UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | In an important development for Uganda’s urbanisation process, the government has established the Interim Executive Council (IEC) of the Society of Professional Physical Planners of Uganda.
This nine-member council has been tasked with organising and promoting the profession of physical planning in Uganda.
The council will also play a crucial role in leading land use planning to ensure the orderly development of rapidly urbanising areas in the country.
During the inauguration ceremony at the National Physical Planning Board (NPPB) headquarters in Kampala on Tuesday 27th June 2023, the State Minister for Urban Development, Mr Mario Obiga Kania, emphasised the significance of physical planning in preventing vulnerability to natural disasters.
He highlighted the need to respect the voice of professionals in this field to safeguard cities from such risks. Mr Kania acknowledged the historical presence of physical planning in Uganda, even during the colonial era, citing examples like Kololo Hill being reserved for specific buildings.
He emphasised the importance of recognising and supporting physical planners to ensure effective urban development.
The Minister appointed the members of the IEC following the Physical Planners’ Registration Act, which became operational on January 20.
The IEC, chaired by Mr Brian Odella, has been given the responsibility of establishing structures and organising the inaugural general meeting of the Society of Physical Planners within one year. This meeting will be held to elect the substantive office bearers of the society.
In his acceptance speech, Chairman Odella acknowledged the challenges faced by physical planners in the absence of a legal framework to regulate their work and registration.
He highlighted the entry of unqualified individuals into the profession due to these gaps.
Physical planning, also known as urban or spatial planning, involves organising land for various purposes to ensure the organised development of human settlements, towns, and hinterlands.
However, due to underfunding, the lower ranking of the profession, and legal voids, planning standards have often been disregarded, leading to issues like urban sprawl, flooding, destruction of heritage sites, and inadequate transportation infrastructure.
Minister Kania urged the IEC to activate the Society of Professional Physical Planners to contribute to the well-planned development of cities and regions in Uganda.
Minister Kania tasked the IEC to activate the society of professional physical planners to deliver for Uganda well-planned cities and regions, adding “this is the opportunity for you to start singing your song”.
“If you allow other to sing your song, they will sing it and dance to it badly, because they don’t know how a physical planning song is sung,” he said, cryptically.
The Physical Planning Act of 2010, amended in 2020, designates the entire country of Uganda as a planning area due to the rapid urbanisation rate, which has reached 37%. This means that no physical development should take place without the approval of the local planning committee.
The IEC chairman, Mr Brian Odella, expressed his gratitude for the efforts made by the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development in promoting professional physical planning.
He acknowledged the importance of the legal framework and policies that have been put in place to support physical planning at both the national and local government levels.
Dr Amanda Ngabirano, Chairperson of the National Physical Planning Board, highlighted the long-overdue establishment of the Interim Executive Council and stressed the need to focus on eliminating unplanned developments and fostering professionalism among practitioners.
The members of the council expressed their determination to raise awareness about the role of physical/urban planners and provide services to communities in need.
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