Africa City Planning Challenges of the 21st Century

According to the UN report titled “Urbanisation Challenges of the 21st Century” by Dr J Clos, well over 800 million people in the world live in slum conditions. Over 61% of the African urban population live in such conditions, in comparison with just over 26% in the Caribbean and Latin America, around 38% in East Asia, and 43% in West Asia. City planning in South Africa and other African countries will therefore have to focus on the improvement of living conditions in the urban areas in order to bring the continent’s urban development in line with other continents across the globe. Reasons for the Current Problems The severe lack of proper city planning in African countries has led to the growth of slums. In South Africa, we face the challenge of informal settlements developing within mid-level and affluent areas. In smaller towns, the informal settlements often develop spontaneously near new employment opportunities and in other situations, the local municipalities are unable to deal with the growing population. As a result, areas are allocated for such settlements, but these settlements create problems such as improper facilities to ensure healthy hygiene, open fires (which add to the air pollution problem), excessive littering, and piles of waste. According to Dr Clos, a lack of public space is another contributing factor to the challenges faced by modern city planners. In many African countries, less than 10% of the urban land is allocated as public space. Provision of the essential services, such as proper sanitation, clean potable water, and electricity remains a challenge. Service delivery channels and improvements in the infrastructure to get the...