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Honiara City lacks urban planning and design

THE newly launched Honiara Urban and Development Report has highlighted that Honiara city lacks urban planning and design.

It says by 2050 Honiara region will have grown from our current population of about 100,000 to possibly 350,000.

In his speech when launching the report, Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey Hon Moses Garu said the peri-urban areas in Honiara lack connectivity to infrastructure such as transport and financial services.

He said development and population growth is increasing and that it is time for responsible authorities and stakeholders to proactively work together to curtail the incoming of population and urban growth.

Hon Garu said urban planning and development must be more inclusive, so that communities and their leaders can help shape the city.

He adds that Honiara land tenure system needs to create a clear balance between customary tenure and state rules of tenure.

“We all need to start working proactively together now to ensure that urban growth had proper vacuum, like in other cities around the world, urbanisation drives national growth and underpins prosperity, and does not result in more inequality and poverty,” Hon Garu said.

He said there is much for government to do, however interventions need collective effort as huge challenges lie in how to better coordinate issues and become more strategic.

Hon Garu stressed that there is a need to invest in our city to ensure urban communities are well connected to important services.

He said Honiara will continue to grow, and this requires more attention as urbanisation can be a source of social problems.

Hon Garu said no country has achieved prosperity without urbanisation but planning our cities is essential.

“We have recently experience land confrontations due to eviction actions.

“This means that more efficient, fair and uncomplicated ways to enforce mutual agreements between landowners and developers need to evolve.

“Key question is whether the country will benefit from this growth in the form of better development outcomes,” he said.

Hon Garu said Honiara is accommodating all the services that people nation-wide seek and this requires strong leadership to properly manage the increasing population and development that continues to stretch the legal town boundary.

He said moving forward requires strong local leadership.