Thursday, 16 January 2014

A preliminary plan for integration of the lakefront in the city of Kisumu, Kenya -Weitz Center report

A  preliminary  plan  for  integration  of  the  lakefront  in
the  city  of  Kisumu,  Kenya

Mission  held  from  19  June  2013  to  5  July  2013
In  cooperation  with  MASHAV,  UN-­‐Habitat  and  Kisumu  County,  with  the  Weitz  Center  for
Development  Studies

Delegation:  Amandine  Desille  –  Project  coordinator,  Dr.  Yoel  Siegel  –  Community  Economic  Development,  and  Arch.  Guido  Segal  -­‐  Planning

Background:   His   Worship   Samuel   O.   Okello,   Mayor   of   Kisumu,   expressed   the   need   for   further  intervention  of  UN-­‐Habitat,  MASHAV  and  the  Weitz  Center  in  order  to  bring  forward  municipal  platform  and  planning  issue  in  Kisumu,  with  a  pilot  project  focusing  on  the  waterfront.  The  Council  and  UN-­‐Habitat  representatives  mentioned  the  flourishing  redevelopment  of  seafronts  in  Israeli  cities  as  well  as  the  past  successful  activities  organized  with  MASHAV  and  the  Weitz  Center.  Since  2009,   the   Weitz   Center   for   Development   Studies,   within   the   framework   of   MASHAV,   has  implemented  a  municipal  organization  strengthening  tool,  inspired  by  the  Israeli  model  of  ''Municipal  Strategic  Planning  Units''  (MSPU),  which  aims  at  fostering  horizontal  integration,  promoting  strategic  projects  and  operating  as  an  entry  point  for  diverse  development  programs.  Very  positive  feedbacks
were   given   by   the   Municipal   Council,   including   the   desire   of   continuing   the  cooperation   with  MASHAV  and  the  Weitz  Center.

Justification  of  the  project:  According  to  the  Kisumu  Rapid  Urban  Planning  Studio  Workshop's  results:

      - Kisumu  is  a  Kenyan  city  of  approximately  1  million  residents  with  a  growing  rate  of 2.6%  per  year

      - 73%  of  the  total  population  aged  below  30  years  old   - 60%  of  the  population  currently lives  in  informal  settlements

- 70%  of  its  land  surface  is  grossly  underutilized  with  sparse  or  no  development   - Kisumu  economy  relies  on  commerce  and  trade,  transportation,  agriculture  and  fishing

- Poverty  incidence  is  comparable  to  other  Kenyan  cities.   However,  the  report  states  that  due  to  its  central  location,  its  access  to  Lake  Victoria,  and  viable transport  infrastructure,  Kisumu  holds  the  potential  of  becoming  a  hub  for  the  region.  Moreover Kisumu’s  vision  is  tobecome  a  centre  of  knowledge,  tourism  and  commerce  excellence  in  the  East  Africa  region.

 Recommendations  formulated  in  the  report  were  a  basis  for  the  discussion  with  UN-­‐Habitat,  MASHAV  and  the  Municipality  of  Kisumu  and  the  program  developed  here.  The  proposed
program  wishes  to  relate  to  two  specific  aspects  of  the  wider  workshop's  recommendation,  which  are:

- Urban  Economy  and  Municipal  Finance:  The  program  will  assess  the  institutional  need  and
draw   the   roadmap   for   implementation   of   the   relevant   institutional   set -up (economic  corporation;  strategic  planning  unit)

- Lakefront   focus:   The   newly   established   municipal   platform   should   undertake   actions   to   redevelop  the  lakefront  including  setting  criteria  for  the  spatial  planning  of  the  area.

Additionally,   MASHAV,   Weitz   Center   and   UN-­‐Habitat   already   have   a   strong   presence   in   Israel.
MASHAV  currently  carries  out  four  projects  in  Kisumu;  UN-­‐Habitat  already  out  four  projects  in  Kisumu;  and  Weitz  Center  conducted  first  the  MSPU  project.  This  last  project  left  different  footprints  which  are  the  basis  for  a  follow-­‐up  work  in  the  area:
1)  Conceptual  aspects  are  left.  For  instance:  Adoption  of  jargon  from  strategic  planning,  the  lake
concept  shifted  from  curse  to  asset.
2)  Organizational  aspects  are  left.  The  MSPU  still  exists  but  with  less  staff;  There  is  no  process  of
strategic   planning;   However,   there   is   an   impact   at   organizational   level;   The   project   is   in   the
organization’s  memory.
3)  Content  aspects:  Work  that  the  MSPU  did  in  2010  is  a  base  for  other  strategic  documents.
Objectives  of  the  first  visit:  The  first  visit  aimed  at  assessing  the  current  situation,  notably  mapping  of:   local   assets,   stakeholders,   existing   municipal   platforms   and   existing   projects;   as   well   as  establishing  a  taskforce  with  relevant  stakeholders  in  Kisumu.  At  the  end  of  the  visit,  the  taskforce  is  provided  with  objectives,  activities  and  milestones.

Results:  UN-­‐Habitat  and  MASHAV  representatives  carried  out  a  wider  range  of  activities.  First  of  all, in  a  time  of  political  transition  and  reform,  it  was  crucial  to  understand  and  integrate  the  county  vision  in  our  plans  in  order  to  mobilize  county  and  municipal  staff.  The  team  translated  the  county  vision  in  projected  regional  plans.  It  is  worth  mentioning  that  it  was  the  first  time  that  county  representatives  and  staff  saw  a  mapping  of  the  flagship projects  under  the  new  vision.  The  team  provided   local   staff   with   conceptual   programs  and   lay-­‐out   plans   of   three   areas   of   the   Central  Business  District  (CBD):  the current  CBD  including  the  Kenya  Railway  Corporation  lands,  the  northern beach  strip  and  the  southern  beach  strip.  In  order  to  provide  funds  to  sustain  for  the  developments forecasted  in the  planning,  the  team  came  up  with  economic  mechanisms:  first,  the  creation  of an  economic  corporation  called  Special  Vehicle  Project  and  second,  the  establishment  of  a  special  tax zone  in  prime  area.  These  mechanisms  were  very  much  welcomed  by  the  county  representatives  and  staff  but  also  by  UN-­‐Habitat  management.  Finally,  the  key  result  at  institutional  level  is  the  collective  acknowledgement  that  statutory  planning  is  the  main  tool  to  stimulate  economic  development.  This  led  to  a  more  effective  mobilization  of  county  and  city  staff  for  the  follow-­‐up  component  led  by  the  Weitz  Center.  

click the link below to see -
Municipal Strategic Planning Project in Kisumu, Kenya Israeli experts at work in Kisumu