Consultancy in Planning and housing policy for the Angolan government

Angola, 4-9 September 2011

Proposed by UN-HABITAT, we were invited by the Ministério do Urbanismo e Construção, MINUC of Angola, the three planners associations: International Society of City and regional Planners, ISOCARP, Iberoamerican Federation of Planners, FIU, and the ECP-CEU, to participate in a seminar of senior politicians, (Minister, Secretaries of State, regional governors, ..) and senior technical staff (minister's advisers, general directors, department heads, ..) to discuss the stra¬tegic housing and urban policy in Angola.

We went on behalf the ECTP-CEU the two delegates of UN-Habitat, João Teixeira and myself (Lluís Brau).

The seminar in Portuguese, the official language of Angola, took place in Huambo, Angola's second city (one million inhabitants), the 6th and 7th September.

Angola, a country with significant natural resources (oil and diamonds), is in hard reconstruction after 40 years of war, (15 of independency plus 25 of civil war).

The seminar focused mainly on rehabilitation policies of major urban slums areas, the "muceques" surrounding the cities, (about 80% of urban population), that continue to grow.

The government foresees to allocate large reserves of developed land around the cities, "plots with services" in order to absorb the new urban growth.

In Angola all land belongs to the state that can grant concessions and leasing contracts to privates.

The days before and after the workshop we could explore the chaotic city of Luanda and its metropolitan area, (7 mill. inhabitants). We visited the massive and controversial public estates of housing, 20-30 kms from the city centre without public transport. They are large settlements generally built by Chinese companies. Low density residential “garden cities” lacking facilities and commercial services.

Houses are delivered without basic urbanization: paving, gardening, electricity, water supply and sewage network. People live with electricity generators powered by oil, buying water to private tankers trucks and draining through individual septic tanks.

Once the Seminar concluded, the Angolan government proposed to the three planning associations support for organizing short courses and workshops for "training trainers", specifically directed to new urban developments, "plots and services" posed at three levels:

  1. Layout plans, connection with the city general networks: roads, services, green areas, facilities and infrastructures (water, gas and electricity).
  2. Urbanisation projects: water, electricity, gas supply, sanitation, solid waste management, landscape and gardening
  3. Self-organization and self-building of stakeholders. Economics, grass root organization, economic building techniques

We are waiting for the terms of reference proposal, that the Angolan government will send us.

Lluís Brau, 03-10-11

FIU, ISOCARP and ECTP-CEU representatives with Dra. Mariana Santos of MINUC