Rapid Urban Sector Profiling for Sustainability Studies (RUSPS) in Developing Countries: Implications for Urban Planning in Ondo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The cities in developing countries have been witnessing rapid and spontaneous growth in recent times resulting in a myriad of problems. The menace of urban sprawl and deteriorating environment, housing shortages, unemployment and other socio-economic and environmental problems prevalent in most developing countries has made new thinking and approaches to solving them indispensable if the security and welfare of city dwellers are to be guaranteed. The urban crisis in developing countries has attracted the attention of scholars, decision makers, donors and multilateral agencies globally and consequently the design of policies and programmes to combat it. Therefore, as part of UN-HABITAT drive to address cities' crisis associated rapid urbanization in conjunction with the European Commission (EC) and other partners to support sustainable city development and also be able to address their urgent and diverse needs, found it necessary to develop a tool for rapid urban assessment to guide immediate and mid- and long-term interventions. Land use planning has witnessed notable changes in concept, scope, methodology and content in the last four decades. The process of land use planning had become more inclusive and participatory and engaging city dwellers to provide relevant information, identify and prioritize development opportunities, which must form the basis for formulating a flexible city development strategy/ structure plan as opposed to the old rigid 'master plan' (Falade, 2009). The latest methodology or approach being utilized following the leadership of UN-Habitat is known as Rapid Sector Profiling for Sustainability studies (RUSPS) first developed by the UN--HABITAT working with the European Commission on urban sector profile study in Somalia in 2003.

The Rapid Urban Sector Profiling is the first phase of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) and it is designed to support the achievement of Target 11 of the Millennium Development Goals by setting up slum improvement action plans in selected countries and towns. It applies inclusive urban governance and management using participatory methods to implement slum upgrading activities. Target beneficiaries of the programme include the urban poor, women-headed households and marginalized groups (UN-HABITAT, 2008). The Urban Sector profiling exercise has been extensively researched, piloted and developed with the goal of enabling improved and more effective urban management and implementation at the national and local levels. The first phase of the Urban Sector Profiling was successfully implemented in over 20 countries and has contributed to public policy to the extent that countries such as Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Nigeria have opted to finance the programme themselves. All in all, around 40 countries are now partnering to incorporate this study and process into their current urban management structures to better identify and agree on urban development capacity building and investment priorities (UN-HABITAT, 2008)

It is against the above scenarios, that this paper seeks to examine RUSPS approach to improving city planning and management structure in contemporary developing countries. The overriding aim is to outline its implications for urban planning in Ondo state, Nigeria. In doing this, the paper identifies and discusses the major components of the methodology, its relevance as well as its application generally to the articulation of structure plans aimed at providing city development strategies to meet MDGs targets in developing countries especially in Africa that has been identified as lagging behind in meeting MDGs targets. And finally discusses its city planning implication in Ondo state where it is current a state activity as against the widespread local level activity in most developed societies.

2. CONCEPTUAL CONSIDERATIONS AND RELEVANT LITERATURE

Urban planning is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient and attractive places for present and future generations (APA, 2006). …