You are here: HomeNewsRegions2014 06 10Article 312198

Regional News of Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Source: Public Agenda

Prioritise spatial planning in national dev’t

A consultant at Cities Alliance, Mr. Sam Anyang-Kusi, has emphasised the need for Ghana to consider prioritising strategic spatial planning in its entire development agenda.

According to Mr. Anyang-Kusi, decisions regarding national development cannot succeed without strategic spatial planning to respond to the rapid urban population growth. Urbanisation has come to stay, he said, “but we have to develop the rural areas so that people will stay there.”

He underscored the urgent need for the country to reserve and preserve some space for future generations, adding “we need to start planning otherwise the future generation will come and meet a mess.” In Ghana, he said, over 50% of the population lived in urban localities, majority of who resided in environments that defy the tenets of sustainable development. Such phenomenon, he cautioned, could threaten the carrying capacity of cities if not well managed. He indicated that Cities Alliance was providing support to the government in order to address the rapid urbanisation in the country.

Mr. Anyang-Kusi was speaking at a workshop on Strategic Spatial Planning and Sustainable Cities organised in Accra by the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS). The workshop was part of the Ghana Land, Services and Citizenship (LSC) programme, a two-year initiative being undertaken by the government and its support partners to align urban development efforts at the national, city and community levels. The programme aims to support national and local policy dialogue to promote sustainable urbanisation, ensure the empowerment of local governments and reinforce the importance of active community participation.

It further seeks to strengthen the capacity of local government to inclusively plan and manage urban growth and to empower organisation of the urban poor to engage actively in local development. It is also to create a national urban agenda with a particular focus on the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).

Making a presentation, a Technical Advisor at the National Development Planning Commission, (NDPC), Dr. Isaac F. Mensa-Bonsu, said economic and social aspects of society were intertwined with spatial aspects; thus spatial planning was essential for development decision-making at all levels. According to him, the apparent insufficient attention paid to spatial development issues had now been realised at all levels, leading to the recent re-awakening in spatial planning.

Dr. Mensa-Bonsu submitted that the current state of affairs the world over was that planning was seen as important in responding to current urban challenges; therefore countries were now reshaping, re-organising and refocusing on urban planning. He said the NDPC had prioritised spatial planning in all development planning efforts.

In her welcome address, the Director of ILGS, Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye, said spatial planning was needed to sustain the cities and add value to urban environments.