Impact of Urban Planning on Household Poverty Reduction in Uganda: A Review
Muhwezi Amosi Kahara1, Edaku Charles2, Asaba Richard Bagonza2, Grace Lubaale2, Val Hyginus Udoka Eze3
1Department of Public Administration and Development Studies, Kampala International University, Uganda
2College for Higher Degrees and Research, Kampala International University, Uganda
3Department of Publication and Extension, Kampala International University, Uganda
Corresponding Author: email@example.com
The study analyzed the impact of urban planning on reducing household poverty in Uganda. It found that both negative and positive factors significantly influence household poverty. The study also identified five key factors that contribute to household poverty: social services, research and development, employment, and investment. The findings suggest that urban planners should align their policies with government policies when allocating resources to reduce poverty caused by unplanned urbanization. The study recommends that urban planners work to improve the quality of life for households in Uganda.
Keywords: Household poverty, urban population growth, urban planning, Urban Sprawl, Government intervention
Urbanization is not a modern phenomenon but dates as far back as 5000 BC and globally the level of Urbanization has been expanding . After the First World War in 1945, the rural-urban migration increased and continued up till date . The data indicate that about 50% population of developed countries like Europe, North America, and Oceania experienced a very high rate of migration from rural to urban areas since the 1960s. Africa and Asia were the least urbanized continents by 2000, with about 40% of Asia living in urban areas . However, there was a drastic change after the 1950s, which witnessed a very high rate of urban change shift with Asia and Africa registering more urban population increase compared to the developed countries. Latin America and the Caribbean had a good population change of about 25% in the 1950s whereas Africa and Asia recorded about 17% and 19% change between 1950 to 2000 respectively . Furthermore, Africa recorded a low rural-urban migration. Despite these trends, Africa’s urban trends have been falling faster than the rest of other developing countries . Africa and Asia registered urban rates of less than 40% in the year 2000, compared to the higher rate of urbanization experienced in the past years . Notably, Cities in North America like New York had a rural-urban population growth per annum of less than 1% in 2000 compared to approximately 6% Rural-Urban migration growth per annum witnessed in African cities such as Nairobi, Lagos, and Lusaka. According to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Africa indicated that 15% of the Ugandan population is expected to live in the town by 2030 . The current rate of urban population has been attributed to rural-urban migration, expanding population growth, urban sprawl, and urban planning. Available data shows that Kampala Capital City Authority experienced rapid population growth of 5.61% per annum in the year 2000 from 774,241 to 2.1 Million people . A study in  indicates that rural-urban migration resulted in housing crises, social exclusion, unemployment, and income disparity. The urban population in Uganda has registered an increase from four million to 7.4 Million in 2020 . Recently Uganda government created more than eight Cities in addition to the existing ones. The creation of Cities focused on spurring growth and social-economic transformation. The current Ugandan towns face infrastructure challenges, social exclusion, household poverty, and unemployment as a result of urbanization  . Uganda as one of the African countries has been pursuing an urbanization agenda since 2010 by implementing the National Urbanization Policy Agenda focusing on the creation of more Cities and Municipal towns with efficient services. The Uganda Urban Agenda concentrate on creating more cities besides Kampala, the Capital City despite this development, there should be adequate data concerning African cities [15-19]. The deterioration of Ugandan cities has led to many urban crises . Scholars in  argued that urbanization had led to the problem of unemployment in the various towns. A review by the National Urbanization Policy indicated that household poverty is rising in Ugandan Municipal towns, yet, the Municipal Councils play a critical role as it serves as centers for economic prospects, better administration and centers for decent accommodation  .
According to the researcher in , urban developments in Uganda must produce more sustainable cities and towns free from household poverty. According to a researcher in , home poverty was a danger to the livelihoods and social services of Nansana inhabitants. Many people living in Municipal Towns need a stable source of income, appropriate housing, a job, mobility, access to great healthcare, an excellent education, and adequate nutrition . According to an assessment by , inadequate urban planning and a lack of services and infrastructure are to blame for the rising levels of poverty in urban areas. According to a study by , household poverty is caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to social corruption. The Nansana Municipal Council study on urbanization and household poverty has produced data to address the data challenge.
Literature Review on Urban Planning
In order to help fill out the sparse data on municipal councils, the goal of this literature review is to investigate the relationships between household poverty and urban population growth, urban planning, urban sprawl, and government intervention in the Nansana Municipal Council, Wakiso District. As a result, research has been done on how household poverty rates around the world are affected by urban population increase, urban expansion, and government action. According to a study, there is a paradigm shift in the population as it migrates to the towns as urbanization progresses. In quest of chances like jobs, social services, security, and decent housing, migrants are fleeing the countryside and small towns. This movement and the resulting scarcity in the towns lead to a circumstance of household poverty. Therefore, it is doubtful that the connection between urbanization and household poverty will grow. A noteworthy achievement is that, throughout the past 100 years, and particularly the last three decades, worldwide poverty levels have continued to decline. 52% of the world was living on less than $1.25 per day in 1981. This percentage was reduced by half by 2005, to 25%, and by 2008, to 22.2% . The extreme poverty rate has decreased even more, according to preliminary projections for 2010, and if subsequent studies confirm this, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving global poverty will have been accomplished five years earlier. Even after the financial, food, and gasoline shocks of 2008–2009, the decrease of poverty has increased recently in the majority of nations . A study done in Ghana found that urbanization was to blame for the growth of squatter/slum communities. Urban people suffered from poor earnings, exorbitant rent, and environmental deterioration as they lived in low-lying districts of Cities and Towns. According to the report in , there are now enormous growth-related issues as more and more migrants flock to urban areas.
According to another evaluation in , the capacity of Municipal towns and cities to address urban issues has been outstripped by urban growth. This goes against the idea that towns will become more populous because over 40% of Africans who live in cities are predicted to do so. However, the municipal authorities lack the resources necessary to offer urban people sufficient services. However, a crisis resulted from the cities’ incapacity to provide services for the growing population. According to the analysis by , Kampala City’s exceptional rates of urbanization hurt welfare and service delivery. On the other hand, the Republic of Uganda Local Government Act (1997) aimed to build towns with enough services for the populace . According to an assessment by the , unplanned growth has caused a shortage of facilities like water, sanitization, education, and banking services. Urbanization has resulted in the growth of squatter settlements, with the majority of slum dwellers being denied access to land as well as other resources and services including water, health care, and education. The analysis revealed that the majority of urban dwellers with low incomes belonged to vulnerable households. The previous study found that urban authorities had trouble getting access to markets, roads, water, and power to improve the quality of life.
The truly impoverished could not provide for their basic requirements, including food, clothing, and a good place to live . Additionally, the poor population lack access to basic necessities like water, health care, education, mobility, and energy. The scholar in  asserts that the only criteria for being considered poor are having enough food and no access to money. To have a good picture of poverty, social indicators and indicators of risk and vulnerability must also be taken into account and understood. When defining poverty, the World Bank takes into account social indicators like accessibility to infrastructure services like clean water, sanitary facilities, solid waste collection and disposal, storm drainage, public transportation, access roads and footpaths, street lighting, and public telephones. To describe poverty, it makes use of elements as basic as those needed for human survival. Hence, other neighbourhood amenities, like secure play places, communal spaces, electrical connections, and social services, can play a significant role in raising the standard of living so that the poor might escape poverty in some nations. People are better off if they have more control over resources; we might consider one’s well-being as control over commodities in general. We may also consider having access to a certain class of consumption goods (like food or housing) which makes those who have the necessary skills happy .
Furthermore, about 66% of Ugandans are vulnerable to household poverty, according to the Poverty Assessment Status Report in 2021, which was published in January 2023. According to academia, the 2010 Uganda National Urban Policy (UNUP) does not guide for addressing urban issues such as urban food security, the gender component, power disparities, and poverty among urban groups . The researcher in  suggested that the Cities lack improved slum conditions, better economic prospects, and better governance. According to the study by , a variety of factors, including rural-to-urban migration, natural growth, cultural influences, climatic change, inadequate urban design, and ineffective government interventions, contribute to urbanization and family poverty.
With a population of around 472 million people living in urban areas, Africa is thought to be the region of the world that is urbanizing at the fastest rate . Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing urbanization has repercussions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11, which focuses on creating sustainable cities and communities and supplying excellent and affordable public housing. The main cause of population pressure in the Towns is migration from rural to urban areas . Undeveloped landfills, encroachment on open spaces, and rural land sprawl are all effects of the rising demand for built infrastructure. Additionally, the lowering pace of urbanization in developing countries is explained by higher income, lower transportation costs, and a preference for rural living. Due to low housing and land prices, the growing preference for nuclear families, land development speculation, and better prospects for life-changing experiences, individuals still prefer to live in rural areas that are less hectic and bustling than cities [37-39]
Factors that Affect Urban Planning
Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing urbanization presents numerous serious problems for African cities, including stress on the environment and climate-related vulnerabilities. Others remain household poverty threats, such as urban poverty and the spread of informal settlements. Additionally, research has shown that poor urban governance and weak urban planning and management organizations are the root causes of household poverty. Additionally, the already limited water resources are under a great deal of stress from the rapid urban population increase and the associated water demand. The difficulty of enhancing waste management services exists in African cities as well. Studies carried out in the Towns discovered that the lack of solid waste management systems, as seen by the widespread disposal of trash and harmful industrial goods in rivers and unregulated landfills next to communities, poses serious risks to public health and water quality through pollution .
Similar studies showed that municipal authorities lacked the competence (technical and administrative skills), sufficient resources, and proper urban planning legislation and policies on housing to effectively plan and manage urban development. Urban poverty in Africa is still pervasive. Despite the ten years of rapid economic growth experienced by the whole continent, almost 50% of Africans still make less than $1.25 per day, and only 4% make more than $10. Related research revealed that the absence of formal employment had forced thousands of city people into the informal economy, which now accounts for 61% of urban employment in Africa and 93% of all new jobs. The urban transition has led to the proliferation of informal settlements and increased urban poverty and insecurity  .
According to , 61.7% of Africans who lived in cities did so in informal settlements. Without access to suitable housing, energy, transportation, safe drinking water, sanitation and waste management facilities, and necessary services like health and education, these villages faced deteriorating ecosystems. The urban poor are now compelled to turn to shady informal service providers due to the lack of these fundamental amenities. As a result, there have been negative repercussions of climate change that have increased environmental dangers and caused mayhem for city dwellers. The majority of African cities are frequently hit by violent storms, floods, and droughts which increase health and sanitation challenges, intensify water and food scarcity, infrastructure damage, and disrupt services such as water and energy supplies. Nevertheless, If such challenges are not addressed, African cities are vulnerable to disasters and climate change impact 
According to a study of 75 Ugandan communities, there isn’t enough money to give urban households housing and sanitary facilities. According to the report, 1.8 million people, or less than half of the 3.7 million urban residents, have access to piped water. Notably, the remaining urban people rely on springs, rains, and boreholes for survival . According to a review by , urban areas have devolved into decaying mud-and-wattle settlements that have all disintegrated beneath the weight of the recent migrant population. metropolitan planning systems did not include a scenario in which locals from the countryside would invade metropolitan areas, or else the population would skyrocket and quickly overwhelm the infrastructure. They also faced overlapping kinds of urban violence that limited access to official and informal employment, additional educational possibilities, foreign and domestic investment, mobility, and stigmatized areas .
To live in a secure home and expand their businesses, urban dwellers locked in hotspots choose to raise investments. Fear of exposure or victimization may also induce them to put off opening up small businesses or booths and limit their small-scale interactions and acts of solidarity with their neighbours. Additionally, kids are now more exposed to the predatory behaviour of organized and small-time criminals. The inadequate penetration of basic services and their disproportionately high cost in the slums force others who are vulnerable to rely on the informal economy to survive . Gangs live in the slums, where they not only cement their social and political power and perform other slum-specific activities but also their economic hold . The problem in the growth of housing and finance for the urban vulnerable in Asia is familiar to those found in other developing countries like Uganda. According to , access to water supply improved in Asian cities between 1990- 2008, and most counties in the region are likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to the figures for 2008, East and North East Asia have made significant strides in the provision of water supplies, servicing 98% of their urban population. South East Asia comes closely behind with 95% of the urban population, while South East Asia accounts for around 92% . However, throughout the majority of East and North East Asia, an estimated 4-6% of the urban population still lacks access to water. In the Asian countries of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Nepal, the percentage of the urban population with access to water fell from 12% to 3% between 1990 and 2008. This suggested that the national and local governments needed to step up their actions to ensure that the growing urban population could obtain water. However, the lack of a strong millennium aim and the limited accessibility of the water supply have caused a water crisis among the households. Given the foregoing, the majority of Asian Pacific countries most certainly fell short of the Millennium Sanitation Target .
It was opined that better work, education, healthcare, and culture are all available in cities but its implications and effects are what matters most. Additionally, they make disproportionate contributions to national economies. Rapid urbanization and unplanned urban growth, however, are frequently linked to poverty, environmental damage, and population increase that exceeds the capacity of services. These circumstances endanger people’s health. Urban locations are known to have a variety of health risks for residents, including subpar housing, overcrowding, air pollution, a lack of contaminated drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor solid waste disposal services.
Vector-borne illnesses, industrial waste, increased motor vehicle traffic, the stress of poverty, and unemployment were problems in other places . The Nansana Municipal Council has evolved into a community for low-income individuals, business communities, and city traders. Numerous low-income individuals have been drawn to urban areas, which has contributed to sprawl expansion and unplanned settlements. Beyond the Central Business District (CBD), the informal settlement has expanded. Slum communities have consequently grown in places like Kibwa in the Nabweru division and Kibuloka, Kiboggo, Masitowa, and Yesu-Amala in the Nansana Division. The Nansana Municipal Council, however, is now drawing organized settlements for real estate development. Zion estate in Kiwenda is one of these estates, but many people are still looking for Nansana as a quick substitute for Kampala City . While the Nansana Municipal Council has approved physical development plans, approximately 15% of the plan has been adopted and implemented. As a result, the Municipal Councils have not yet developed a systematic approach to dealing with the issue of revenue deficiencies . Without effective planning, Uganda’s rate of urbanization has accelerated, making it difficult for low-income households in particular to obtain basic infrastructure and social amenities. The quantity and calibre of services are not commensurate with the needs of city dwellers . Additionally, the pressure from the population’s increased expansion of infrastructure facilities has resulted in major pollution and traffic congestion in the cities, especially for walkers, Boda-Boda, and big vehicles .
According to the study by , most municipal administrations lack the necessary urban planning laws, housing regulations, administrative and technical expertise, professional ability, and financial resources to effectively plan and manage urban development. Such a situation intensified inequality and marginalization of the low-income population while also causing an increase in the number of unplanned, underserved settlements in cities. These affect development poles negatively and adversely [54, 55]. Although the Ugandan government used the private sector to implement structural reforms to solve the issues, Uganda is currently dealing with a housing shortage of more than two million . The research revealed that without service centers, livable neighbourhoods, employment hubs, organized businesses, suitable educational hubs, and sound urban planning, Nansana Municipal Council could not have developed. Therefore, the residents have been subjected to deprivation and abject poverty as a result of the Municipal authorities’ incapacity to offer services to the residents. However, according to the World Population Prospects 2018, urbanization is anticipated to lead to the creation of hubs for technological innovation and entrepreneurship, high-concentration business zones, and nearby locations for centers of commerce and finance. In addition, metropolitan regions ought to be bustling cities with cutting-edge infrastructure, knowledge, and information centers .
According to a review in , urban poverty is still pervasive across Africa. Even though the African continent has experienced decades of economic improvement, almost 50% of Africans still make less than $1.25 per day. Comparatively, only 4% of people make more than $10 each day. Beginning in 1991, several apartheid-era regulations have divided South African cities into urban (black) African townships with few socioeconomic options for the majority-black African population. Urbanization was said to be characterized by racial segregation, particularly in South Africa. According to the study, Whites and Indians had easier access to excellent housing and work opportunities. Compared to Black townships, even White-dominated communities had better transportation and communication [58-60]. Household poverty has been linked in large part to rural-urban growth. Other earlier research attributed poverty to a lack of transportation options connecting the core business center (CBD) with the surrounding areas .
According to research by , Kampala City’s outskirts was home to an increasing number of informal communities. These slum communities grew on the outskirts of Kampala Capital City without having access to employment opportunities, transportation systems, or urban amenities. The majority of these buildings are transitory settlements with unstable housing, poor sanitation, poor waste management, and social issues. The Government’s inability to alleviate household poverty was attributed to a lack of preparation. Without effective planning, Uganda’s rising urbanization has made it challenging for the government to provide adequate infrastructure and social services, particularly if the population growth exceeds the ability of the municipal authorities to support the households . Municipal towns have few opportunities for official work, according to the analysis by , which has resulted in a reliance on the unorganized sector for employment. The implication is that 61% of urban employment in Africa and 93% of all new jobs were in the informal sector.
According to a study by , the unemployment problem that metropolitan regions are experiencing is a contributing factor to the rise in household poverty and insecurity. Cities in the global South are inescapably taking on an ever more significant position in urban theory, according to studies by . According to the analysis by , Uganda was one of the East African nations that was urbanizing the fastest. By 2035, Uganda is anticipated to house over 68.4 million people, according to predictions. The implication is that more than 30% of Ugandans are anticipated to reside in urban areas and municipal towns. However, Uganda’s historical economic growth trends, which have been positive on average over the previous ten years, support the idea that urbanization and agglomeration have occurred in areas that are conducive to higher-order economic activity. However, because municipal councils are still very tiny, this viewpoint has not adequately addressed their situation. Therefore, Municipal Councils cannot function effectively until the current situation of urban expansion is understood. Thus, the development of large, haphazard settlements and islands of poverty is likely. How developing countries can seize this unique chance to effectively manage urbanization to generate orderly and planned human settlements is the biggest issue. Urban households should expect a better life in places that are better designed. Therefore, the government of Uganda needs to increase its capacity at all levels to develop planned, poverty-free communities and protect Uganda from the emergence of slums, which regrettably characterize Ugandan towns .
According to , urbanization shows transforming environments and entry points for both internal and foreign migrants. The gaps in services and household impoverishment are also explained by these differences. In low-density districts of the Municipal Council, such as Gombe and Busukuma, the researcher found that inadequate infrastructure and utility provision had a detrimental effect on property values. The Gombe and Busukuma divisions have a limited amount of piped water coverage, and numerous locations in the least urbanized divisions lack piped water, increasing vulnerability. The goal of the Central and Local Governments to enhance local government functions to enhance the welfare of urban people and improve their standard of living was identified in . Hence, this required a focus on environmental sustainability and sacrifice for national interests to strive for local goals.
A similar study by , found that most of the low-income urban residents who lived in developing nations are excluded from accessing befitting houses because of their inability to afford them. The researcher opined unless household poverty is addressed, it will be dangerous to humanity and urban governance. A review by  opined that household poverty was manifested by deplorable living conditions of the Kampala Capital City residents in Uganda. Similarly, scholars in  opined that household poverty in Kampala Capital City had pushed many residents into what is called “urbanization of poverty”. Hence, the intellectuals opined that household poverty had become a “hot potato” or panacea for urban residents. The study also indicates that urbanization contributes to the urbanization of poverty in Ugandan Towns . Another related study on urbanization, policy and planning in Uganda found that urbanization had increased the vulnerability of urban residents. As a result, Kampala grew exponentially and spread to the agricultural lands occupied by the low income. The implication is that the rich have taken over land occupied by the poor and have made them migrate back to the rural areas whereas others have decided to risk their lives by settling on the margins of wetlands. The vulnerable urban residents were pushed to the receiving end and deprived of their rights by taking over their belongings . The researcher attributed increased vulnerability to the lack of urban planning agencies for addressing the housing crisis and household poverty.
However, the condensed commercial and human activity in a small area produces waste and has negative effects on the environment. Cities are effective when they can maximize contact and interaction, encouraging the creation and sharing of ideas while fostering commerce, mobility, and environmental impact. Numerous factors interact, affecting a city’s ability to be more or less successful, innovative, and sustainable. The structures and institutions that promote economic and social contact, demographic and cultural features and merely geographical considerations have all been impacted by the rise and expansion of the Nansana Municipal Council. However, purely urban factors such as the city layout, the availability of conducive public spaces for contact, the vibrancy of the city center, or its density, can affect household poverty .
Land should be surveyed for its significance to the environment, agriculture, green space, forests, and water resources including lakes and rivers. Infrastructures such as water, power, sewer, telephone cables, waste disposal areas, highways, railroads, and aerodromes should be given priority over other urban land uses. Due to a lack of resources, the government must now participate in urban planning to raise citizen’s welfare. These strategies’ main goal was to lower household poverty among urban dwellers. According to the previous assessment, the government focused on upgrading slums and rehabilitating squatter communities where individuals who live in poverty do so in cities. Other efforts centered on providing vulnerable and low-income populations with access to water, electricity, healthcare, education, markets, and sanitation .
The Uganda Government launched a strategy for developing small cities in the countryside as a mechanism for household poverty reduction. Urban policies also targeted the development of small towns to help the small businesses in the Countryside gain access to and benefit from economic growth in the large cities. This is based on the notion that economic growth can be shared between small and large urban settlements without incurring losses . In the study, the researcher observed that urbanization has contributed to the growth of towns such as Nansana Municipal Council. However, the growth of the Nansana Municipal Council is not guided hence unplanned growth in an un-gazetted manner was experienced. The implication is that the growth of economies for small and large towns in Uganda is skewed in a scenario where large towns have registered faster growth while small towns are shirking and registering negative growth. The scholar in  focused on inclusive urbanization for spreading the benefits of urban growth to all the concerned areas. In the study, the researcher observed that suburbanization processes in Nansana have increased the gap between middle-income and low-income households.
The Ugandan government also established a fair decentralization of services in collaboration with the urban policy agenda to extend services to all citizens. However, for this policy to be effective, there must be a national urban strategy focused on building inclusive towns. The Ugandan government is expected to run inclusive governance by providing directives to investors in both large and small towns to adhere to the area plan of the city. By creating this program, the country’s town infrastructure inadequacies were intended to be curbed. The ideal approach to promoting the national well-being of urban dwellers would have been to link local and national governments. The study noted that rising small and large towns has increased the income gaps between wealthy and poor households which was caused as a result of lack of effective implementation of inclusive policies .
The researcher realized that non-governmental organisation (NGO) groups have been mandated to support the weak and the urban vulnerable by providing them with their minimum needs in urban areas such as healthcare and education. These groups have instrumentally empowered the urban poor households especially the low-income earners to earn a livelihood in towns. However, the NGO’s efforts to empower the informal workers in an urban area have not yielded more impact. This explains why they have left the majority of the urban poor residents out of the mainstream programmes in the urban setting. The past review indicated that most Governments had encouraged self-driven initiatives in the urban setting to enable the vulnerable to secure a living and services such as houses, water and primary healthcare .
It is intended to give urban inhabitants the right to the city because of increasing urbanization and growth. The creation of many towns in Uganda aims at providing access to low-income groups, opportunities as well as decent living. A related study conducted in Thailand has established that close cooperation between local authorities and organizations of the urban poor was crucial for reducing household poverty  , In the study, the researcher observed that a gap existed in the highly populated divisions of Nansana and Nabweru. This was largely attributed to weak cooperation between the Central Government and the Municipal Council in the implementation of the poverty reduction programme and this was attributed to the reasons why the majority of the people live in household poverty in Nansana and Nabweru divisions.
This review work concludes that even though household poverty threatens all the global urban economies such as Uganda, urban planning significantly improves household welfare by reducing poverty. However, it was observed from the review findings that one of the factors that contribute to household poverty in Uganda is the inability of the Municipal Authorities to provide the urban residents with adequate utilities, social amenities, services, and economic opportunities to enable them to live lives free from poverty. Consequently, most residents have been pushed into vulnerability and household poverty because of population congestion without prior planning on how to economically accommodate the squeezed urban residents.
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CITE AS: Muhwezi Amosi Kahara (2023), Edaku Charles, Asaba Richard Bagonza, Grace Lubaale, Val Hyginus Udoka Eze Impact of Urban Planning on Household Poverty Reduction in Uganda: A Review. IDOSR JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES 8(2): 9-21. https://doi.org/10.59298/IDOSRJHSS/2023/12.1.5000