Catalogue of Publications Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, UN-Habitat

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Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit

UN-Habitat’s Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU) provides tools and services to support national governments, regional and metropolitan authorities in our three areas of expertise – National Urban Policies, Urban and Territorial Planning and Regional and Metropolitan Planning. The Unit has recently been supported financially by Cameroon, Cities Alliance, France, Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Sweden and cooperates with a wide network of international development organizations (among them Cities Alliance, OECD, GIZ, ICAO , UNCRD, FAO , IFAD) to provide tools aiming at compact, integrated, connected, and socially inclusive cities and strengthening urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The development of our tools is based on a constant dialogue with metropolitan, regional, and national authorities as well as civil society organizations, academia and the private sector – aiming for the best possible results for all.

The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit is mandated within UN-Habitat to respond to the following areas of intervention:

  1. National Urban Policies within the spatial frameworks from feasibility, diagnostics, formulation and implementation to monitoring and tracking progress;
  2. Urban and Territorial Planning, particularly the rolling out, implementation, and monitoring of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning; and
  3. Regional, Metropolitan and City Planning including urban-rural linkages, urban development corridors and clusters, green economy, systems and connections of cities.

RMPU Unit Brief

National Urban Policy (NUP)

The Evolution of National Urban Policy - A Global Overview

This publication explains some of the elements that are essential to achieving sustainable urban development. Historical, contemporary and forward looking perspectives are provided with concrete examples and good lessons learnt for all urban policy actors. This publication will be very useful for urban stakeholders working on urban policies in the public and private sectors, civil society organisations, development agencies, research and capacity development institutions.

National Urban Policy: A Guiding Framework

This Guiding Framework is based both on research and on lesson drawing from countries that have undertaken an urban policy at the national level. This Framework will highlight themes on each stage of the NUP process, feasibility, diagnostic, formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. While the process to develop a NUP will be different in each context, the Framework will allow for the identification of key considerations for each phase.

National Urban Policy - Framework for a Rapid Diagnostic

Built on the review of a range of experiences and practices, this publication particularly deals with the diagnostic phase and complements other instruments to support the NUP process. It teases out key elements to consider when undertaking a diagnosis of the urban sector in order to successfully formulate a pragmatic and action-oriented NUP. The Framework for Rapid Diagnostic outlines some important questions to inform a participatory and inclusive NUP process and guide urbanization along the principles of compact, connected, integrated and inclusive cities.

National Urban Policy Global Report 2017

National Urban Policy 5 Regional Reports

(available soon)

National Urbanisation Policy Note - Cameroon

Une Politique Urbaine Nationale permettrait de faire justement le lien entre la Vision 2035 et la Stratégie de Développement du Sous Secteur Urbain avec une attention particulière sur les défis actuels et futurs du développement du Cameroun. Politique Urbaine Nationale du Cameroun offrirait également un cadre transversal permettant d’établir le lien (i) entre le développement urbain et les différents secteurs public, privé et social, (ii) entre les différents acteurs dans le processus de développement urbain et (iii) entre les centres urbains au niveau national, régional et mondial. Elle aidera également le gouvernement à réviser les outils de planification, à améliorer la mise en œuvre des règles d’urbanisme, à accroitre les sources de financement et d’optimisation des infrastructures publiques, et à renforcer les capacités des parties prenantes aussi bien au niveau central qu’au niveau décentralisé. Ceci permettra d’aboutir à la transformation inclusive de la gestion des villes, du tissu industriel, et de la qualité de vie des habitants dans les espaces urbains.

National Urbanization Policy Note - Rwanda

To address the crucial issue of rapid urbanization and to meet the goals set by the Vision 2020 as well as the medium and long term sustainable urbanization objectives, the Government of Rwanda decide to develop a National Urbanization Policy (NUP). The philosophy of the NUP is to contribute to economic transformation as stated in the EDPRS II. The purpose of this is to “Transform the economic geography of Rwanda by facilitating urbanisation and promoting secondary cities” as centres of non-agricultural economic activities. In order to meet this high level orientation, the urbanisation process, if well understood and coordinated among different stakeholders, shall lead to a better economies of agglomeration based on a well-balance system of cities, more productive interactions between urban and rural settlements, and improved multi-sectoral coordination.

National Spatial Strategy - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The study seeks to provide evidence-based inputs for the review of the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The methodology is based on three criteria that assesses the content (relevance), process (integration) and results (effectiveness) of the NSS. The review is informed by lessons learnt from international experiences. Five case studies on national spatial frameworks were analyzed, namely, Republic of Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Morocco and China. The key challenge identified is the insufficient uptake of the NSS due to lack of a coordinated approach as well as lack of awareness. To increase the uptake of NSS by relevant ministries, utilities and the regions, the study advocates for more dialogue and integration among urban stakeholders across sectors and spatial scales. The development of a fully-fledged National Urban Policy emerges as the way forward to address the root causes of integration challenges faced in NSS uptake and implementation.

National Urban Policy World Database


The UN-Habitat National Urban Policy Database provides a global overview of the state of urban policy at the national level. The database gathers country-level data (when available) on the existence of relevant NUPs, dates of formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation (as appropriate) main themes of these policies, the leading ministries and main actors, and, when possible, links to the policy documents. The aim of the database is to gather pertinent information on National Urban Policies in a central location and therefore make available a broad overview of the state of National Urban Policy globally.

Urban and Territorial Planning

International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP)

The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning serve both as a source of inspiration and a compass for decision makers and urban professionals when reviewing urban and territorial planning systems. The Guidelines provide national governments, local authorities, civil society organizations and planning professionals with a global reference framework that promotes more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change. It include twelve key principles and a series of action-oriented recommendations that are based on strong evidence, inspiring practices and lessons learnt from various regions and contexts. The Guidelines emphasize the need for an integrated approach to planning and cover areas of urban policy and governance, sustainable urban development, planning components as well as implementation and monitoring mechanisms.

IG-UTP: Synopsis

IG-UTP: A Compendium of Inspiring Practices

The Information Document is an extract from the prospective Compendium of Inspiring Practices, a database that is being developed to support and illustrate the Guidelines (see current list of draft case studies in Annex 3). The Information Document comprises a sample of 26 international experiences in urban and territorial planning that have been developed by the Expert Group and its associated networks.

Regional, Metropolitan and City Planning


The MetroHUB initiative combines planning, governance and finance components with socio-ecologic aspects, capacity development and acupuncture projects in the specific local context of a metropolitan area. Aiming for a sustainable development, the MetroHUB initiative also includes this broad spectrum of components while being participatory, inclusive and people orientated.

Urban-Rural Linkages

Urbanization is reshaping the world’s urban and rural landscapes and bringing prosperity to many regions. However, in previous years, the focus of planners and decision makers has been on large and mega-cities, resulting in a development gap between urban and rural areas. Due to this polarization, inequality, unsustainability, and divergence in development and income are the main challenges now to be adressed. In order to bridge those gaps, UN-Habitat is focusing on enhancing urban-rural linkages and building on the transformative power of urbanization for all regions.

County Engagement Framework for Kenya

This document discusses the existing legislation relating to Urban and Regional Planning in Kenya with a view to highlighting the opportunities and gaps that can be harnessed in respect to international, regional, national and county planning legal and regulatory framework, and planning processes. It aims at providing a nexus for engagement with the County governments of Kenya, to advance sustainable urban and rural settlements and promote the utilization of urban-rural linkages for eventual sustainable county development. The review of the current planning legal and policy framework examines various local and international policies, laws and regulations that affect planning at the national and county level. The outputs include an outline of viable entry points for collaboration with county governments in Kenya to develop integrated and sustainable county and urban development plans.

Transport and Transit Corridors for Sustainable Development

This paper aims at defining transit and transport corridors, outline factors influencing development of the corridors, highlight the role done by UN-Habitat in promoting the development of transport and transit corridors, and ultimately explore the role played by transit and transport corridors in promoting international cooperation for sustainable development. This review will be based on cases undertaken at national and regional scales from different areas around the world.

Urban Patterns for a Green Economy

Increasingly, in order to learn how to best promote sustainable and green urban growth, city managers wish to learn by example. Rather than solely using theory and principles, they want to know what has worked, what has not, and which lessons are transferrable to their own contexts. The Urban Patterns for a Green Economy publications are one of UN Habitat’s key tools for Regional and Metropolitan Planning. The Quick Guides have been developed for urban practitioners and aim to suggest patterns that can help cities and city-regions regain these inherent advantages in a time of increased uncertainty and unprecedented demographic expansion.

Promoting Synergy between Airports and Cities to Achieve Sustainable development

This concept note is a joint initiative of ICAO and UN-Habitat to: i) Identify global good practices and principles in urban and regional planning and management around air transport infrastructure that can be applied to help sustainably develop air transport infrastructure and services to achieve airport-city (ies) development axis (corridors); ii) Assess and document the trends in and impacts of airports and air traffic on land use around the airport and along the airport-city corridor in selected airports to track land use changes and compliance to urban planning regulations, its related socio-economic and ecological impacts to sustainable urban development; iii) Develop conceptual, methodological and operational spatial and visualization frameworks that will highlight the role of airport systems (infrastructure and services) to urban development beyond the city, along the airport-city axis and the airport-rural area trajectory; and study the synergistic relations to sustainable development.

Contact Us

The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU) provides tools and services to particularly serve regional and metropolitan areas and the development of urban policy and spatial development at the national scale. The Unit would welcome the opportunity to work with you. We would be pleased to be involved in dialogue regarding the development of compact, integrated, connected, and socially inclusive cities and learn more about the work of partners in metropolitan, regional, and national authorities. In order to work with us or to get more information on our tools and services, the RMPU can be contacted at:

Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit

Urban Planning and Design Branch

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

P.O. Box 30030 | Nairobi 00100, Kenya

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