What have we been up to?
From Bangkok to Bangalore,
Colombo to Cagayan de Oro,
All the news from around CDIA
As part of CDIA’s continuing work on capacity building for developing cities, the project team working in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) organized a seminar to promote the concept of ‘livability’ to partner cities, namely Kaysone Phomvihane, Luang Prabang and Pakse.
“CDIA is committed to support the cities in their journey towards sustainable development,” says Chee Anne Roño, Urban Development Specialist managing the project preparation study (PPS) for Lao PDR. “We have delivered the seminar and corresponding video series in line with our support to prepare urban investments in wastewater, solid waste management and urban development in the three cities.”
The event was jointly organized by CDIA and Lao PDR’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) on 14 August 2020 in Crowne Plaza Vientiane and attended by about 40 participants. It was designed as a synchronized in-person and virtual seminar with Azim Manji, Urban Planning Specialist for CDIA’s PPS in Lao PDR, delivering the presentation from Kenya.
“We need to go beyond physical infrastructure and take a ‘whole city’ approach to livability planning,” said Azim. “We can do this by ensuring that our plans and policies promote livability, cities have the capacity for effective governance and service delivery, and that we are able to address issues that hamper infrastructure development,” he added.
Azim highlighted the mechanisms for achieving livability in each of the cities, such as (i) promoting robust and complete neighborhoods, (ii) ensuring accessibility and sustainable mobility, (iii) creating a diverse and resilient local economy, (iv) designing vibrant public spaces, and (v) ensuring affordability of resulting investments and services.
He then presented five operational areas where such benefits could be achieved through engaging with a range of city stakeholders: (i) Urban Policy and Planning; (ii) Strengthening Partnerships; (iii) Strengthening Local Urban Governance; (v) Financing and Implementation; and (v) Urban Innovation.
After the presentation, city officials had the chance to discuss with MPWT’s Department of Housing and Urban Planning and other stakeholders the specific steps they will take to develop their own Livability Plans. They were also encouraged to appoint a champion to ensure that the concept of livability is mainstreamed across the city government engaging on urban issues.
“We would like to thank the experts who shared a lot of useful information for the development of livable cities. We thank CDIA for their support in developing quality of life, environment and economy in our cities,” Dr. Viengnam Douangphachanh, Director General of the Department of Housing and Urban Planning of MPWT.
Feedback from stakeholders in attendance at the livability seminar have been overwhelmingly positive: the addition of Lao language audio tracks overlayed on the video presentation that can be repeated as a reminder as well as shared to a broader audience have also been deemed beneficial to ensuring there is an initial understanding of core livability concepts.
Over time, more in-depth deliberation on livability and how the concept can translate into physical plans and further manifest into prioritized infrastructure investments will be necessary. As the seminar was conceived as an introduction to the concept of livability, more regular reinforcement of the concept will have to be made over time and as the initial work of the CDIA study is carried forward into implementation.
Links to the video presentations are available below:
ENGLISH VERSION: LAO VERSION: