Slow down the growth of megacities-City planners in Africa told

From: Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi, GNA Special Correspondent, Stockholm –Sweden (Courtesy, Sweden Institute, Embassy of Sweden-Abuja)

Stockholm (Sweden), April 27, GNA- Professor Thomas Elmqvist, Natural Resource Management, Stockholm University has challenged city planners in Africa to “slow down” the growth of megacities.

He said priority should be given to the development of small and medium scale cities to control traffic situations in the big cities, reduce rural-urban migration and improve sanitation.

Prof Elmqvist gave the challenge in a presentation on sustainable city planning in Stockholm, Sweden.

The presentation, mainly for the media was part of events commemorating UN Conference on Human Environment held in 1972 at Stockholm.

He said urban ecology and sustainability demanded that city planners de-congest cities and ensure that environmental friendly materials were used in building houses and office apartments.

Prof Elmqvist said for instance, bridges could be built with tree logs, not with concrete and green vegetation ensured at public institutions and residential areas for people to interact with nature.

He said such parks and green vegetations have significant positive relation to general health and could help reduce heat and flooding.

Prof Elmqvist suggested that industries should be relocated around rivers and lakes.

He  said sustainable city planning enhances socio-economic development and urged governments to demonstrate “practical” commitment to it.

“Politicians must bring environmentalists, developers and planners together to deliberate and take action,” Prof Elmqvist said.

He asked governments to spread developments to the countryside and desist from concentrating projects and infrastructure in urban areas.

Prof Elmqvist expressed the hope that equitable distribution of national resources would lessen pressure on cities and play-down environmental and sanitation challenges.

He emphasised the need to control population growth to ensure sustainable urbanisation.

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