Effective urban land use in Kampala against the backdrop of competing interests

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As part of a series of urban thinkers dialogues organized under the theme “The City We Need” – aimed at creating strategic platforms for multi-stakeholder engagements that can lead to a more transformative and sustainable urbanization process, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in partnership with Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children Welfare (UCOBAC) organized a high level dialogue, which will facilitated critical exchange between government departments, civil society and other key stakeholders on effective urban land use in Kampala against the backdrop of competing interests and needs.

Dialogue panelists

The dialogue focused on;

  • Recognizing different interests and needs in urban land use, e.g. in terms of hous
  • ing, commerce & business, industrial and infrastructure development, provision of services, and the environment
  • Exploring current urban planning procedures, especially with regards to reconciling different needs & interests, stakeholder participation, mandates & funding
  • Identifying gaps & challenges in regulatory frameworks, coordination, funding, and in dealing with competing interests and the political economy
  • Developing solutions and approaches to address above gaps and challenges for increased sustainable and effective urban land use.

Assoc. Prof. Lwasa Shuaib (Makerere University) presenting during the dialogue

Key Points:

  • Kampala has very complex land use activity systems, engendered by equally complex property and or land mkts, conflicting developments which favor the elite over smaller businesses, individualized rights which disregard public rights
  • Planning systems requires us to re-orient our thinking towards creating and harnessing opportunities that favor the majority rather than planning by the ‘book’ which benefits only a privileged few
  • To achieve this, we need to better understand the realities of our context, mainstream opportunities in land use and development policy and planning systems, enhance coordination and engagement between state and non-state actors and focussing on locally appropriate, scalable land use implementation