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Rapid urbanisation drives safe city need

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Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Safe Cities Summit in Nairobi – For the first time in the history of the world, there are more people living in cities than in the country.
Urbanisation is reshaping the social constructs of family, school and community, says Kamal Nairn, head of ICT at UN-Habitat
“This means we need to pay more attention o city planning, management and governance,” he says.
“This has an impact on the way to address crime and violence. In fact, scholars have long observed how the history of cities is connected to the pursuit of security.”
Today, delinquency rates are higher in the cities that in the rural areas – and this is largely because of the poor urban management that characterises many cities.
In addition, crime impacts more on the urban poor, who live in largely unplanned settlements – contrary to common perceptions.
However, new ideas are emerging, Nairn says. There are new trends in urban planning, the creation of open spaces and a move towards creative cities.
The UN’s Safer Cities programme operates through direct support to cities that intend to formulate and implement crime prevention strategies, offering support for networking and city to city collaboration while developing and disseminating enabling tools.
There are three pillars to building safer cities, Nairn says. They are: law enforcement and CJS reform; urban design; and social prevention.
UN-Habitat also aims to enable prevention in the wider context through security of tenure; natural disaster; and crime, violence and social cohesion.
He believes the key elements for effective implementation include: a security diagnosis a strategy and action plan; implementation; evaluation and feedback; regional and international networks for exchange; and replication.
UN-Habitat is the agency responsible for local government capacity building.