REFORMING URBAN LAWS IN AFRICA
The African Centre for Cities (ACC), at the University of Cape Town, identified the need to develop a platform for urban planning law reform in the region in 2009. The reason for this initiative was to focus on the practical question of how to achieve effective and appropriate urban legislation.
With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation the ACC worked closely with the Association of African Planning Schools, to develop case materials on urban planning law reform as well as a model curriculum for teaching planning law in an African university. This was taken further, with the idea of developing a Practical Guide on Reforming Urban Laws in Africa.
The extraordinary projected rate and scale of urban growth in Africa between now and 2030 underscores the need to urgently develop urban laws and regulations that will create and shape cities that work more efficiently and treat people more fairly. New urban infrastructure has to be provided, new areas for urban growth developed, and new systems of governing and managing cities put in place. The rate at which African cities are growing and the scale of problems in urban governance and management demand immediate action to reverse entrenched, ineffective governance practices. The future of African cities must be one shaped by laws that address the lived experience of households and firms. These laws must have:
- Greater accountability and the rule of law
- Stronger forms of supervision and responsibility at different levels
- Consideration of capacities for implementation
- More effective legal instruments
- Better regulations related to the creation and protection of public spaces
- Better mechanisms for municipal income generation
- Better regulations to protect the 'commons'
- Better urban governance mechanisms and Human Rights
- Better rules and regulation for environmental sustainability
- Increased stability and security