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Issued on: 2 March 2017


UN-Habitat, Urban Planning and Design Branch in Nairobi, Kenya


UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya


Senior Planner / Project Coordinator


11 months with possible extension


16 March 2017



The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) of UN-Habitat support countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address urban expansion and transformation.

There is indeed an urban planning crisis: the unplanned city is largely inefficient and requires increasing resources to make it more functional and liveable. Only those cities able to embrace different patterns of growth and address inequalities and inefficiencies will be able to provide better lives for their residents, while limiting ecological damage.

Urban Planning Frameworks have changed very little in the past 50 years, despite huge changes in the urban world, and a new approach is required which links planning to legal instruments and a sound financing and economic rationale. In this respect, five principles of sustainable urban planning are being promoted by UN-Habitat:

  • Plan in advance of population increase, with the view to remain basic but relevant and comprehensible but not necessarily comprehensive, and to leverage plans for revenue creation through value capture.
  • Plan at the scale of the problem, particularly the projected growth of the urban population.
  • Plan incrementally, starting with streets and following with water and sanitation, drainage, energy and lighting, transport, etc. This gives priority to improving the proportion of land allocated to streets and in turn supports service delivery and progressive taxation.
  • Plan for density and mixed land use, aiming at vertical features that lower transaction costs, positively impact the economies of scale (and economies of agglomeration), and improve revenue from taxation.
  • Provide for urban networks for sustainable mobility and sustainable energy.

In relation to the above, the UPDB has launched in 2014 the Urban Planning and Design Laboratory which operates from its premises in Nairobi to provide direct support to projects in the field through development of plans and designs and to create a feedback loop from practice to policy and normative development. . The Urban Planning and Design Branch has three Units which are closely related: (1) Regional and Metropolitan Planning, (2) City Planning, Extension and Design, and (3) Climate Change Planning. To implement the UN-Habitat’s 2014-2019 work programme, all the three Units will continue to work in synergy, across other UN-Habitat branches and Units as well as a range of partners.  The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit will play a key role in supporting the delivery of the Branch’s mandates through the following four intervention areas:

  • National Urban Policies from pre-feasibility, diagnostic, development, implementation to monitoring and tracking progress;
  • Regional, Metropolitan and City-region planning including in development of corridors, clusters and systems of cities and promotion of a green economy and urban-rural linkages;
  • The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning as well as it rolling out, implementation and monitoring;
  • Spatial Planning Frameworks at metropolitan, regional, national and supra-national levels

UN-Habitat has also signed a five-year partnership, the Future Saudi Cities Programme (FSCP), with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which will serve as a catalyst for sustainable urban and territorial development while contributing to the delivery of the 10th National Development Plan 2015-2019 (10th NDP). One third of the objectives of the 10th NDP (8 out of 24) are closely related to urban aspects: standards of living and quality of life (# 10), youth empowerment (# 12), women empowerment (# 13), job opportunities (# 15), housing (# 16), public services and facilities (# 21), balanced regional development (# 22), governance (# 23). Mitigation of urban sprawl through compact, connected and more integrated cities and settlements is identified as a key outcome of this programme.

The programme strategy is also inspired by the principles and recommendations contained in the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP), with the intention to better prepare the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to implement the New Urban Agenda for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Guidelines were approved by the Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Resolution 25/6 of 23 April 2015 and provide a global reference framework for urban planning across a range of scales and adaptable to distinct regional, national and local contexts. The IG-UTP consist of twelve principles and 114 action-oriented recommendations to four stakeholder groups: national governments, local authorities, civil society and professional planners.

Given the need to strengthen its planning capacity, a consultant is required to provide technical support to the Urban Planning and Design Branch, taking part in the work of the FSCP Head Quarter Planning Team and its field of activities related to the FSCP, under the supervision of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, the Manager of the Urban Planning and Design Lab and the overall supervision of FSCP Outcome 2 Coordinator


The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical inputs on urban planning and design and to contribute to the development of a new generation of transformative projects in partner cities.

Based on the evidence produced and the respective diagnostics, the Programme will develop a total of 17 profiles for the 17 cities. Those profiles will be prepared using a mix of mechanisms and approaches. A detailed “multi-scale action plan” in pre-selected 5 cities, comparative analysis and validation of the results in the other 12 cities through a participatory workshop methodology, and consolidated policy recommendations relevant to all 17 cities. This output will also produce 3 demonstration projects. Both the profiles and the demonstration projects will be developed using “the three-pronged approach” that articulates urban planning and design, urban rules and regulations and municipal finance. Urban Labs will be the vehicle to develop and pilot, where appropriate, tailored tools and instruments and strengthen endogenous capacities.

The “multi-scale action plan” will be composed by:

  • Regional strategy, integration of the city in the region;
  • City-wide strategy, linking the regional scale with the local one;
  • Neighbourhood scale proposals including a cost-benefits analysis;
  • Productive analysis at both regional and city level.
  • Legislation and institutional analysis at both national/regional and city level
  • This action plan will also clearly points out the emphasis that should be given to youth and gender issues, resilience and sustainability besides its emphasis on building participatory vision for reach city supported by strategies and means for implementation and monitoring mechanisms

Three demonstrations projects, representing the 3 different scales (regional, city-wide, and neighbourhood) will also be selected as pilots for demonstration of the new sustainable principles. One of the potential projects is suggested to focus on public space use from the youth & gender perspective. A second may be focused on new approaches in unplanned settlements and a third might focus on implementing the three pronged approach in medium sized cities.

Experience and lessons learned from implementation of the “multi-scale action plan” will be assessed against the situations and experience of the remaining 12 cities and validated through workshops. Subject to MoMRA recommendations, officials from all 17 cities will be engaged through the learning-by-doing model that involves them in the process of implementing “multi-scale action plans,” and comparative analysis of CPI results.  


The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, the Manager of the Urban Planning and Design Lab and the overall supervision of FSCP Outcome 2 Coordinator,. She/he will contribute to the implementation of the FSCP Head Quarter Planning Team activities by performing the following tasks:

  • Manage the FSCP Head Quarter Planning Team as a team leader in the development of the following tasks:
    • Coordination of the activity of the FSCP Head Quarter Planning Team activity in the accomplishment of the 17 City Profiles and 3 Demonstration Projects.
    • Preparation with Outcome 2 Coordinator of the materials for the Integrated Rapid Planning Studio methodology application in the context of KSA.
    • Participation to workshops, missions and technical meeting both in Nairobi and KSA.
    • Provide planning and design inputs including regional and citywide strategies, extension plans and urban transformation plans in 17 cities.
    • Elaborate 17 city profiles.
    • Undertake review regional and city plans, strategies and reports to ensure that regional and national dimensions are adequately covered and interlinked;
    1. Develop clear planning proposals, drawings for 3 demonstration projects.
    2. Review of proposals and design prepared by local team of planners for various pilot cities.
    3. Develop critical analysis of existing planning documents and instruments.
    4. Provide inputs to guide or facilitate the delivery of relevant urban legislation reviews and financial mechanism in view of plan implementation and planning processes support.
    5. Develop and organize participatory, multi-stakeholder processes tailor made for the projects in a specific context.
  • Manage and take part in field missions in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s regional and country offices.
  • Represent the Lab at meetings and conferences within and outside UN-Habitat.
  • Support the UN-Habitat Office in Riyadh in the planning activities related to the FSCP.
  1. Support the Integrated Rapid Planning Studio preparation and execution in 12 cities and regional level.
  2. Undertake any other duties to advance the work of the FSCP.


The consultancy will focus on 1) helping cities develop practical, feasible approaches to implementing urban planning interventions through direct planning support;  2) assisting national governments to scale up successful local-level approaches through tools development, and 3) build the capacities of planning and facilitating institutions (development control, construction plan scrutiny, etc.)

8 main outputs that are expected are:

  • Urban Planning and Design proposals.
  • City profiles related with planning proposals.
  • Comments and inputs to planning proposals.
  • Presentations.
  • Report on urban planning documents.
  • Inputs to economy and legislation reviews related to urban planning.
  • Participatory, multi-stakeholder processes and related sessions.
  • Clear analytical drawings, design drawings and diagrams at various scales: region, city, and neighborhood.
  • Reflective texts on projects, processes and best practices.

Output production will be documented regularly through interim reports covering the tasks above and one final report, summarizing the work done and presenting all outputs in electronic and hard copy format. Daily presence in UN-Habitat offices is expected.

Required skills:

  • Professionalism:  Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches    relevant to urban planning and design. Strong analysis of urban form, urban systems, underlying social, legal and financial mechanisms and the political context. Ability to develop strong graphic materials (concept plans, diagrams, street sections) as well as substantive reports. Knowledge of urban development issues. Ability to observe deadlines and achieve set goals. Ability to work and deliver under pressure.
  • Communication: Excellent written and oral presentation skills in English. Excellent capacity to produce and manipulate graphic documents and drawings. Good presentation skills. Ability to communicate complex interventions in a clear language and convincing narratives. Sketching capabilities to effectively communicate in workshop settings and teams.
  • Teamwork:  Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve agreed goals.
  • Planning and Organizing: Ability to prioritize activities and assignments and to easily switch between different projects.
  • Creativity: 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. Can easily develop clear plans in contexts with limited information and datasets. Finds ways to extract and combine data and information to create base maps. Is both able to reduce complexity as well as sensitive to specific urban form and the landscape.
  • Management: Ability to manage smaller project teams, divide workload and sustain efficiency


Minimum advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Architecture or Urban Planning, or related field that is relevant for sustainable multi scale urban development and urban planning and design. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience:
A minimum of 10 years of experience in urban planning or design, a significant part of which should be directly related to different aspects of urban planning such as territorial and regional planning, city-wide planning, urban extension plans, urban redevelopment, land management, landscape and public space design etc. A combination of practitioner/private sector, academic, and public sector experience would be considered an asset. The candidate has a portfolio of plans and designs of which he/she is the author. Experience of long-term engagements/consultancy to national/regional/local governments focused on implementation of urban projects.
Planning experience in Arab countries and/or planning in contexts of water scarcity and extreme weather conditions will be an advantage.

Technical Knowledge:

  • Urban planning contemporary approaches.
  • Team management skills.
  • Able to represent UN-Habitat FSCP Head Quarter Planning Team in technical meetings and workshops.
  • Research and analytical skills combined with good drafting and drawing skills, manipulation of graphic material and production of complex urban planning documents.
  • Writing skills, in English and possibly another UN language.
  • Able to manage a team and deliver on time under pressure.

Language Skills
For this consultancy, fluency in oral and written English is required. Although not a requirement, knowledge of Arabic or other languages will be an advantage.

Payments will be on outputs basis, subject to satisfactory delivery of agreed outputs and targets within the consultancy work plans. The rate is determined by functions performed and experience of the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement.

Applications should include:
•    Cover memo (maximum 1 page)
•    CV in the PHP format, accessible through the INSPIRA website ( Please note, if using INSPIRA for the first time, you need to register in order to activate your account, which will allow you to log in and create a personal History Profile.
• The PHP should be attached to the application as a PDF file.
• A concise portfolio in PDF format with one or a selection of projects/plans/designs, no more than 4 MB, should be attached to the e-mail. Websites and download links will not be accepted.

Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the
UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster
through the following link:

All applications should be submitted by e-mail to:
Nancy Oloo
P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Email: and cc:,,

Deadline for applications:16 March 2017
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:  the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement.