Junior Urban and Regional Planner

Issue Date 02 Mar 2017 Closing Date 16 Mar 2017
Grade CONSULTANT Post Duration
Duty Station Nairobi Organizational Unit Urban Planning and Design
Job Opening

The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) of UN-Habitat support countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address urban expansion and transformation.



Issued on: 3 March 2017


UN-Habitat, Urban Planning and Design Branch in Nairobi, Kenya


UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya


Junior Urban and Regional Planner


11 months, with the possibility to extend


16 March 2017





The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) of UN-Habitat support countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address urban expansion and transformation.


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 to 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 relation to the above, the UPDB has launched in 2014 the Urban Planning and Design Laboratory which operates from its premises in Nairobi to provide direct support to projects in the field through development of plans and designs and to create a feedback loop from practice to policy and normative development. The Urban Planning and Design Branch has three Units which are closely related: (1) Regional and Metropolitan Planning, (2) City Planning, Extension and Design, and (3) Climate Change Planning. To implement the UN-Habitat’s 2014-2019 work programme, all the three Units will continue to work in synergy, across other UN-Habitat branches and Units as well as a range of partners.  The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit will play a key role in supporting the delivery of the Branch’s mandates through the following four intervention areas:

  • National Urban Policies from pre-feasibility, diagnostic, development, implementation to monitoring and tracking progress;
  • Regional, Metropolitan and City-region planning including in development of corridors, clusters and systems of cities and promotion of a green economy and urban-rural linkages;
  • The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning as well as it rolling out, implementation and monitoring;
  • Spatial Planning Frameworks at metropolitan, regional, national and supra-national levels


UN-Habitat has also signed a five-year partnership, the Future Saudi Cities Programme (FSCP), with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which will serve as a catalyst for sustainable urban and territorial development while contributing to the delivery of the 10th National Development Plan 2015-2019 (10th NDP). One third of the objectives of the 10th NDP (8 out of 24) are closely related to urban aspects: standards of living and quality of life (# 10), youth empowerment (# 12), women empowerment (# 13), job opportunities (# 15), housing (# 16), public services and facilities (# 21), balanced regional development (# 22), governance (# 23). Mitigation of urban sprawl through compact, connected and more integrated cities and settlements is identified as a key outcome of this programme.


The programme strategy is also inspired by the principles and recommendations contained in the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP), with the intention to better prepare the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to implement the New Urban Agenda for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Guidelines were approved by the Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Resolution 25/6 of 23 April 2015 and provide a global reference framework for urban planning across a range of scales and adaptable to distinct regional, national and local contexts. The IG-UTP consists of twelve principles and 114 action-oriented recommendations to four stakeholder groups: national governments, local authorities, civil society and professional planners.



Given the need to strengthen its planning capacity, a consultant is required to provide technical support to the Urban Planning and Design Branch, taking part in the work of Future Saudi Cities LAB in Head Quarters and its field of activities related to the FSCP, under the direct supervision of the FSCP LAB Head Quarters Coordinator, the overall supervision of the leader of Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit and the Outcome 2 Activity Coordinator.




The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical inputs on urban planning and design and to contribute to the development of a new generation of transformative projects in partner cities.




The consultant will work under the direct supervision of FSCP LAB Head Quarters Coordinator, the overall supervision of the leader of Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit and the Outcome 2 Activity Coordinator.. . She/he will mainly contribute to the implementation of the regional and territorial component in the FSCP activities by performing the following tasks:


  1. Support the FSCP Head Quarter LAB planning team in the development of the following tasks:
    1. Drafting and integrating regional and national levels inputs for 17 city profiles.
    2. Support to up to 1 regional;/national level demonstration project from a regional and metropolitan planning perspective
    3. Support to up to 12 rapid planning studio workshops from an integrated city, region and national policy and planning perspective
    4. Undertake review regional and city plans, strategies and reports to ensure that regional and national dimensions are adequately covered and interlinked;
    5. Review of proposals and design prepared by local planners for various pilot cities.
    6. Develop critical analysis of existing planning documents and instruments.
    7. Provide inputs to guide or facilitate the delivery of relevant urban legislation reviews and financial mechanism in view of plan implementation and planning processes support.
    8. Develop and organize participatory, multi-stakeholder processes tailor made for the projects in a specific context.
  2. Take eventually part in field missions in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s regional and country offices.
  3. Participate in UN-Habitat missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and attend other relevant meetings and conferences.
  4. Support the UN-Habitat Office in Riyadh and the Project Steering Committee in the urban and territorial planning activities related to the FSCP.
  5. Support the Integrated Rapid Planning Studio preparation and execution in 12 cities from the regional and national perspectives.
  6. Undertake other activities that would support the work of FSCP




The consultancy will focus on enhancing the regional and national levels planning in developing 17 city profiles and the demonstration project through different methodological approaches.


4 types of outputs are expected:

1 Demonstration project at regional or national level


5 Concept Plans

  • Draft sections relevant for urban regional and territorial planning in the City Profiles
  • Support to HQ Lab coordinator in the integration of different teams’ inputs
  • Preparations and follow up for validation workshops

12 Rapid Planning Studios (3 in 2017)

  • Preparations and follow up for RPS workshops at the city-region or regional scale

17 City Profiles (8 in 2017)

  • Draft integrated city profiles (integrating inputs received at all planning levels and from different teams including economy, legal, CPI in addition to planning)
  • Develop policy recommendations for improving planning and design

Draft and review sections relevant for regional and territorial planning in the Table of Contents.

Output production will be documented regularly through interim reports covering the tasks above and one final report, summarizing the work done and presenting all outputs in electronic and hard copy format. Daily presence in UN-Habitat offices is expected.


Required skills:

  • Professionalism:  Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches    relevant to urban planning and design. Strong analysis of urban form, urban systems, underlying social, legal and financial mechanisms and the political context. Ability to develop strong graphic materials (concept plans, diagrams, street sections) as well as substantive reports. Knowledge of urban development issues. Ability to observe deadlines and achieve set goals. Ability to work and deliver under pressure.
  • Communication: Excellent written and oral presentation skills in English. Excellent capacity to produce and manipulate graphic documents and drawings. Good presentation skills. Ability to communicate complex interventions in a clear language and convincing narratives. Sketching capabilities to effectively communicate in workshop settings and teams.
  • Teamwork:  Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve agreed goals.
  • Planning and Organizing: Ability to prioritize activities and assignments and to easily switch between different projects.
  • Creativity: Strong conceptual thinking. 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. Can easily develop clear plans in contexts with limited information and datasets. Finds ways to extract and combine data and information to create base maps. Is both able to reduce complexity as well as sensitive to specific urban form and the landscape.




Minimum advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Urban or Regional Planning, or related field that is relevant for sustainable urban and regional development. Experience in neighbourhood scale planning will be considered an advantage. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


Work Experience:

Between 2 to 5 years of experience in urban planning and design with direct proven experience in drawing and preparing plan graphical material using computer assisted design tools. Strong writing and text editing skills in English required.  Good hand drawing / sketching of macro-scale plans is an advantage. The candidate has a portfolio of plans and designs of which he/she is the author.

Urban and Regional planning experience in Arab countries and/or planning in contexts of water scarcity and extreme weather conditions will be an advantage.

Technical Knowledge:

  • Urban planning contemporary approaches.
  • Excellent writing skills, in English are required.
  • Knowledge of  Arabic is an advantage
  • Research and analytical skills combined with good drafting and drawing skills
  • Ability to manipulate graphic material and production of complex urban planning documents
  • Able to work independently and as part of team and deliver on time under pressure.

Language Skills

For this consultancy, fluency in oral and written English is required. Although not a requirement, knowledge of Arabic will be an advantage.




Applications should include:

•    Cover memo (maximum 1 page)

•    CV in the PHP format, accessible through the INSPIRA website ( Please note, if using INSPIRA for the first time, you need to register in order to activate your account, which will allow you to log in and create a personal History Profile.

•  The PHP should be attached to the application as a PDF file.

•  A concise portfolio in PDF format with one or a selection of projects/plans/designs, no more than 4 MB, should be attached to the e-mail. Websites and download links will not be accepted.



Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the

UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster

through the following link:


All applications should be submitted by e-mail to:

Nancy Oloo


P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya



Deadline for applications: 16 March 2017


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:



Payments will be on outputs basis, subject to satisfactory delivery of agreed outputs and targets within the consultancy work plans. The rate is determined by functions performed and experience of the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement