UN Habitat I: The Vancouver Action Plan
The UN’s 1976 Habitat I conference in Vancouver produced The Vancouver Declaration. The Declaration was accompanied by the Vancouver Action Plan (also known as “64 Recommendations for National Action”).
While the work of many—as all UN declarations and documents are—this portion of the Vancouver Declaration known as the Vancouver Action Plan owes a great deal to the genius of the conference’s Deputy Secretary-General Duccio Turin, as well as to the brilliant Canadian policy writer and the conference’s Commissioner-General of the Canadian Habitat Secretariat, the late Jim MacNeill (RIP 2016). It was also influenced by economist Barbara Ward, who wrote Habitat ’76’s theme book The Home of Man.
If we had heeded the Plan’s recommendations over the past 40 years, many countries in the global north and south would not be in the situations they are in today, Canada most especially. Last year Jim MacNeill remarked to me “what’s happening with real estate in Canadian towns and cities is indecent.” We are in a property bubble that is leaving our banks exposed and people on the streets, and in a wealthy country of only 44 million people. If we can’t fix this, who can? Some countries in the global north and south are controlling this a little better, but with the amount of money sloshing around the global economy with nowhere else to go but into land and real estate, we are in a great deal of trouble if something isn’t done soon.
Please see section D. The language may surprise many.
See also Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements
Vancouver Action Plan – 64 Recommendations for National Action
Approved at Habitat: United Nations Conference
Shelter, infrastructure and services
Institutions and management
A. Settlement policies and strategies
1. The goals and objectives of human settlement policies and strategies are recalled in the Declaration of Principles of the Habitat Conference.
2. To achieve these goals and objectives, national settlement policies must be formulated and the means for implementation must be selected and combined into national development strategies. These strategies must then be incorporated in the general planning framework, and the specific goals must become an integral part of national development objectives.
3. The ideologies of States are reflected in their human settlement policies. These being powerful instruments for change, they must not be used to dispossess people from their homes and their land, or to entrench privilege and exploitation. The human settlement policies must be in conformity with the declaration of principles/1 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
4. Human settlements of today embody the outcome of generations of ideas, decisions and physical investments; it is not possible, therefore, to achieve radical modifications overnight. But population growth and rapid changes in the location of human activities proceed at such a pace that, by the end of the century we shall have to build “another world on top of the present one”. If properly directed, this formidable task could mobilize untapped resources and be turned into a unique opportunity for changing our man-made environment: this is the challenge of human settlement strategies.
5. In fact, the very construction of the physical components of human settlements – be they rural or urban, in the form of dwellings or roads, with traditional or modern technologies – in sufficient volume to meet the needs of society, could become a leading sector of the economy and a major generator of meaningful employment, instead of being treated as a residual of so-called “productive” activities.
6. It must be remembered also that, throughout the world, the present role of human activities was determined by economic, social and political relationships, many of which are by now obsolete. In the early industrialized countries of the northern hemisphere, the pattern of settlements still bears the marks of the ruthless urbanization of the last century; in the third world, both the hierarchy of settlements and, very often, their internal structures are the physical manifestation of the dual society inherited-from a situation of dependence and exploitation. To change these complex and evolving relationships, settlement policies and strategies must be conceived on a scale appropriate to the task and as part of a single concerted effort for the improvement of the quality of life of all people, wherever they live and work.
Recommendation A.1 A
Every aspect of human settlements: social, environmental, cultural and psychological is profoundly affected by the level of economic development, population growth and movements, as well as social relationships. The task of dealing with the consequential and rapid changes in the range and location of human activities, within the constraints of limited resources presents both a new challenge and a unique opportunity to achieve more balanced development in every nation.
All countries should establish as a matter of urgency a national policy on human settlements, embodying the distribution of population, and related economic and social activities, over the national territory.
Such a policy should:
Be based on the goals and objectives stated in the Declaration of Principles;
There are fundamental relationships among the distribution of population, environment, economic activities, and the pattern of human settlements. National policies for economic and social development can no longer afford to neglect or minimize the role of human settlements
A national policy for human settlements and the environment should be an integral part of any national economic and social development policy.
An integrated human settlement policy should:
Be formulated through a truly interdisciplinary approach, concurrently with policies relating to other aspects of social and economic development;
Be formulated at the highest political level, in co-operation and co-ordination with regional and local levels as appropriate;
Be consistent with the preservation, restoration and improvement of the natural and man-made environment, cognizant of the positive role of environment in national economic and social development;
Be directed at all settlements, rural and urban, dispersed and concentrated, old and new;
Be considered in all efforts to implement the New International Economic Order;
Take into account the changing roles and responsibilities of women and the impact of developments and programmes on women, both as participants and beneficiaries.
Institutions responsible for planning and programmes at all levels, should receive clear guidelines from an explicit policy statement on human settlement issues.
A national human settlements policy should concentrate on key issues and provide basic directions for action.
Such a policy should:
Promote the goals and objectives of national development and translate these into spatial terms;
Outline strategies appropriate to different time perspectives and different scales;
Establish priorities among regions and areas, especially in relation to the location of investment and infrastructure and the satisfaction of the needs of various social groups;
Be led by public sector action, and aim at the welfare of the people, with priority to the most deprived;
Set minimum and maximum standards which should be expressed in qualitative and quantitative terms, based on indigenous values, related to local resources and abilities, capable of evolving over time and developed with the full participation of all those concerned.
Human settlements in most countries are characterized by wide disparities in living standards from one region to another, between urban and rural areas, within individual settlements and among various social and ethnic groups. Such discrepancies exacerbate many human settlement problems, and, in some instances, reflect inadequate planning. Human settlement policies can be powerful tools for the more equitable distribution of income and opportunities.
Human settlements policies should aim to improve the condition of human settlements particularly by promoting a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development among regions; and by making such benefits and public services equally accessible to all groups.
This can be done through:
The location of public sector investments;
The allocation of direct subsidies and priority of investment, to selected disadvantaged regions and groups;
The use of incentives and disincentives – fiscal, legal or other – to favour or discourage selected activities or areas;
The creation of special employment, training and social services opportunities in favour of the most deprived;
The deliberate improvement of conditions in the most disadvantaged settlements, so as to enhance attraction of such areas in relation to others;
Measures to improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups which have special needs – such as children, the elderly, the handicapped and the disabled. Such measures include provision of basic social services, adequate shelter and social and physical access to facilities.
An effective human settlements policy concerned with progress requires a strategy which confronts all the relevant issues, makes the necessary choice of means and options and indicates trade-offs in resource and time dimensions. That strategy should also reflect the hierarchy of human settlements and allow for future changes.
National human settlements strategies must be explicit, comprehensive and flexible.
Such a strategy requires:
Definition of socio-economic variables and physical development patterns, and of guidelines for staging and degree of concentration of development programmes;
Designation of the body responsible for policy formulation;
Active participation of all governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations concerned in policy formulation and strategy development;
Active co-operation and participation of all sectors of the population must be obtained:
A means for periodic review to take into account new important developments;
Particular reference to the major infrastructure networks – transport, energy and communication- and the essential administrative and financial systems.
The resources available for improving the quality of life in human settlements are limited when compared with people’s needs and expectations. Those resources are also too often misallocated; where resources are especially scarce the human potential is often ignored.
The improvement of quality of life in human settlements must receive higher priority in the allocation of conventional resources, which ought to be carefully distributed between the various components of human settlements; it also requires the planned use of scarce resources and the mobilization of new resources, in particular human capacities.
Particular attention should be given to:
Making true social costs and benefits the basis for policy decision and evaluation, and not only material product;
Allocating resources on a spatial as well as sectoral basis, with a view to improving efficiency and accountability;
Encouraging self-help, self-reliance and the organization of interregional solidarity;
Research priority for critical factors in the development of human settlements, especially energy and technologies;
Development of new sources of finance, with suitable terms and conditions.
Because of their complexity, dynamism and persistence, human settlement problems require sustained national attention and continual reassessment.
Governments should report publicly on a continuous evaluation of human settlements conditions.
This may involve:
A permanent national body reviewing human settlement problems and issues;
1/ In the report of Committee II (A/CONF.70/10) submitted to Plenary the following footnote appeared: “Subject to the action to be taken by the Conference on the Declaration of Principles”.
B. Settlement planning
1. Planning is a process to achieve the goals and objectives of national development through the rational and efficient use of available resources. Thus plans must include clear goals and adequate policies, objectives and strategies along with concrete programmes.
2. Planning activities should promote and guide development rather than restrict or simply control it. Imaginative planning should be stimulative and anticipatory; in many cases it might have to remain open-ended and in all cases it should consider options and be based on the best available information and forecasting of demographic, social, economic and technological trends.
3. Although a strict hierarchical order is inappropriate for understanding the network of human settlements and the levels of decisions required to act upon them, it may be convenient to assume that planning is conducted at different scales of geographical coverage: national, regional, local and neighbourhood. To achieve balanced development, planning decisions taken at one level must be related and complementary to those taken at other levels, both “above” and “below”, and appropriate machinery must be devised to resolve potential conflicts between them.
4. Planning also operates over significantly different time spans, from a few years up to a generation and more. Decisions taken at one level and within a time framework may have important consequences at another level and on a broader time perspective. The longer the horizon, the more important it is for settlement planning to remain flexible in order to adapt to changing priorities or conditions.
5. In this constant process of adjustments and reconciliation, the notion of region becomes central to settlement planning as a unit smaller than the national whole but larger than the individual settlement itself, however big that may be. More and more countries are faced with the problems posed by metropolitan regions, centred around a very large urban complex, but sometimes spreading until they become contiguous with others. Other regions, especially in the third world comprise predominantly rural populations and require equal, although different, attention in planning terms.
6. In developing countries most people live in rural areas and will continue to do so notwithstanding considerable movement to urban areas. Given the urgent need to improve the quality of life of these people, which have been hitherto relatively neglected, planning and development of rural settlements should become a focus of national development policies and programmes. National cultures have strong roots in the villages, and form a vital resource of great potential in development and therefore must be recognized in development strategies. Growth, change and social transformation have meaning only if they touch rural peoples. Planning for rural settlement development must be holistic and on a local basis within regions so as to mobilize and use all available resources.
7. However, the majority of planning decisions and their implementation will continue to occur at the level of the individual settlement. Planning of individual settlements is oriented to solve the problems derived from the relationship between the environment, and the political, social and economic context, in a continuous process of change and mutual adjustment. The physical ambit of planning of individual settlements is concerned with the best use of the present stock – through renewal, rehabilitation and other forms of improvement – and the integration of marginal or peripheral settlements or the creation of new ones. The relative emphasis on each approach will depend on local circumstances, social values and political priorities.
8. Human settlement planning must seek to improve the quality of the life of people with full respect for indigenous, cultural and social needs. Settlement planning and implementation for the purpose of prolonging and consolidating occupation and subjugation in territories and lands acquired through coercion and intimidation must not be undertaken and must be condemned as a violation of United Nations principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
9. Planning is no less important at the community level where the direct involvement of residents in the decisions affecting their daily lives can be achieved most effectively. At this, and the neighbourhood level, it is essential that planning and design be at the human scale and so contribute to good personal and social relationships in settlements.
10. Finally, planning is crucial in the wake of natural emergencies, such as those resulting from natural or man-made disasters, there the meeting of immediate needs must be reconciled with the achievement of long-term goals.
Human settlements do not just happen. They are the result of a multitude of needs and decisions, both public and private. The challenge of planning is to see that such decisions are explicit and coherent, are part of an over-all effort to resolve conflicts and achieve social justice and the best utilization of resources. These are essential to an improved quality of life.
Settlement and environmental planning and development must occur within the framework of the economic and social planning process at the national, regional and local levels.
Special emphasis should be placed on:
Promotion of balanced development for all regions;
A unified development planning approach which attributes to human settlements their proper place by treating them as an integral part of the development process rather than a residual, and by stressing the human settlement implications of other sections of development plans;
Recognition of the difficulties inherent in a truly comprehensive approach and the need to evolve and employ suitable methods and procedures, adapted to actual conditions and subject to continual improvement;
Planning as a continuing process and must be effectively linked to institutions which implement the actual development of settlements.
The character of a nation is made visible in its settlements. Foreign models must not dominate planning decisions which should be guided by national goals and implemented by local people making the best possible use of indigenous resources, within the context of local culture and environment.
Settlement planning should reflect national regional and local priorities and use models based on indigenous values.
Special emphasis should be placed on:
Ensuring that national goals and objectives are reflected in human settlement planning, in particular social justice, employment opportunities, economic self-sufficiency and cultural relevancy;
Actively supporting research and training in appropriate technologies required for settlement planning and development;
Demonstrating the advantages of local planning approaches based on appropriate values, in particular through pilot projects;
Bringing planning and planners in close contact with the people, with particular reference to the expressed needs and aspirations of the poor and other disadvantaged and the potential for self-determination.
Too often in the past, human settlement planning has lacked realism. This not only fails to take account of resource limitations but often wastes the few resources actually available, especially human initiative and imagination.
Settlement planning should be based on realistic assessment, and management, of the resources actually and potentially available for development.
It is essential that:
Availability of resources be placed in an appropriate time context, corresponding to short, medium and long-term development goals;
Assessment of the present situation be thorough and frank, without minimizing
difficulties, potential conflicts or need for change;
A comprehensive national ecological and demographic inventory be prepared to guide long-range settlement planning;
Planning of physical and social structures and the pursuit of socio-economic goals should be realistic but not determined solely by current availability of resources, although this affects the time span needed to achieve these objectives;
Evaluation of alternatives be based on broad criteria, truly reflecting social and environmental values, development objectives and national priorities;
Potential for innovation be recognized, particularly in social and technical systems;
Special technical and managerial skills be developed and motivated;
Capacities of handicapped, and other disadvantaged groups be recognized as a resource.
Some planning decisions are of national importance. Although requiring local, regional and sectoral inputs, they must ultimately be made at the national level.
Settlement planning at the national level must be concerned with the co-ordination of those developments, activities and resources that have national significance. These are particularly, the general distribution of population, the significance of development of certain economic sectors, and certain infrastructure components.
This would include:
Designation of major types of land use and their potential;
Location of major sources of sustained and productive employment;
Definition of a coherent set of relationships between settlements or groups over the territory;
Introduction of regions as an intermediate level of planning, where local interest can be reconciled with national objectives;
Identification of regions or areas requiring special attention: those that are particularly deprived, offer unusual potential, or need special protection;
Outlining the principal infrastructure network as well as the broad distribution of social services;
Provision for elements of vital importance for health and survival, especially clean and safe water, clean air and food.
Regional planning is an essential tool for reconciling and co-ordinating the objective of urban and rural development. A major planning problem in predominantly rural areas is the economical provision of employment opportunities, adequate services, and infrastructure to widely dispersed populations.
Planning for rural areas should aim to stimulate their economic and social institutions, improve general living conditions, and overcome disadvantages of scattered populations.
The following should be considered:
Development of a system of intermediate settlements with sufficient dynamism to counteract the attraction of the great metropolises;
Designation of towns of appropriate size as social, economic and cultural centres for their rural hinterland;
Development of growth poles for relatively undeveloped regions, contingent on development potential and local aspirations;
Designation of rural development regions of many villages, with boundaries reflecting socio-economic and ecological relationships, to aid provision of efficient and economical facilities and services;
Schemes for village amalgamation and programmes of shared services and facilities which cannot be provided to dispersed populations;
The need to save land from excessive exploitation of national and regional resources;
Creation of new employment opportunities and increasing economic productivity to reduce the disparities between rural and urban areas;
Development of rural regional institutions responsible for settlements planning.
Megalopolises and other large urban areas are an increasing phenomena. Their nature and their relationships with surrounding rural areas, are extremely complex. Only effective comprehensive regional planning can cope with this complexity.
Planning for metropolitan regions should aim at an integrated approach over the territory affected by the metropolis, and include all major functions.
Urgent measures include:
Provision of institutions and a revenue base commensurate with their role. This could be a metropolitan tier of government or a special planning authority to deal with a cluster of interrelated problems requiring an integrated solution;
Modification of the boundaries of metropolitan areas, as well as of local government units within those areas, to correspond to functional and natural limits.
Co-ordinated provision of food, water and energy supplies, transportation, disposal of solid and fluid waste, pollution control measures, education and health delivery systems;
Protection of regional ecology.
Individual settlements of all sizes must be guided in their orderly development by plans reflecting local requirements and conditions. This should occur within the framework set by national and regional planning.
Local planning must be concerned with social and economic factors, and the location of activities and the use of space over time.
This means in particular:
Designation of general land-use patterns and changes over time;
Location of main activities with special attention to their relationships;
Provision of infrastructure networks and systems required to link activities on the basis of economy, safety, convenience and environmental impact;
Definition of basic standards reflecting the needs of the people, to eliminate waste and achieve an equitable distribution;
Recognition of the need to phase and direct development through the timely provision of concentrated infrastructure and services, and the deferral of such provision in areas not yet appropriate for urban development;
The need to eliminate personal alienation and isolation and social and economic segregation;
Formulation of social and economic programmes of development.
Settlement planning cannot merely focus on new urban development for many settlements already exist. The improvement, renewal and rehabilitation of these settlements should therefore be continuous. They thus present a major challenge in improvement of quality of life, and of the existing fabric of settlements. When ill-conceived it may result in the destruction of the economic and social fabric of entire neighbourhoods.
Settlements must be continuously improved – renewal and rehabilitation of existing settlements must be oriented to improving living conditions, functional structures and environmental qualities. The process must respect the rights and aspirations of inhabitants, especially the least advantaged, and preserve the cultural and social values embodied in the existing fabric.
Special attention should be paid to:
Upgrading and preserving the existing stock through the development and use of low-cost techniques, and the direct involvement of the present inhabitants;
Undertaking major clearance operations only when conservation and rehabilitation are not feasible and relocation measures are made;
Providing for the welfare of the affected inhabitants especially with respect to employment opportunities and basic infrastructure;
Preserving the area’s social and cultural fabric which may be the only de facto source of social services including care of children and the aged, maternity care, apprenticeship, employment information and security.
Expected population growth and migration mean that urban expansion will be the most common and universal development challenge. However, urban expansion can take the form of urban sprawl, and it is then costly, wasteful and ecologically destructive.
Urban expansion should be planned within a regional framework, and co-ordinated with urban renewal to achieve comparable living conditions in old and new areas.
It requires special provision for:
Securing legislation, legal instruments and regulations;
Institutions for management of land acquisition and development;
Securing fiscal and financial resources;
Active participation of a well-informed public;
Protection of ecosystems and critical land;
Improved development of existing urban land use through innovative and creative measures;
Integrated development of basic services, facilities and amenities;
Employment opportunity and access to work places;
Integration and improvement of squatter and marginal settlements.
The expansion and renewal of existing settlements is sometimes not appropriate, and new settlements can then be appropriate. They can also serve to stimulate under-developed regions or be associated with exploitation of specific resources.
New settlements should be planned within a regional framework, to achieve national settlement strategies and development objectives.
Special attention should be paid to:
The use of new settlements to improve and harmonize the structuring of national settlements network;
Relating new settlement programmes to the renewal and expansion of existing settlements;
Integrating the new settlements with regional and national plans, particularly with regard to the distribution of employment;
Flexible phasing of programmes over time to accommodate important changes in the rate of growth, age structure and social composition of the population;
Applying innovative social and physical design concepts and technologies, including architecture at the human scale;
Avoiding social problems, especially social segregation and isolation;
Establishing optimum densities according to indigenous needs and means, and in accord with the social and cultural characteristics of the inhabitants.
Just as all human settlement planning must be an integral part of national development planning, so planning for individual rural settlements must be part and parcel of planning for general rural development in a region or nation.
Planning for the improvement of individual rural settlements should take into account the present and expected structure of rural occupations, and of appropriate distribution of employment opportunities, services and facilities.
Particular attention should be paid to:
Appropriate location of market places, community centres, potable water supply, health and education facilities and transport services including loading terminals;
Respect for local customs and traditions as well as to new needs and requirements;
Use of local resources and traditional techniques and styles of construction.
The special interests of children and their parents, the elderly and the handicapped, come into focus at the neighbourhood level.
Neighbourhood planning should give special attention to the social qualities, and provision of facilities, services and amenities, required for the daily life of the inhabitants.
Particular emphasis should be given to:
Needs of children and their parents, the elderly and the handicapped;
Community involvement in the planning, implementation and management of neighbourhood schemes;
Better integration of neighbourhood development, housing and facilities;
Readily accessible facilities and services;
Preservation of traditional patterns of relationships consistent with current aspirations;
The links between neighbourhood planning and other planning levels.
Temporary settlements, such as those for limited resource exploitation, construction camps, and those resulting from emergencies, are sometimes inevitable. However, such settlements often have a tendency to survive long after their original purpose.
Planning for temporary human settlements should provide for community needs, and the integration of such settlements, where appropriate, into the permanent network of settlements.
This may be achieved by:
Providing suitable shelter and services;
Phased integration into existing settlement networks as appropriate;
Allowance for growth and change in functions of buildings and related services;
Continuous assessment of the economic and social viability of temporary settlements.
Too many settlements are destroyed or badly damaged as a consequence of natural or man-made disasters. Some natural disasters can be predicted, at least in part, and precautionary measures taken to save lives and reduce material loss. But until methods of forestalling natural disasters are improved, and until war is eliminated, Governments are faced with the problems of reconstruction and rehabilitation of severely damaged settlements.
Planning for human settlements should avoid known hazards which could lead to natural disaster. The planning of reconstruction after natural or man-made disasters should be used as an opportunity to improve the quality of the whole settlement, its functional and spatial pattern and environment.
In particular by:
Improving the technologies to forecast and mitigate the effects of disasters;
Providing for pre-disaster training in disaster-prone areas;
Establishing agencies with adequate authority and skills to undertake the immediate relief and long-term reconstruction of the whole settlement of the area;
Providing for the basic needs of the affected population, especially the temporary or permanent relocation of survivors, and the involvement of survivors in related plans and programmes.
Providing for a National Disaster Fund;
Co-ordinating the use of all local, national and international resources for prevention and reconstruction;
Learning from the lessons of similar experiences for planning before, during and after disasters.
Almost all people choose to live in a fixed habitat. There are, none the less, important groups or people in many countries who have a traditional culture based on frequent or regular movement from one place to another within a broader area. The unique habitat needs of such groups must receive consideration taking into account their cultural values.
The spatial, social, economic and cultural needs of mobile groups must receive special planning attention at local, as well as regional and national levels.
This must involve:
Development of special means of identifying the needs of these groups;
Training and counselling for those persons or groups which choose freely to settle in one or a few locations;
Development of special facilities and techniques to provide health and education services;
Assistance with shelter – fixed or portable – food and water, consistent with cultural values;
International co-operation in developing appropriate government responses.
If human settlement planning is conceived in static and prescriptive terms, it can become an obstacle to balanced development geared to meet changing realities and rising aspirations.
Planning at all scales must be a continuing, process requiring co-ordination, monitoring evaluation and review, both for different levels and functions as well as feedback from the people affected.
It is essential that:
Planning be comprehensive, timely and action-oriented;
Planning be backed by firm political commitment to action;
Reviews of the planning process should not be isolated exercises for planning must continually evolve;
Planning information be exchanged between all levels of government, and sectors of society, not just officials and professionals.
C. Shelter, infrastructure and services
1. The fabric of human settlements consists of physical elements and services to which these elements provide the material support.
2. The physical components comprise shelter, i.e., the superstructures of different shape size, type and materials erected by mankind for security, privacy and protection from the elements and for his singularity within a community; and infrastructure, i.e. the complex networks designed to deliver to or remove from the shelter people, goods, energy or information. Services cover those required by a community for the fulfilment of its functions as a social body, such as education, health, culture, welfare, recreation and nutrition.
3. Shelter, connected to infrastructure and provided with services, makes up individual settlements at different scales: the dwelling units, the cluster of dwelling units, the neighbourhood, the village, the town the metropolis. Another kind of infrastructure establishes connexions between settlements, to form networks at the regional, national and international levels.
4. The quality of life is obviously determined by the availability and quality of these components. The overriding objectives of settlement policies should be to make shelter, infrastructure and services available to those who need them, in the sequence in which they are needed and at a monetary or social cost they can afford. Social justice depends on the way in which these facilities are distributed among the population and the extent to which they are made accessible.
5. The needs for shelter, infrastructure and services are nearly always greater than the capacity of public authorities to provide them. That is why, throughout the world but especially in the developing countries, people have traditionally provided housing and rudimentary services for themselves and will continue to do so in the future. The establishment of standards and the allocation of resources should reflect this basic fact.
6. In providing shelter, infrastructure and services to meet the needs of the population, the issue of location is extremely important. Time is a resource whose use must be planned as well as that of space to which it is related. If the improvement of the quality of life in human settlements is to become a reality, housing must be close to employment, schools and clinics must be placed near the dwelling, food production must be associated with food consumption. and so on.
7. The provision of shelter, infrastructure and services also raises technological issues in terms of choices between alternative combinations of inputs to obtain a required output. Many vital decisions in this area are taken early in the process, i.e. at the design stage, although their implications are far-reaching in terms of future use, employment generation, income distribution, import dependence or social, environmental and cultural impact. Other decisions concern the construction process itself, which, in a majority of countries, accounts for two thirds of total fixed capital formation and employs up to one worker out of five.
8. But the production of the asset, be it a house, class-room or mile of road, is only the beginning of a long process during which, the asset, if it is to retain its usefulness, must be maintained, repaired, adapted, renovated and eventually demolished. Choices concerning standards, materials and technology should consider resource requirements over the whole expected life of the asset and not merely the monetary cost of its initial production.
9. In the fields of education, health, nutrition and other social services, the accent should be on relevance and justice, the latter being inseparable from the former. Especially in the third world, institutionalized services tend to place excessive emphasis on quantitative measurements of delivery and material supports, and not enough on the quality of the service itself and the equality of access by those most in need of it.
10. Human settlements constitute the framework within which satisfaction is given to the needs and aspirations of peoples in consonance with the principles of human dignity. The realization of this objective requires the promotion of three principles: employment generating activities; activities to satisfy the needs of shelter, infrastructure and services; and activities necessary to encourage the public participation in the solution of these problems. These activities should be planned in co-operation with all interested sectors acting in an integrated and co-ordinated manner.
11. The provision of shelter should be recognized as only one element in providing for living in a community. The concept of shelter should therefore be seen as embracing planning and construction in a wider context – something much greater than building of houses – to include planning for life in a community. This should include provision for living space, for work, for education and for social relationships within the community. In building programmes and in providing infrastructure and service facilities for the community, Governments should promote the community’s cultural heritage, such as building styles in representative zones, open space usage, and historical monuments. In undertaking new construction, the authorities should endeavour to conserve all those values which might promote, increase and guarantee equilibrium between the natural landscape and the human activities in the environment.
12. Regarding the choices for alternative uses of energy, dependence on sources of energy currently known to be hazardous to the environment should be considered in the context of its environmental impact and in conformity with national development priorities.
Shelter, infrastructure and services, are three principal components of human settlements. They are physically, economically, environmentally, socially and culturally interrelated. Though it may not always be possible or necessary to supply them simultaneously they will be more costly and less appropriate if planned in isolation from one another.
Shelter, infrastructure and services should be planned in an integrated way and provided in the sequence appropriate to circumstances.
This objective can be achieved by:
Prior announced decisions, advance planning and sufficient lead time to provide the framework for actual development and provision of shelter, infrastructure and services in proper sequence;
Phasing development over several stages and regulating the flow of financial resources in accordance with the sequence of operations envisaged in each phase;
Encouraging the formation of consortia and co-operativye arrangements among the main development agents, both public and private, for better scheduling and co-ordination of operations;
Development of new budgetary techniques and improvement in existing techniques to reflect changes in programmes over time, to present financial data in spatial terms and to secure budgets in an integrated way.
Shelter, infrastructure and services are not only essential for meeting basic human needs; they are also tools for improving living conditions, achieving social justice, shaping the pattern and character of settlements, and creating employment opportunities.
In meeting essential human needs the provision of shelter, infrastructure and services must be geared to achieving the over-all objectives of national development.
Special emphasis should be placed on:
Employment generation by using labour-intensive construction in areas with abundant human resources, and by a combination of settlement improvement with measures creating permanent employment opportunities;
Redistribution of income to achieve equity and social justice;
Opening of new frontier areas and utilization of untapped natural resources;
Massive and effective mobilization of financial material and human resources, including the encouragement of voluntary activity, for deployment in programmes and projects, e.g. in rural public works;
Combination of the preceding measures along with effective training programme.
Recommendation C.3 Standards for shelter, infrastructure and services
The seriousness and realism of a nation’s commitment to its social objectives are reflected also in the standards it sets for shelter, infrastructure and services.
Standards for shelter, infrastructure and services should be compatible with local resources, be evolutionary, realistic, and sufficiently adaptable to local culture and conditions, and be established by appropriate government bodies.
In particular they should:
Be based on the assessment of felt needs and priorities of the population rather than the adaptation of imported requirements;
Be tested in real life conditions and reflected in public sector programmes which have powerful demonstration effects;
Be evolutionary to accommodate changing needs of society, progress in technology and shifting patterns in the availability of resources;
Conserve scarce resources and reduce the dependence on foreign technologies, resources and materials:
Give prominence to the human dimension through active public participation in their elaboration and application;
Include, in disaster-prone areas, preventive measures conceived so as to minimize loss of life, injury and destruction.
Recommendation C.4 Designs and technologies for shelter, infrastructure and services
There is a wide range of choices in the search for an adequate response to expressed needs in terms of shelter, infrastructure and services. Some of these decisions concern the form, composition and location of the components of human settlements, others relate more specifically to the combination of inputs required to obtain a given output but all have a determinant effect on the quality of life in human settlements.
The choice of designs and technologies for shelter, infrastructures and services should reflect present demands while being able to adapt to future needs and make the best use of local resources and skills and be capable of incremental improvement.
The solutions arising from such choices should therefore be:
Evolutionary and innovative in character in order to keep pace with national development and the discovery of new techniques and materials;
Based on the best possible use of available local materials and local resources within a process of constructive rationalization allowing for the effective use of locally existing know-how and unskilled labour in countries with abundant manpower, thereby generating employment and income;
Simple to understand, adapt and apply;
Recommendation C.5 Energy
Human settlements are consuming more and more energy just when mankind has become aware of the need to cease environmentally degrading and wasteful use of non-renewable energy resources.
The efficient utilization of energy and its various mixes, should be given special consideration in the choice of designs and technologies for human settlements, especially the relative location of work places and dwellings.
This may be achieved by:
Reducing energy consumption by chances in land-use planning, building design, living patterns and appropriate transportation systems including emphasis on mass transportation;
Identifying and developing new sources of energy, and promoting more efficient use of energy resources, for example through innovative approaches in design and management and through financial and other incentives for energy conservation and through disincentives for wasteful consumption;
Adapting techniques for the production of building materials, for building construction and for the operation of buildings to lower energy requirements, taking into account initial and maintenance costs as well as environmental and social considerations;
Emphasizing where possible the use of renewable over non-renewable energy sources and the rationalization of technologies which are currently known to be hazardous to the environment;
Design and use of systems which are less susceptible to power failures over large areas due to disasters;
Developing and implementing special small-scale power generating, delivery and use systems more appropriate for water supply, rural electrification, and district heating and cooling, including the utilization of solar and geothermal energy and heat pumps as appropriate.
The expense of design, manufacture and installation of shelter, infrastructure and services are only partial measures of the true cost of assets which are usually long-lasting.
In choosing alternatives for shelter, infrastructure and services account should be taken of their social, environmental and economic costs and benefits including that of future management, maintenance and operations as well as capital costs.
A revision of current budgeting methods which separate capital from operating costs;
Changes in public lending and subsidy policies to reflect total cost and provide incentives to minimize it;
A review of cost accounting methods to calculate total cost;
The exchange of experience and the systematic collection of information on maintenance and operating costs of alternative designs placed in different geographic, climatic and social contexts;
In disaster-prone areas an awareness that additional building costs required for safety are offset by reduced loss of life and property and the continuity of services;
Consideration for the durability of structures, especially in cases of transitional occupancy, and for the education of owners/occupants as to the proper care of shelter units:
The establishment of a methodology for measuring the quality of life standards achieved within each alternative in terms of efficiency and equity.
Recommendation C.7 National construction industry
The development of an indigenous construction industry is still an untapped resource in many nations where genuinely local firms, small or large, are often in need of assistance.
The special importance of the construction industry should be recognized by every nation and the industry should be given the political, financial and technical support it requires to attain the national objectives and the production targets required for human settlements.
Special attention should be given to:
Removing obstacles to the development of the local construction industry;
Establishing performance standards suited to local requirements and capable of being met by local industry;
Simplifying formal procedures so that they can be clearly understood and followed by local entrepreneurs;
Expanding the training of local entrepreneurs, especially in the field of contract management and procedures;
Providing finance, guarantees and, if necessary, selective subsidies to local industry, particularly at the early stages;
Achieving the human, social and environmental objectives established by each community.
Recommendation C.8 Construction by the informal sector
The scale and nature of requirements for shelter, infrastructure and services in many countries is such that even with government help the modern construction sector is inadequate for the task. The so~called “informal sector” has proved its ability to meet the needs of the less advantaged in many parts of the world, despite the lack of public recognition and assistance.
The informal sector should be supported in its efforts to provide shelter, infrastructure and services, especially for the less advantaged.
Priority areas for action include:
Ensuring security of land tenure for unplanned settlements where appropriate or if necessary providing for relocation and resettlement with opportunity for employment;
Facilitating and promoting the development of the informal economy;
Providing sites and services specifically for construction by the informal sector, and taking the informal sector’s spatial and locational requirements into account in all sites and services schemes;
Providing technical and financial assistance, including access to long-term financing, for low-income households to increase popular participation, self help and other means of self-reliance;
Improving government administrative structures and procedures to facilitate and guide the action of the people in improving their own settlements;
Restructuring the system for marketing and distributing of building materials and tools to favour purchase in small quantities at irregular intervals and under easy credit terms;
Providing financial and technical assistance;
Simplifying and adapting building and licensing codes without sacrificing recognized basic health requirements.
Recommendation C.9 National housing policies
In many parts of the world the cheapest available conventional contract built housing is too expensive for the majority of households; on the other hand, publicly provided housing because of the limited available resources can only provide for a small fraction of the real need.
National housing policies must aim at providing adequate shelter and services to the lower income groups. Distributing available resources on the basis of greatest needs.
Measures to be considered include:
Serviced land supplied on a partial or total subsidized basis;
Low interest loans, loan guarantees and subsidies for housing construction and improvement of the existing housing stock;
Increased public role in renting, leasing and home improvement schemes;
Rent subsidies based on family needs and income;
Improved availability of housing alternatives, e.g. low cost rentals near job opportunities, core housing, communal housing, mobile homes and so on;
Government assistance concentrated on provision of resources and facilities which households cannot provide for themselves;
Deployment of local savings through credit institutions;
Protect local values and support traditional and self-help construction;
Measures to overcome factors which contribute to under-utilization of the existing housing-stock and to promote an equitable use of it.
The majority of dwellings being built in the third world today are being provided by the occupants for themselves, either alone or with assistance from small contractors and/or neighbours.
A major part of housing policy efforts should consist of programmes and instruments which actively assist people in continuing to provide better quality housing for themselves, individually or co-operatively.
Some important measures include:
Development of programmes for regularizing tenure and for adequately promoting popular subdivisions properly serviced and at prices accessible to low income people;
Simplification of procedures for acquisition of sites, short-and long-term finance, building permits and codes, and zoning;
Provision of infrastructure, on a partially or totally subsidized basis, in conjunction with shelter being provided by the people for themselves;
Incentive to the imaginative use of local materials, e.g. through demonstration projects and construction of prototypes suitable to local conditions;
Stimulation of co-operatives for housing, infrastructure and services.
The unequal distribution of wealth between population groups, within human settlements and between urban and rural settlements is exacerbated by the inequalities in access to goods, services and information.
Infrastructure policy should be geared to achieve greater equity in the provision of services and utilities, access to places of work and recreational areas, as well as to minimize adverse environmental impact.
Enforcement of minimum and maximum standards of infrastructure for all segment of the population;
More efficient use of resources and elimination of excessive consumption through development and implementation of maximum standards, education, conservation and other appropriate measures;
Active use of pricing policies as a mechanism for improving equity in access to infrastructure for all segments of the population;
Integration of infrastructure networks with overall human settlement development to facilitate access, in particular by linking the provision of infrastructure to that of shelter and related services;
In disaster-prone areas the policy should be to conceive and build infrastructure in ways which are less vulnerable;
The provision of infrastructure in rural areas should be conceived to serve the needs of the rural population, good production processing and distribution
In the less developed countries, nearly two thirds of the population do not have reasonable access to safe and ample water supply, and even a greater proportion lack the means for hygienic waste disposal.
Safe water supply and hygienic waste disposal should receive priority with a view to achieving measurable qualitative and quantitative targets serving all the population by a certain date: targets should be established by all nations and should be considered by the forthcoming united nations conference on water.
In most countries urgent action is necessary to:
Adopt programmes with realistic standards for quality and quantity to provide water for urban and rural areas by 1990, if possible;
Adopt and accelerate programmes for the sanitary disposal of excreta and waste water in urban and rural areas;
Mobilize popular participation, where appropriate, to co-operate with the public authorities in the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure;
Plan water supply and the sanitary disposal of waste together in the framework of national resource planning;
Reduce inequalities in service and access to water as well as over-consumption and waste of water supply;
Harmonize and co-ordinate the interests and efforts of local governments and other public bodies concerned through the appropriate planning by the central Government;
Promote the efficient use and reuse of water by recycling, desalination or other means taking into account the environmental impact;
Take measures to protect water supply sources from pollution.
The growing amount of waste material is one of the by-products of urbanization, industrialization and the consumer society; the environmental hazards it creates together with the need to economize resources, has rendered profligate waste-generating life styles obsolete.
In the development of human settlements the quality of the environment must be preserved. Pollution should be prevented by minimizing the generation of wastes; wastes which cannot be avoided should be effectively managed and whenever possible turned into a resource.
This may be achieved through:
Adoption of pollution control measures including incentives and disincentives for location of waste-generating enterprises, and measures to selectively discourage production of materials which add unnecessarily to the waste load;
Better use of existing technology and development of new technology to reduce the volume of waste material generated, along with better design and choice of materials destined to become waste;
Innovative use of unavoidable waste as a by-product;
Treatment of effluents and emissions, rodent control, and special measures for control of radio-active waste to reduce danger to persons, animals and plants;
Use of waste material as fill, where environmentally acceptable, especially in areas with a scarcity of land suitable for human settlements, and for increasing the amount and productivity of certain agricultural lands;
Use of sources of energy which have a low or no waste production;
Re-exploration of traditional uses of waste materials and study of their potential uses in contemporary society;
Creation of a special fund, with the participation of industries which generate wastes or pollutants, for establishing recycling mechanisms, or other suitable measures:
Combating the lack of vegetation in arid zones and increasing at the same time food supplies by combining the highly developed technologies of industrial plant production and composting of refuse.
Consideration should be given to the radical reversal of current trends, both in terms of facilities for and modes of transport in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation where large cities are congested with private vehicles which in most countries cater only to a minority while adequate public transport is unavailable to urban and rural residents.
Policies on transportation and communication should promote desired patterns of development to satisfy the needs of the majority of the population, to assure the distribution of activities to favour mass transportation, and to reduce congestion and pollution by motor vehicles.
This could be achieved through:
A more deliberate use of land-use planning and policies for the location of traffic generating activities, in order to minimize the need for travel:
A comprehensive approach to the planning and development of transportation networks;
The active development of a system of public transportation with adequate incentives for its use in preference to individual use of motor vehicles;
The provision of public subsidies for modes of transport suitable for serving isolated settlements;
The consideration of innovative modes of transport and communications suited to the needs of children, the elderly and the handicapped;
Provide for the separation of pedestrian and motor circulation, as well as separate paths for bicycles, and other categories of vehicular traffic;
Over the short-term, transportation improvements should be designed to make more efficient use of existing highways and transit systems;
Innovative transportation systems need to be encouraged for reducing energy consumption and conserving resources and avoiding pollution;
The integration of communications and transport networks to enable the former to assume many of the responsibilities carried by the latter;
The study of new techniques to avoid the air and environmental pollution caused by the present automobile system.
In the third world only from one tenth to one fifth of the population are provided with adequate health services. At least one fifth of children are suffering from various degrees of malnutrition and a much larger proportion of the total population is without access to medical or para-medical services. Less than half of the children and adults needing education are receiving it.
The provision of health, nutrition, education, security, recreation and other essential services in all parts of the country should be geared to the needs of the community and receive an effective priority in national and development planning and in the allocation of resources.
Areas for priority action include the following:
National equalization programmes and subsidies to provide equitable geographic and social accessibility to all segments of the population;
Reorientation of legislative, institutional and financial measures, with the object, in particular, of bringing about the involvement of the people in meeting their own needs:
Decentralization of the administrative and financial machinery in order to provide a greater measure of management at the community level;
Delivery of social services on an integrated basis with common use of staff, equipment and premises, in particular through the development of multipurpose service centres:
Priority orientation of the above actions towards the promotion of health and the prevention of malnutrition, communicable diseases and other avoidable health risks and the provision of essential services and spiritual and physical recreational facilities;
Adequate provision for health, mobility, education and training needs of the handicapped and aged, as well as the provision of social services for the physical and emotional well-being of children, especially those living in conditions of poverty;
Effective co-operation between specially appointed reference groups at local, regional and national levels, which should serve as a forum for exchange of views between officials and organizations dealing with issues affecting people with handicaps.
For reasons of cost effectiveness the traditional approach to community services more often favours concentrated population, leaving the rural population at a disadvantage. Provision of services in rural areas will help to reduce the migration to urban areas.
Governments should develop new criteria for integrated rural planning to enable the greatest possible number of scattered and dispersed rural settlements to derive the benefit from basic services.
Special measures may include:
Promoting the concentration of rural population and consolidation of scattered and dispersed clusters and homesteads in rural areas for provision of adequate service facilities;
Promoting the establishment of service centres in appropriate locations in the rural regions to benefit the maximum possible number of people in each area;
New approaches to education to adapt it to the needs of training and informing the rural population, including complementing traditional methods and channels with audio-visual aids;
Training of semi-professional staff drawn from the area to be serviced.
Residents of “spontaneous” or unauthorized settlements frequently organize with the intention of providing their communities with essential minimal services; however, some services are very difficult for households or neighbourhood communities to obtain without assistance.
Governments should concentrate on the provision of services and on the physical and spatial reorganization of spontaneous settlements in ways that encourage community initiative and link “marginal” groups to the national development process.
Special attention should be given to:
Giving public recognition to positive aspects and encouraging new initiatives;
Provision of appropriate forms of public assistance to individual or cooperative self-help efforts:
Encouraging public participation by providing financial, technical, informational and other forms of incentives;
Assisting in technical and administrative guidance for community services;
Provision of special services to newcomers to facilitate their adjustment, integration and absorption;
Provision of adequate housing to migrant workers with easy access to community facilities and services;
Provision of essential social services in temporary settlements for workers, for construction of permanent settlements or special projects situated far from the permanent settlements.
As our cities continue to grow, there is an increasingly important basic human need to be provided for, in physical, mental and spiritual benefits to be derived from leisure and recreation. Leisure well used in constructive recreation is basic to the self-fulfilment and life enrichment of the individual, strengthening the social stability of human settlements, both urban and rural, through the family, the community and the nation. Providing opportunities for the pursuit of leisure and recreation, both physical and spiritual, in human settlements, improves the quality of life, and the provision of open space and facilities for leisure should be a concern of high priority.
National governments should co-ordinate and co-operate with the efforts of local and regional authorities and organizations in the planning, development and implementation of leisure and recreational facilities and programmes, for the physical, mental and spiritual benefit of the people.
This may be achieved by:
Developing criteria for determining the national, regional and local recreation requirements to meet the leisure needs of the people,
Establishing channels for popular participation by public agencies and private groups;
Including adequate provision for recreation and leisure needs of both resident and transient populations by setting aside land for open space, play areas, social and cultural centres;
Providing training programmes at all educational levels to develop leadership in recreation and leisure activities from community neighbourhood to national levels;
Encouraging recreational activities appropriate to local cultures, first utilizing existing resources of personnel, outdoor and indoor space, then ensuring the increasing availability of a greater variety of resources through programmes of development;
Providing access to natural landscapes and wilderness areas, while ensuring that such areas retain their qualities unimpaired.
1. Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings-and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.
2. Instead, the pattern of land use should be determined by the long-term interests of the community, especially since decisions on location of activities and therefore of specific land uses have a long-lasting effect on the pattern and structure of human settlements. Land is also a primary element of the natural and man-made environment and a crucial link in an often delicate balance. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the long-term objectives of human settlement policies and strategies.
3. To exercise such control effectively, public authorities require detailed knowledge of the current patterns of use and tenure of land; appropriate legislation defining the boundaries of individual rights and public interest; and suitable instruments for assessing the value of land and transferring to the community, inter alia through taxation, the unearned increment resulting from changes in use, or public investment or decisions, or due to the general growth of the community.
4. Above all, Governments must have the political will to evolve and implement innovative and adequate urban and rural land policies, as a corner-stone of their efforts to improve the quality of life in human settlements.
Land is one of the most valuable natural resources and it must be used rationally. Public ownership or effective control of land in the public interest is the single most important means or improving the capacity of human settlements to absorb changes and movements in population, modifying their internal structure and achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits or development whilst assuring that environmental impacts are considered.
Land is a scarce resource whose management should be subject to public surveillance or control in the interest of the nation.
This applies in particular to land required for:
The extension and improvement of existing settlements, the development of new ones and, in general, the achievement of a more efficient network of human settlements;
The implementation of programmes of urban renewal and land-assembly, schemes;
The provision or public shelter, infrastructure and services;
The preservation and improvement of valuable components of the man-made environment, such as historic sites and monuments and other areas of unique and aesthetic social and cultural value;
The protection and enhancement of the natural environment especially in sensitive areas of special geographic and ecological significance such as coastal regions and other areas subject to the impact of development, recreation and tourism activities.
Land is a natural resource fundamental to the economic, social and political development of peoples and therefore Governments must maintain full jurisdiction and exercise complete sovereignty over such land with a view to freely planning development of human settlements throughout the whole of the natural territory. This resource must not be the subject of restrictions imposed by foreign nations which enjoy the benefits while preventing its rational use.
In all occupied territories, changes in the demographic composition, or the transfer or uprooting of the native population, and the destruction of existing human settlements in these lands and/or the establishment of new settlements for intruders, is inadmissible. The heritage and national identity must be protected. Any policies that violate these principles must be condemned.
Agricultural land, particularly on the periphery of urban areas, is an important national resource 5 without public control land is a prey to speculation and urban encroachment.
Change in the use of land, especially from agricultural to urban, should be subject to public control and regulation.
Such control may be exercised through:
Zoning and land-use planning as a basic instrument of land policy in general and or control of land-use changes in particular;
Direct intervention, e.g. the creation of land reserves and land banks, purchase, compensated expropriation and/or pre-emption, acquisition of development rights, conditioned leasing of public and communal land, formation of public and mixed development enterprises;
Legal controls, e.g. compulsory registration, changes in administrative boundaries, development building and local permits, assembly and replotting:
Fiscal controls, e.g. property taxes, tax penalties and tax incentives;
A planned co-ordination between orderly urban development and the promotion and location of new developments, preserving agricultural land.
Excessive profits resulting from the increase in land value due to development and change in use are one of the principal causes of the concentration of wealth in private hands. Taxation should not be seen only as a source of revenue for the community but also as a powerful tool to encourage development of desirable locations, to exercise a controlling effect on the land market and to redistribute to the public at large the benefits of the unearned increase in land values.
The unearned increment resulting from the rise in land values resulting from change in use of land, from public investment or decision or due to the general growth of the community must be subject to appropriate recapture by public bodies (the community), unless the situation calls for other additional measures such as new patterns of ownership, the general acquisition of land by public bodies.
Specific ways and means include:
Levying of appropriate taxes, e.g. capital gains taxes, land taxes and betterment charges, and particularly taxes on unused or under-utilized land;
Periodic and frequent assessment of land values in and around cities, and determination of the rise in such values relative to the general level of prices:
Instituting development charges or permit fees and specifying the time-limit within which construction must start;
Adopting pricing and compensation policies relating to value of land prevailing at a specified time rather than its commercial value at the time of acquisition by public authorities;
Leasing of publicly owned land in such a way that future increment which is not due to the efforts by the new user is kept by the community;
Assessment of land suitable for agricultural use which is in proximity of cities mainly at agricultural values.
Public ownership of land cannot be an end in itself; it is justified in so far as it is exercised in favour of the common good rather than to protect the interests of the already privileged.
Public ownership, transitional or permanent, should be used, wherever appropriate, to secure and control areas of urban expansion and protection; and to implement urban and rural land reform processes, and supply serviced land at price levels which can secure socially acceptable patterns of development.
Special consideration should be given to:
Measures outlined in Recommendations D.2 and D.3 above;
Active public participation in land development;
Rational distribution of powers among various levels of government, including communal and local authorities, and an adequate system of financial support for land policy.
Many countries are undergoing a process of profound social transformation; a review and restructuring or the entire system of ownership rights is, in the majority of cases, essential to the accomplishment of new national objectives.
Past patterns of ownership rights should be transform 3 to match the changing needs of society and be collectively beneficial.
Special attention should be paid to:
Redefinition of legal ownership including the rights of women and disadvantaged groups and usage rights for a variety of purposes;
Promoting land reform measures to bring ownership rights into conformity with the present and future needs of society;
Clear definition of public objectives and private ownership rights and duties which may vary with time and place;
Transitional arrangements to change ownership from traditional and customary patterns to new systems, especially in connexion with communal lands, whenever such patterns are no longer appropriate;
Methods for the separation of land ownership rights from development rights, the latter to be entrusted to a public authority:
Adoption or policies for long-term leasing or land;
The land rights of indigenous peoples so that their cultural and historical heritage is preserved.
In view of the limited availability of land for human settlements and the need to prevent the continuing loss of valuable natural areas due to erosion, urban encroachment and other causes, efforts to conserve and reclaim land for both agriculture and settlements without upsetting the ecological balance are imperative.
The supply of usable land should be maintained by all appropriate methods including soil conservation, control of desertification and salination, prevention of pollution, and use of land capability analysis and increased by long-term programmes of land reclamation and preservation.
Special attention should be paid to:
Land-fill, especially by using solid wastes in close proximity to human settlements, but without detriment to environment and geological conditions;
Control of soil erosion, e.g. through reforestation, flood control, flood plain management, changes in cultivation patterns and methods, and controls on indiscriminate grazing;
Control and reversal of desertification and salinization, and recuperation of fertile land from contamination by endemic disease;
Reclamation of water-logged areas in a manner that minimizes adverse environmental effects
Application of new technologies such as those related to flood control, soil conservation and stabilization and irrigation;
Prevention of pollution as well as restoration of derelict or damaged land, control of fire and preservation of the environment from natural and man-made hazards;
Economizing land by fixing appropriate densities in areas where land is scarce or rich in agricultural value;
Proper land capability assessment programmes should be introduced at the local, regional and national levels so that land use allocation will most benefit the community: and areas suited to long-term reclamation and preservation will be identified and appropriate action taken;
Incorporation of new land into settlements by provision of infrastructure;
Control of the location of human settlements in hazardous zones and important natural areas;
Expansion of agricultural lands with proper drainage.
Effective land use planning and control measures cannot be implemented unless the public and all levels of government have access to adequate information.
Comprehensive information on land capability, characteristics, tenure, use and legislation should be collected and constantly up-dated so that all citizens and levels of government can be guided as to the most beneficial land use allocation and control measures.
The establishment of a comprehensive information system involving all levels of government; and accessible to the public;
Topographic and cadastral surveys and assessment of land capabilities and current use, and periodic evaluations of the use of the land;
Simplification and updating of procedures for collection, analysis and distribution of relevant information in an accurate and comprehensive manner;
Introduction of new surveying and mapping technologies suitable to the conditions of the countries concerned;
Consolidation and effective use of existing or innovative legislation and instruments to implement land policies;
Development and use of methods for assessing economic, social and environmental impacts from proposed projects in a form useful to the public;
Consideration of land use characteristics including ecological tolerances and optimum utilization of land so as to minimize pollution, conserve energy, and protect and recover resources;
Undertake the necessary studies on precautions that can be taken to safeguard life and property in case of natural disaster.
E. Public participation
1. Participation is an integral part of the political processes of decision-making; in a field as complex as human settlements, it is also a necessity because the task is too great for governments to accomplish without mobilizing the interest of inhabitants, using their ingenuity and skills and harnessing otherwise untapped resources.
2. Public participation is the dynamic incorporation of the people in the economic, social and political life of a country which would ensure that the beneficiary is an effective participant in collective decisions with regard to the common good.
3. A co-operative effort of the people and their Governments is a prerequisite for effective action on human settlements. The magnitude and intractability of the problems are too great for Governments to act alone. Citizen participation should be an integral part of the decision-making processes on the full range of human settlement issues. Citizens must be provided opportunities for direct involvement in the decisions that profoundly affect their lives. Such participation can heighten citizen awareness of the complexity and interrelatedness of the problems and the urgent need for concerted action. Involvement of citizens can also be an important means of making creative use of their ingenuity and skills, thus making effective use of often untapped resources.
4. Participation can be conceived, from the top downwards, as the involvement of the higher echelons of government in the decision-making of smaller groups; laterally, as the co-operation between parallel or competing sectoral interests; or, from the base upwards, as the direct involvement of residents in the making of decisions and implementation of programmes which concern them. The first two forms of participation are the basis of strategies, planning procedures, implementation of programmes and, in general, management of human settlements; the last, under the label of popular participation, is becoming an indispensable element of a truly democratic process.
5. Every effort must be made to remove barriers which preclude active participation by women in the planning, design, and execution of all aspects of human settlements and at all levels of government.
6. Public participation is an integral process and therefore it should not be divided into partial participation as this would lead to the current general conception of participation as a way of cheap local labour, or as a mechanism for the solution of partial problems at the local level.
7. Citizen participation, by definition, cannot be achieved by fiat. But it can be facilitated by removal of political and institutional obstacles and by providing information in clear and meaningful terms. It can also be stimulated by providing opportunities for early and continuing involvement in the selection of alternatives. The inaccessibility of information and the absence of appropriate mechanisms for the expression of alternative views are often major stumbling blocks for effective involvement of citizens in shaping their future.
8. The basis of public participation is the incorporation of the population into the production, consumption and distribution of goods in a country.
9. Public participation implies not only efforts to convey information, but also a very important effort of education and formation to allow both specialist and public participation to play a determining role in evaluating the economic, technical and administrative consequences of the measures under consideration.
Recommendation E.1 Role of public participation
Meeting basic human needs and improving the quality of life in human settlements requires critical choices in the allocation of scarce resources, the utilization or available resources and the harnessing of new ones; this process cannot be effective without the active involvement of the people affected by such decisions.
Public participation should be an indispensable element in human settlements, especially in planning strategies and in their formulation, implementation and management; it should influence all levels of government in the decision-making process to further the political, social and economic growth of human settlements.
Particular attention should be paid to:
Strengthening the role of the population, men and women, in taking decisions affecting all aspects of the development of human settlements;
The definition of the role of public participation as a means of mobilizing untapped human resources and improving the effectiveness of those already operative;
The involvement of people at all levels of activity in resolving their conflicts;
The advance public disclosure of strategies, plans and programmes for public discussion should be made at the early planning stages before major commitments to the project have been made.
To obtain a democratic process with maximum participation, special attention should be paid to the organization of planning and the implementation of plans.
The planning process must be designed to allow for maximum public participation.
This can be achieved by:
Devoting more interest to the drafting of documentation for decision-making in order to make it more intelligible to laymen, e.g. by abundant illustration, by describing the problems connected with different alternatives and by using a language which laymen can understand;
Dividing the planning process into stages showing when important decisions should be taken and by taking special measures to involve a wide range of citizens;
Helping public officials in every possible way to fulfil their important task of acting as a communication link between authorities and the citizen, e.g. by preparing discussion material, arranging public meetings, visiting schools and holding press conferences, etc.;
Seeking the participation of women in the conception of shelter, infrastructure and services and in the provision of transportation and access to community services.
Public participation does not mean simply the mobilization or people to implement the independent decisions of governments and professionals; participation requires listening and response in both directions.
To be effective, public participation requires the free flow of information among all parties concerned and should be based on mutual understanding, trust and education.
This may be achieved through:
Legislation to stimulate public participation and to provide wide accessibility to public information;
Allocation of resources for the development of skills within the community to render participation progressively more effective;
Information and possibly legal aid services to inform the citizen of legal rights and duties in relation to human settlement issues as well as to provide legal assistance;
Appeal and arbitration bodies to reconcile public interest and individual rights;
Wide use of mass media to provide a forum for citizen participation and public debate;
Submission of all major planning decisions to appropriate processes of public inquiry, with particular emphasis on the rights of the least privileged sectors of the population;
Involving specially trained personnel in social and community work in the field and community work in the field of human settlements.
Public participation is a right that must be accorded to all segments of the population, including the most disadvantaged groups.
Public participation should integrate the various sectors of the population including those that traditionally have not participated either in the planning or in the decision-making processes.
Particular attention should be paid to:
Expanding and strengthening the role of community organizations, voluntary groups, workers’ organizations, tenants and neighbourhood organizations;
Assisting in the formation of non-governmental organizations devoted especially to human settlement issues and encouraging the existing ones to focus their programmes on such issues;
Decentralizing planning and public administration institutions and establishing or strengthening locally elected bodies so as to ensure the democratic character of popular participation;
Securing the active involvement of groups whose participation is normally limited;
Adopting procedures which would facilitate the active participation or youth, the handicapped and the elderly.
Of all human endeavours, public participation is the one which can least afford to be isolated from current trends and changes in society, in so far as these effect the relationships between the governing and the governed, the professional and the laymen, the strong and the weak.
Public participation must respond to both newly emerging needs of society and to existing social, economic and cultural needs. The people and their governments should establish mechanisms for popular participation that contribute to developing awareness of people’s role in transforming society.
Areas for special attention include
Establishment, especially in rapidly expanding urban areas, of effective channels of communication between the people and all levels of government, as well as mechanisms for enabling people to attain full control and influence in the formulation and implementation of policy for the development of human settlements;
Establishment in large and medium-sized cities of neighbourhood councils capable of increasing public participation in city management;
Encouragement of the formation of farmers’ and landless labourers’ organizations, in the rural areas, in order to improve their condition,
Recognition of the changing role of women in society and encouragement of their full participation in development;
Public accountability required of large corporations;
Public interest research and public interest law;
Active encouragement and support of all members of the public, to acquire the confidence and skills which will ensure their participation at all levels of human settlement planning.
Public participation is a human right, a political duty and an instrument essential for national development, especially under conditions of resource scarcity; unless their participation is encouraged by the appropriate political, economic and social institutions, people cannot identify with the decisions which affect their daily lives.
Public participation elicited on a scale commensurate with the problems of human settlements, should influence all decisions concerning management of human settlements and should focus on the application of resources to improvement of the standard of living and the quality of life.
Efforts should be directed in particular to:
Assessing felt needs and priorities as a necessary prerequisite for settlement plans and programmes;
Promote actions which motivate people to decide and act for themselves with the appropriate support of Governments. Self-help projects in which the population has a concrete part in the implementation of plans should have the support of Governments.
Defining what the people can decide and do better for themselves and determining the area of government action accordingly;
Decentralizing planning institutions and implementation machinery and especially management operations to the maximum possible extent, to enable local communities to identify their own needs and fields of action;
Making large-scale public participation a continuing feature of the political process with respect to issues concerning human settlements;
Mechanisms to promote participation by the people in production, distribution, and consumption, and programmes for employment, job training, and distribution of consumer goods:
Utilize popular participation for housing construction to facilitate adequate accommodation to all citizens.
F. Institutions and management
1. Policies, strategies, plans and programmes cannot be elaborated or implemented without appropriate instruments. In the field of human settlements, these take the form of political, administrative or technical institutions, enabling legislation and regulatory instruments, and formal procedures for the harnessing of resources, in particular human capacities.
2. New institutions on human settlements must be designed to play a variety of roles in development: important among these is that of promoting new concepts and providing leadership in unfamiliar areas. Institutions must also be responsive to change, capable of changing themselves and suitable for promoting change by others.
3. Because of their territorial coverage, complexity and relative permanence, human settlements require a very diversified system of institutions. Some operations are better managed on a very small scale, to benefit from the full participation and involvement of residents; others draw unquestionable benefits from the economy and efficiency of scale. Especially in large and complex metropolitan areas, the search for more appropriate institutions must be a continuous one, with a view to achieving a satisfactory balance between effective government and accountability to the governed.
4. In political systems where responsibilities and resources are shared amongst different levels of government and governmental agencies, joint consultation on matters of common concern is essential to achieve national settlement goals and objectives.
5. Institutions are ineffectual unless they are given access to and control over the resources necessary for operation. The increasing gap between the mandate of many human settlement institutions and the resources effectively placed at their disposal is one of the principal causes for the widespread crisis in urban management, in industrialized and developing countries alike.
6. This is particularly true of institutions catering to the capital and recurrent budget needs of human settlements which have very special requirements such as long-term investment and low yield, and which, if inappropriately or insufficiently funded, become the main obstacle to implementing otherwise well intended policies.
7. The implementation of new programmes may require new enabling legislation; but legislative changes are a laborious process, which follows the expressed needs of society often only with long delay. The same applies to regulations and by-laws – for instance in planning, building and safety -many of which are outdated or altogether irrelevant to the basic present-day needs of the population.
8. Similarly the training and practices of the professions involved in human settlements planning need continual review. In the third world, the problems of the professions are aggravated in so far as they may be unduly influenced by the concepts and practices in industrialized countries, and fail to adequately reflect the realities and needs of their own societies.
9. In the last resort, the most valuable resource of all is human beings; the channelling of human initiative and the management of human skills for the achievement of the goals or national planning is a task which has received insufficient attention so far, both at national and local levels.
The formulation of effective human settlement policies and strategies requires policies and strategies requires consultation, negotiation and decision at all levels. This will facilitate their implementation, nation-wide focus and authority.
There must be institutions at national, ministerial, and other appropriate levels of government responsible for the formulation and implementation of settlement policies and strategies for national, regional and local development.
The principal features or such institutions are:
A distinct identity relating to the priority assigned to human settlements in development plans;
Leadership or other institutions and the public at large on settlements matters;
Executive responsibility for settlement programmes;
Formal consultation with other settlement institutions;
Develop and use spatial budgeting techniques to guide co-ordination and approval of government investment programmes;
Responsibility for evaluation, monitoring and feed-back on settlement policies, strategies and programmes;
Obtain an adequate share of budgetary and other resources to perform its mandate effectively.
Even when economic development planning covers the principal sectors of the economy, it frequently neglects the spatial dimension implicit in human settlement issues. This is partly the result of conceptual difficulties and partly the inertia of existing institutions.
Institutions for human settlements should be co-ordinated with those responsible for national economic and social development and environmental plans and policies, and interrelated on a multidisciplinary basis.
This can be achieved by:
Establishing appropriate co-ordination between national government departments as well as between the different levels of government where appropriate;
Ensuring adequate representation of the needs and aspirations of inhabitants in human settlements on the principal policy-making bodies;
Introducing orientation, refresher and in-service training courses for officials whose decisions bear on settlements.
Recommendation F.3 Institutional change
Many settlement institutions have outlived their original purpose and are often not relevant to community needs and changing social patterns. Legislation, administrative procedures and fiscal arrangements are often outmoded; functions and territorial boundaries have changed; jurisdictions are fragmented; and institutional structures are excessively cumbersome. Such deficiencies are a major obstacle to effective settlement policies and their implementation.
Institutions dealing with human settlements should adapt to changing circumstances.
Means should be established to provide for the continuous review of settlement institutions to ensure that they are responsive to community needs and opportunities;
Institutions dealing with basic infrastructure and public services should be reorganized as necessary to fulfil their function;
Institutions should be assigned a geographical coverage commensurate with the nature of the service provided, the technology of that service, and the changing nature of relationships and interactions between different parts of the national territory;
Institutions should receive appropriate resources reflecting the nature of the service provided and its wider implications;
Institutions should evolve and adapt to new organizational and procedural forms, enter into co-operative and collaborative arrangements with other organizations, public and private, and explore innovative approaches.
New institutions are sometimes necessary when those existing are incapable of handling special settlement problems. The tendency of institutions to perpetuate themselves, or for unwarranted new ones, can lead over the long term to a redundant cumbersome and self-perpetuating bureaucracy.
Institutions especially established to solve short-term settlement problems should not outlive their original purpose.
This may be achieved by:
Transferring functions to permanent institutions in preplanned stages;
Establishing the life span of the institutions concerned in initial organizational and budgetary instruments;
Appropriation of additional funds only after careful review of functions:
Establishing special training programmes to enable participating communities to assume gradually organizational responsibility.
Human settlement institutions will be more effective if means are provided for maximum public participation in the decision-making process in all policies and programmes.
Institutions should be designed to encourage and facilitate public participation in the decision-making process at all levels.
This may be achieved by:
Decentralizing administration and management at the national, regional and local levels, consistent with effective policy formulation and planning and the efficient use of available professional human resources;
Providing for built-in machinery for consultation between various types or institutions at different levels:
Too often, conditions in human settlements deteriorate rapidly. Among other things, this results from poor management, and under-utilization of existing resources, facilities and infrastructure. Such deficiencies are avoidable.
Settlements must be improved by responsive and imaginative management of all resources.
This should be done by:
Establishing clearly the management responsibilities of national, regional and local government;
Management within a framework of social goals;
Preventing speculation on people’s basic needs and aspirations;
Preserving unique cultural and social heritages;
Government efforts to maintain or restore settlements and their facilities for general public welfare;
Providing information and incentives for inhabitants to maintain and improve their dwellings and surroundings.
In most countries, the lack of adequate knowledge, skills and professional resources is a serious constraint on the implementation of human settlement policies and programmes.
The development of research capabilities, and the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge and information on settlements, should receive high priority as an integral part of the settlement development process.
(c} Special emphasis must be placed on:
National research and development institutions that are specifically geared to finding better solutions to settlement problems, within regional and international networks;
Projects that demonstrate the innovative use or indigenous human resources, materials and technology;
Training national personnel at all levels, with emphasis on managers and middle level personnel, especially by practical on-the-Job training;
Exchange of relevant information expressed in terms meaningful to those likely to need it.
The development of human settlements demand special financial requirements. These are not always met due to speculation, rapid inflation and lack of appropriate means and institutions.
Separate financial institutions and adequate means are necessary to meet the requirements of human settlements.
Special attention should be directed to:
Ensuring that public and private investors and purchasers, especially the least advantaged, are protected from the damaging effects of monetary inflation through monetary and other means;
Encouraging joint ventures between public and private capital, with adequate safeguards for the public interest;
Selectively using public funds, to give priority to areas where private investment is unlikely;
Utilizing fully the multiplying effect of public loan and mortgage guarantees;
Removing institutional obstacles to financing the needs of the poor;
Encouraging community schemes, and other cooperative financial arrangements;
Adopting fiscal measures and pricing policies to reduce disparities between high and low income groups;
Ensuring that systems for financing financial community infrastructure result in an equitable distribution of costs within and between communities;
Encouraging special national savings institutions to support mortgage financing for low income groups;
Innovative fiscal measures to make development self-financing.
Programmes designed to assist less developed regions and less privileged groups often fail to achieve their intended objectives for various reasons: cumbersome administrative procedures; inadequate information, lack of awareness of intended beneficiaries or unrealistic requirements.
Institutions and procedures should be streamlined to ensure that intended beneficiaries receive the largest possible share of resources end benefits.
Special emphasis should be placed on:
Adopting open decision-making and public accountability for use of funds;
Existing laws and regulations for human settlements are often complex, rigid and dominated by vested interests. They thus tend to obstruct reform and hinder progress.
Any framework for settlements legislation must establish clear and realistic direction and means for implementation of policies.
Special attention should be placed on:
Promulgation of special legislation for the implementation of settlement policies;
Laws and regulations to achieve specific settlement objectives, service community interest and safeguard individual rights against arbitrary decisions;
Laws and regulations that are realistic and easily understood, efficiently applied, adapted and revised periodically to correspond to changing needs of society.