What does it take to have a great City?

What does it take to have a great City?

If Kampala is to become a great City, four things it should consider seriously; Plant trees on massive scale, strictly enforce building plans, re-plan and reorganize it’s transport systems and lastly reshape her drainage stems to stop flooding. Without these everything is vanity.

It should be common knowledge that every city needs greenery not only for beauty but for anaesthetics. Progressive cities all over the world have urban forests, forest parks and green belts. The importance of these can’t be overemphasized. Cities are not about buildings only. Not every area in the city should be built up. It’s true that buildings have direct financial gains for the city in form of rental tax etc. Some people think that to allocate large chunks of land for urban parks is misuse of prime land in an urban area. The benefits of urban parks may not be very visible in terms of finances but they help the city to breathe as well as provide areas of relaxation for the residents.

Cities ought to strictly enforce building plans to the letter. Once plans are approved and conform to the wider city strategy, these should not be altered by the owners for selfish reasons. Every structure in the city should not be for the sole purpose of benefiting only the owners. It should rather be part of the larger city goals and aspirations. If a building for instance is not up to the intentions of the city designs, authorities should not hesitate to call the owners to order. However this should apply across the board and should not be discriminatory.

Nothing defines a city’s productiveness better than a functioning transport system and network. Urban mobility is the greatest puzzle facing urban managers and will remain so for a long time. Movement of people across the city determines access to services and goods. Thus. every progressive city has to invest a lot of resources to ensure better transport for the residents. If it means subsidizing transport services in the city, so be it. Some cities are too pre-occupied with making money from transport companies that they forget that an efficient transport system is the lifeline a good city. It’s in the interest of the city to have better transport than collecting small levies from operators.

A city like Kampala with hills and valleys is prone to flooding. Every effort should be made to ensure that sustainable storm water management solutions are sought and implemented. Floods make the city dysfunctional and shabby. Management of storm water depends on the overall city plans and layout. Failure to plan for evacuation of storm water means that some areas will be flooded every time it rains. Managing storm water should be the easiest of tasks for the city if at all they follow their plans well. If the above four elements are taken care of Kampala city will undoubtedly become great resilient city.