Consultant Urban Planning Expert

Issue Date 19 Sep 2015 Closing Date 27 Sep 2015
Grade CONSULTANT Post Duration
Duty Station Nairobi Organizational Unit Urban Planning and Design
Job Opening

The Urban Planning and Design Branch of UN-Habitat supports countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address rapid urban growth and urban transformation processes in countries with rapid urbanization processes and where cities face a backlog of services and housing.

Download PDF Version


Issued on: 20 September 2015






Consultant Urban Planning Expert


12 month


27 September 2015


The Urban Planning and Design Branch of UN-Habitat supports countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address rapid urban growth and urban transformation processes in countries with rapid urbanization processes and where cities face a backlog of services and housing.

There is indeed an urban planning crisis: the unplanned city is largely inefficient and requires increasing resources to make it more functional and liveable. Only those cities able to embrace different patterns of growth and address inequalities and inefficiencies will be able to provide better lives for their residents, while limiting ecological damage.

Urban planning frameworks have changed very little in the past 50 years, despite huge changes in the urban world, and a new approach is required which links planning with legal instruments and a sound financing and economic rationale. In this respect, five principles of sustainable urban planning are being promoted by UN-Habitat:

  1. Plan in advance of population increase, with the view to remain basic but relevant and comprehensible but not necessarily comprehensive, and to leverage plans for revenue creation through value capture.
  2. Plan at the scale of the problem, particularly the projected growth of the urban population.
  3. Plan incrementally, starting with streets and following with water and sanitation, drainage,  energy and lighting, transport, etc. This gives priority to improving the proportion of land allocated to streets and in turn supports service delivery and progressive taxation.
  4. Plan for density and mixed land use, aiming at vertical features that lower transaction costs, positively impact the economies of scale (and economies of agglomeration), and improve revenue from taxation.
  5. Provide for urban networks for sustainable mobility and sustainable energy.

In view of promoting this approach and supporting ongoing urbanization processes to best serve national development goals, UN-Habitat supports countries and cities in developing planning scenarios and concepts for urban extension, urban redevelopment and the creation and design of sustainable urban patterns.

In view of the above, UN-Habitat has established a global programme (Planning for Sustainable Development) to concurrently develop innovative tools and support countries in their adoption and implementation. This work includes the development of innovative urban planning tools for physical and strategic planning at the city-region, intermediate city and city-extension scales. Application of such tools is ongoing in selected countries over the next 2 to 4 years.

The programmes act in synergy and aim at 1) helping cities develop practical, feasible approaches to implementing urban planning interventions and 2) assisting national governments to scale up successful local-level approaches, build the capacities of planning and facilitating institutions, and (3) reflect the resulting lessons in national policies.

In Kenya, UN-Habitat is engaged both at central level and with a number of Counties in the review of urban planning legislation, support to the development of strategic plans and the preparation of extension and redevelopment plans at city and neighbourhood level, in supporting plans implementation through detailed planning and public space design, and in advisory and capacity building work.

A recently launched Urban Planning and Design Laboratory based in UN-Habitat premises in Nairobi provides direct support to projects in the field through development of plans and designs. Collaboration between the UPDB and the Urban Economy and the Urban Legislation Units is a core feature of such programme both in terms of normative and of operational work.

Given the focus of the Kenya support programme and the need to strengthen UN-Habitat planning capacity in relation to capacity building, a consultant is required to provide technical support to UPDB..


The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical inputs to UN-Habitat ‘Planning for Sustainable Cities Programme” and its national component ‘Support to Urbanization in Kenya’ on urban planning and design. The consultant will contribute to the successful implementation of the ’Support to Urbanization in Kenya’ Programme, to the development of a new generation of extension plans for the project cities, adapted to the Kenyan context, and to research into Kenya’s urbanisation to inform the urban planning work.


The consultant will work under the supervision of the Leader, City Planning, Extension and Design Unit and within the Urban Planning and Design Laboratory and she/he will contribute to the implementation of the Project Component by assisting to test, develop and implement the UN-Habitat planning principles in the Kenya context and beyond by performing the following tasks:

  • Provide planning inputs into ongoing planning work of Kenya and Nigeria
    • Formulate and design solutions reflecting the UN-Habitat principles in the local context in Kenya and assist in the supervision of local planners in Kenya
    • Support the preparation of plan proposals-provide advice regarding urban planning practices, and on the local context of urban development for countries in Africa
    • Provide feedback and advice regarding urban planning legislation implementation from a practice perspective in Kenya
    • Provide inputs to the design of implementation strategies and to testing of legislation innovation.
    • Prepare reports of capacity building activities conducted in Kenya
  • Engagement with urban sector stakeholders for awareness and capacity building:
    • Assist in establishment of partnerships with urban sector stakeholders in Kenya, and the counties.
    • Support to projects undertaken jointly with the same stakeholders.
    • Assist in developing engagement mechanisms for the discussion of new urban planning approaches with the same
    • Assist in conducting consultative and awareness raising meetings and training.
  • Contribute to outputs of the Unit
    • Support formulation of Guide book for planning especially for Kenya
    • Act as focal point for GIS related activities for the Unit and advice on GIS approach for the Branch
  • In addition, the consultant will provide inputs as requested on planning documents and initiatives, undertaken by the Unit and develop presentations related to the above outputs and ensure work is documented and fed into the overall activities of the Branch and Unit. Last but not least, the daily presence in UN-Habitat offices is expected.


5 main outputs are expected:

  • Input to UN –H capacity building for urban design activities organized by CPEDU
  • Plan proposals for implementation of UN-H urban planning projects in Kenya (conceptual level).
  • Reports on UN-H support for different planning programme especially for Kenya
  • Draft communication materials for different urban actors in KenyaDraft Guide books on urban planning based on Kenya projects

Outputs production will be documented through interim (monthly) reports and one final report.

COMPETENCIES (maximum of five)

  • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to urban planning and design. Ability to manage projects involving multiple stakeholders and partners; knowledge of urban development issues; ability to observe deadlines and achieve set goals
  • Communication: Excellent written and oral presentation skills in English
  • Teamwork: Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve agreed goals.
  • Planning and Organizing: Ability to prioritize activities and assignments.
  • Creativity: Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks “outside the box”, and offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Urban/Regional Planning, or related field that is relevant for sustainable urban development. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. 


Between 3 to 5 years of experience in urban planning, of which a significant part directly related to different aspects of urban planning such as settlements, infrastructure, community development, urban geography, cities and climate change, and urban informality. He/she should have direct proven experience in managing projects, research and documentation, trainings, and preparing planning materials (briefs, maps and graphical material using computer assisted design tools). Knowledge of urban planning and urbanisation in African Countries is required. Experience in activities of the United Nations, both in field projects and policy dialogue with stakeholders are desirable.


Technical knowledge of urban planning contemporary approaches, and urban planning practices in Kenya

Research and analytical skills, combined with good drafting and drawing skills, manipulation of graphic materials, documentation, and production of complex urban planning documents Training skills and Writing skills, in English and possibly another UN language

Able to work independently and as part of a team and to deliver on time under pressure


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consultancy, fluency in oral and written English is required. Although not a requirement, knowledge of another UN language is an advantage.


Payments will be based on deliverables over the consultancy period. There are set remuneration rates for consultancies. The rate is determined by functions performed and experience of the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement.

Applications should include:

• Cover memo (maximum 1 page)

• Summary CV (maximum 2 pages), indicating the following information:

1. Educational Background (incl. dates)

2. Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)

3. Other Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)

4. Expertise and preferences regarding location of potential assignments

5. Expectations regarding remuneration

Please be advised that applicants for consultancies must be part of the Inspira e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster through the following address:

Applications should be submitted to::

Mr. Geoffrey Oluoch


P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya


Deadline for applications: 27 September 2015

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of these offices and requesting the payment of a fee, please contact:


Download PDF Version