THE OPPORTUNITY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES FOR AFRICAN CITIES IN THE PURSUIT OF URBAN RESILIENCE: THE CASE OF THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT UNIT OF KINSHASA (DR CONGO)

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Submission Summary
The 21st century is and will be urban on every continent. Rapid urbanization has become the main trend, especially in the global South, bringing together challenges with unprecedented complexity and numerous opportunities for a more sustainable development. Challenges such as increasing needs for resources, climate change, and overpopulation have raised the interrogation of questioning if cities will be capable to overcome these impediments. Whether cities will be able or not to turn urbanization into a valuable asset for local populations and their economies will increasingly depend on their capacity to tackle urban development. The African continent is expected to have some of the largest megacities in the world by 2050. In the present time, African cities are already playing a crucial role in driving the social and economic development of their countries. Many international investors have even recognized the need to channel their investments towards African cities rather than focusing on whole countries. It is therefore pivotal to think about strategies for African cities to build strong capacities so that they can become real engines of economic growth. Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is experiencing one the fastest population growth on the African continent. According to UN-Habitat reports on urbanization, Kinshasa will become the second most populated city in Africa behind Lagos in Nigeria by 2040, with over 30 million inhabitants. Unfortunately, Kinshasa is mostly experiencing the backside of urbanization and has struggled to overcome many different urban issues such as the lack of basic service delivery, recurrent floods, erosion and landslides. This has led the World Bank to support the City-Province of Kinshasa with the “Kin Elenda” project, focused on urban resilience through strategic and operational planning, and capacity building. One of its main orientations is to create one “Urban Development Unit” that will turn urban resilience strategies within the city into strategic and operational projects. The Urban Development Unit is expected to support Kinshasa as a centre of knowledge for urban resilience and become the operational hand of the City-Province in implementing a coherent and strategic vision for a mid and long-term sustainable urban development. This article aims to study how the Urban Development Unit of Kinshasa can impact the spatial transformation of the capital of DRC and help improving the capacity of Kinshasa to plan its urban space for 15 to 30 million people. The article will also analyse the urgent need for capacity building of African cities in general and Congolese cities in particular, through the opportunity of creating urban planning agencies across the country. The article will assess how such agency can be structured to be able to play a critical role in a sustainable future for Kinshasa.
Submission ID :
ISO278
Submission Type
Submission Track
4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
Urban Planning Specialist
,
Cellule de Developpement Urbain de Kinshasa (Urban Development Unit of Kinshasa)
Director
,
Citilinks Group

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