Town planners chart strategies to curb urban migration

IDRIS SALAKO


As a means to tame urban migration, town planners have advocated for efficient planning across all levels in the country. They say, the myriads of woes facing Nigerian cities could also be tackled through a more dynamic and innovative strategy and plans for basic infrastructure for the rural residents as well as adjoining settlements that are closer to major city centres.

Speaking with The Guardian on the sidelines of the 2018 yearly general meeting of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), the president of the association, Idris Salako stressed the need to regulate the population strength to reduce the tendency of moving to urban areas.

According to him, effective planning creates good road, hospital, industries for job opportunities and other basic facilities to manage the influx of people.In most of the states, planning administration is concentrated at the state level rather than the local government where planning should evolve. Authorities see planning as revenue making activities and pay no conscious attention to decentralize planning.

Some of the states don’t even have planning regulations and where there are regulations, they are often in disarray.He lamented that most of the slums in cities are as a result of inefficient planning and a situation whereby people don’t adhere to rules/regulations on urban and regional planning stressing that there should also be conscious efforts by stakeholders to develop the environment.

On the induction of new firms into the association, he said the group was doing everything possible to create jobs for its member while practitioners must look inward by creating developmental projects to compliment government efforts and generate fund for survival.

Salako explained that the association has been meeting with stakeholders to educate the people on the importance of using the services of professionals in the industry rather than patronizing quacks.

In his contributions, a past president of ATOPCON, Moses Ogunleye, lamented that authorities have allowed development to happen before implementation of planning. This he said has made population to expand without plan on how to accommodate the growth.

“We need proper coordination of all developments through good policy that are well implemented. Government should make funds available for development plan implementation and if it does, it will recoup the investment through taxes”, he stated.

Speaking on “Urban planning in an emerging economy: Opportunities and challenges”, the general manager of Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA), Lateef Sholebo stated that town planner should develop creative solutions to urban challenges which include; solid waste management, slum, traffic congestion, housing needs and employment generation among others.

Sholebo told practitioners that they could also create business district plan that would address traffic issue in city and sell it to government, create database, conservation plan as well as mitigation plan on open space, noise and safety to generate income.

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ATOPCONIDRIS SALAKO
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