The UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock, has called on governments and urban authorities to ensure that public spaces are protected and well designed to help human movements and settlements.
Public spaces by definition include walk-ways, vehicle terminals, parks and gardens, sports and recreational grounds, open compounds and durbar grounds.
The resident coordinator made the call at a press briefing on the United Nations World Habitat Day held at the conference room of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Accra.
The need to protect space has arisen as a result of the recent mad rush by developers to take over nearly all fallow spaces such as school compounds, parks, cemeteries, streets, walk-ways, recreational centres, among others, and rezoning them into high rise facilities or other infrastructure.
The theme for the month-long celebration is ‘Public Spaces for All’.
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of towns and cities and on basic right of all to adequate shelter.
It is also intends to remind world citizens that all have the power and responsibility to shape the future of cities.
In Ghana, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through its Urban Development Unit has further designated the month as ‘Urban October Month’.
During the ‘Urban Month October’, the ministry will raise awareness, promote participation and generate knowledge as well as engage the international community towards a new urban agenda.
The resident coordinator mentioned that a good public space for a city enhances community cohesion and promotes health, happiness and well-being for all citizens.
Ms Evans-Klock further mentioned that public space provides room for social and cultural interactions and has the potential to foster a sense of belonging and pride in an area, adding that the character of a city is defined by its streets and public space.
Chief Director of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, C.K Dondieu, who represented the minister, highlighted that with urbanisation, public spaces have become even more important to protect, maintain and increase in value to enhance the people’s quality of life.
The chief director indicated that the ministry and its partners through its technical teams have set the ball rolling on a new urban policy to help it build resilient cities which would eliminate related stresses and shocks.
By Solomon Ofori
Source: Daily Guide
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