Towards Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Cities

The future is urban and urbanisation remains by far the most pertinent transformative issue for Africa in the 21st century.
Namibia was only 28% urbanised at independence but was already 42% urbanised by 2011.
 In 2018 Namibia is crossing a significant threshold as over half of Namibia’s population now lives in an urban area.
The unplanned and uncoordinated growth of towns and cities in Namibia.
The inaccessibility of decent, secure and affordable land is the reason why there are so any informal settlements in Namibia, and it is a contributing factor to urban poverty.
Pragmatic and well considered strategic action by local has the best chance of success in responding to the challenges of urbanisation and informal settlement growth.
Influenced by apartheid planning ideology urban land use planning over the last 28 years have done very little to stem the tide of spatial segregation.
 2nd National Land Conference need to address the inefficient structure of urban areas that are known for its fragmented residential settlement patterns, underdeveloped business areas in the townships and long travel distances between home, work, schools and sports facilities. The key outcomes, therefore, needs to be a spatial transformation in our towns and cities that should lead to socio-spatial integration, improved access to services and the social and economic inclusion of the mass of our people.
The 2nd National Land Conference need to agree on integrated and coordinated interventions to deal with social exclusion, environmental threats, economic inefficiencies, logistical bottlenecks, urban insecurity and decaying infrastructure.
Decentralisation – to provide a system where planning decisions and tasks can be taken at the lowest level and to combine responsibility for decision-making with accountability for financial, social and environmental consequences.
Comprehensive Long-term Spatial Planning – this should combine the overall land use policies and the more detailed land use regulations into a single spatial planning framework that covers the total jurisdiction. Such planning should also emphasise the political vision of integration and socio-spatial equality and should not just focus on bureaucratic regulations
 Participation:  There should be the broad-based participation of local communities and stakeholders to create broader shared understanding for planning regulations, and it should form the basis for the wider strategy of socio-spatial transformation.
Second National Conference to respond more proactively to achieve a unified and innovative response to the building of inclusive, resilient, safe and livable towns and cities.
`there must be recognition that lower-income urban residents prefer to build their homes incrementally as demonstrated by the now openly successful model of the Shack Dwellers Federation (SDFN)
find ways to allow poor communities to be part of the planning that affects their lives and settlement; our Namibian towns can grow in ways that don’t cause displacement, misery and impoverishment for large portions of the urban population.
Other Concerns:
The interface between traditional leaders and local authorities
Ancestral land issues in Urban Areas
Compensation for land in communal areas

The need for a National Urbanization Policy and National Spatial Development Framework
Improve regulations related to zoning, need and desirability and other town planning and administrative procedures
Business Process Review and Re-engineering to improve procedures for the development application.
Explore Better Land and Property Taxation Options
Public-private partnerships including non-profit civil society and community groups to cooperate.
The interface between Local Authorities and Traditional Leaders
 Ancestral Land Issues In Urban Areas
 Compensation for Town Boundary Expansion

Possible New Ways of Working

Community Land Trusts (CLT) -A CLT is a private non-profit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefits of a community.
 Guided Land Development –is a technique for guiding the process of converting privately owned land on the urban periphery from rural to urban use to ensure that development occurs less haphazardly and informally.
Urban land pooling or readjustment is used for managing and financing the subdivision of selected urban fringe areas for their urban development.
Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) the right to develop land can be separated from the land itself. This can provide local authorities with an innovative way to purchase development rights from areas where development is to be discouraged and using them to develop land in another location.
Land sharing is an agreement between the unauthorised occupants of a piece of land and a landowner. It involves the occupants moving off the high-value portion of land in return for being allowed to either rent or buy a part of the land below its market value.

Final Thoughts
There is a saying that “the journey of thousand miles starts with the first step”,
African proverb posits that “if you want to go fast - go alone but if you want to go far - go together.”
Our uncompromising aims are to make land and housing choices available to every level of income, provide responsive basic services to all our residents and to reduce the need for future slums and informal settlements.
We have an opportunity during the current administration to be remembered for bold experimentation, knowledge sharing, public, private collaboration and bottom-up community-driven approaches to address the urban land issues.
We are called for a time such as this!!