Dr Gilbert Siame, director of the Centre for Urban Research and Planning, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Zambia presents “Integrity and corruption in urban development – A key challenge of our times.”
At the closing ceremony of the Seventh World Urban Forum in 2014, the world’s premier policy event on cities, Sergio Farrado, former mayor of Medellin made a passionate plea. He admonished the assembled global audience to begin paying more attention to the “elephant in the room,” a challenge that he marked out as “harder to fight than guerrillas”. The challenge he had identified as crucial to the future of cities was corruption.
Tackling corruption in urban development is a key policy challenge of our time. Activating the professional integrity of the urban planning community is a promising and under-explored response to this challenge, especially in the context of Africa. Drawing from the first working paper in a research project ‘Cities of Integrity: Planning and Corruption in Africa’ implemented by the Centre for Urban Research and Planning (CURP) at the University of Zambia and African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town, Dr. Siame’s talk makes two key arguments on corruption in urban development in Africa:
- By referencing pertinent empirics on urban corruption as well as latest thinking in anti-corruption work, Siame advances an argument that corruption is a major hinderance to achieving SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda in Africa.
- Building integrity among planning professionals is better positioned for positive impact than traditional, narrow, legalistic and punitive direct anti-corruption measures.
The talk targets scholars, practitioners, and property developers, while further seeking to inspire activists in both the anti-corruption and urban development field – two communities that so far have been largely disconnected and could greatly benefit from a cross-disciplinary conversation on building cities of integrity.