form, urban systems, economic and financial systems, underlying social, legal and financial mechanisms and the political context. Knowledge of the SDGs, their targets and indicators and the New Urban Agenda. Strong conceptual thinking. Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks "outside the box", and offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs. Ability to collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data. Knowledge of urban development issues. Ability to observe deadlines and achieve set goals. Ability to work and deliver under pressure in diverse environments with minimum supervision.


  • Teamwork:  Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


  • Planning & Organizing:  Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


  • Technological Awareness: Keeps abreast of available technology, understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office, actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks, shows willingness to learn new technology.


  • Communication:  Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed, Excellent drafting ability and communications skills, both oral and written; proven ability to communicate complex concepts orally; ability to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful.





Advanced University degree in Architecture or Urban Planning, or related field that is

relevant for sustainable urban development and urban planning and design is required. A first-level university degree in combination with (2) additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


Professional Experience:

At least 7 years of substantive professional experience, including 2 years at the international level, including urban planning and design and/or academic teaching and research on the subject, preferably gained in various continents. Good understanding of urban spatial dynamics and their relation with sustainable development. Good understanding of linkages between urban planning and

institutional and capacities development. Experience in working in large multi-cultural environments. Proven experience in human settlements development fields, project design and implementation and with the United Nations or other International Agencies.

Familiarity with UN policies, procedures and practice would be an advantage

Other Desirable Skills:

Contemporary understanding of information technology including digital media. Proven ability of preparing plans and designs at city, neighborhood scales. Demonstrated analytical and inference skills. Experience within the UN system will be an asset.



English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, proficiency in written and spoken English is mandatory with proven communication skills. Considering the global nature of the project operations, knowledge of any other UN language, particularly French and/or Spanish, is an important asset.




Applications should include:

  • Cover memo (maximum 1 page)
  • P11, indicating the following information:
    • Educational Background (incl. dates)
    • Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)
    • Other Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)
    • Expertise and preferences regarding location of potential assignments


All applications should be submitted to: Caroline.murihia@un.org


Deadline for applications: 25 December 2019

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of these offices and requesting the payment of a fee, please contact: recruitment@unon.org


Duty Station
Nairobi, Kenya