Senior Regional and Metropolitan Planner

Issue Date 04 Mar 2017 Closing Date 16 Mar 2017
Grade CONSULTANT Post Duration
Duty Station Nairobi Organizational Unit Urban Planning and Design
Job Opening

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat is playing a key role implementing the Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Gaols adopted in September 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

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Issued on: 2 March 2017


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


Home based with HQ and field missions


Senior Regional and Metropolitan Planner (consultant)


11 months with possible extension


16 March 2017



The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat is playing a key role implementing the Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Gaols adopted in September 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
Within, UN Habitat, the Urban Planning and Design Branch supports governments and local authorities with tested approaches, guidelines, and tools to plan the growth of cities in an inclusive, sustainable, and future-proof way, in tune with social, cultural, economic, and environmental concerns and particularities.  Efforts focus on making cities more livable, productive, and inclusive through proper planning and design. This includes optimizing the population and economic density of urban settlements and promoting mixed land use, diversity, and better connectivity. It also encompasses social inclusion and gender balance, as well as ensuring that planning and design contribute to the development of more efficient, greener, and cleaner cities able to cope with the consequences of climate change.  The Branch has three Units which are closely related: (1) Regional and Metropolitan Planning, (2) City Planning, Extension and Design, and (3) Climate Change Planning.
The work of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU) focuses on a broader scope of policy and planning through different scales (metropolitan, regional, national and trans-national) and means.  In order to provide guidance on planning and policy at the regional, metropolitan and national scales the RMPU conducts activities in knowledge management, tools development, capacity building, policy dialogue, and advisory services. 

The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit is mandated within UN-Habitat to respond to the demand of member states and partners in the following areas of intervention:

  • Development of National Urban Policies through a process including feasibility analysis, diagnosis, formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation;
  • Regional, Metropolitan and City-region planning including development corridors and clusters, green economy, systems and connections of cities and urban rural linkages;
  • Urban and Territorial Planning, particularly the implication of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning, as well as capacity development, monitoring and evaluation of the Guidelines; and
  • Spatial Planning Frameworks at city, metropolitan, regional and supra-national levels.

To deliver on its areas of intervention, the Unit works through the following approaches:

  • Develop, manage and disseminate knowledge;
  • Promote frameworks, policies and normative products;
  • Support capacity development efforts;
  • Develop tools and instruments;
  • Strengthen partnerships and networking; and
  • Provide advisory services and technical assistance to member states and Habitat Agenda partners.

The new generation of National Urban Policy (NUP) asserts the power of urban space and territoriality, the positive role of urbanization in national socio-economic development, and provides an overarching framework to address urban challenges.  A NUP is a tool that can be used by government in order to guide and control urbanization.  With input from the regional and local levels, a coordinated effort from the national level government through a NUP provides the appropriate framework for a nation-wide coordinated effort for positive urban development outcomes. UN-Habitat is developing global, regional (e.g. francophone, Latin America, Arab regions), national and subnational programmes on NUP.
Resolution 25/4 of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat, adopted the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP). These Guidelines have been developed through a wide consultative process and built upon a range of experiences. The Guidelines are designed to fill a critical gap by providing a global reference framework for planning that is useful across a range of scales and adaptable to distinct regional, national and local contexts. To support the implementation of the Guidelines, a series of resources had been developed including a Compendium of Inspiring Practices, Learning Materials, the Assessment Framework and Monitoring Framework along with a set of indicators. Other RMPU areas of work of such as urban-rural linages, metropolitan development and new towns complement the implementation efforts of the Guidelines.

UN-Habitat promotes the concept of urban-rural linkages to highlight the idea of a constant flow of people, capital, goods, information and technology between rural and urban territories. UN-Habitat recognises that urban and rural settlements are elements within the continuum of space, a more holistic and integrated approach to achieve sustainable development is needed. Of particular interest to UN-Habitat is the acknowledgment of the role small and intermediate towns play for settlements development as they connect urban and rural activities. Investments in their infrastructure and strengthening their local authorities should be part of innovative territorial planning. Urban-Rural linkages can have many entry points such as: food security and supply chains, mobility and migration, urban-rural continuum in the face of disaster, environmental impact, integrated territorial and spatial planning, connectivity, capacity development, etc.

RMPU supports a range of growing projects and programmes portfolio. One of such projects is the Future Saudi Cities Programme. The Programme will support the achievement of balanced and sustainable urban and territorial development in the context of justice and competitiveness in all regions and cities of the Kingdom by enhancing the planning system with the necessary knowledge, capacities, instruments and implementation mechanisms that follow international standards and align with national priorities. Mitigation of urban sprawl through compact, connected and more integrated cities and settlements is identified as a key outcome of this programme in order to support the national vision for efficient urban environments that respond to the aspirations and needs of present and future generations. In parallel to supporting national policy directions, the programme strategy is also inspired by the principles and recommendations contained in the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning, with the intention to better prepare Saudi Arabia to implement the New Urban Agenda for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.




Under the overall guidance of the Leader of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU), the incumbent will perform the following tasks:

  1. Support the implementation of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) and associated areas of work such as Urban-Rural Linkages, spatial frameworks and trans-boundary planning, Metropolitan Development, small and intermediate cities, and New Towns
  2. Contribute to advance the National Urban Policy Programme, particular by contributing to developing the NUP knowledge, tools and capacity development resources providing by the Unit, assisting in the implementation of NUP in targeted countries;
  3. Support the effective delivery and implementation of ongoing RMPU projects and programmes such as the Future Saudi Cities Programme, Urban Corridor development, UN Development account projects,

More specifically, the assignment will include:

On the implementation of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) and associated areas of work such as Urban-Rural Linkages, spatial frameworks/transboundary planning, Metropolitan Development, small and intermediate cities, and New Towns:

  • Collect, analyze and present information gathered from diverse sources to enhance the knowledge base on URL, IG-UTP spatial frameworks/transboundary planning, Metropolitan Development, small and intermediate cities, and New Towns
  • Enhance tools already developed by the RMPU and also to work with the RMPU team to develop new tools to support the implementation of the UN-Habitat Governing Council resolutions on the IG-UTP and Urban Rural Linkages;
  • Prepare concept notes, project proposals for fundraising, reports, background papers, analytical notes and give inputs to publications, including awareness materials, technical tools, case studies, etc.;
  • Contribute in the implementation of the of the IG-UTP through inter alia the Handbook
  • Design a Digital Platform on IG-UTP (including exchange platform for inspiring practices)
  • Support training events on application of IG-UTP
  • Design partnership framework to implement the New Urban Agenda on topics related to the RMPU
  • Undertake scoping missions to countries and cities as appropriate

On National Urban Policy,

  • Assist in organizing meetings and workshops related to NUP, with the aim of identifying training needs and demand by working with key international, national and local stakeholders at local, regional and country levels as required;
  • Develop and implement training and capacity development tools and packages related to NUP and IG-UTP, and engage with the RMPU team to develop systems and platforms in order to facilitate the exchange of good practices and peer to peer learning;
  • Undertake other relevant duties to advance the work of the Unit, Branch and the Agency.

On Projects and programme support:

  • Support the implementation of the RMPU projects and programme, particularly the component of the Future Saudi Cities Programme with the view to contribute to better informed and inclusive policies and programmes on sustainable urbanization issues at the local, regional and national levels. This task will include inter alia:
  • Prepare a chapter as contribution to the 2018 National State of Saudi Cities Report;
  • Undertake review regional and city plans, strategies and reports to ensure that regional and national dimensions are adequately covered and interlinked);
  • Analysise the regional and National Spatial Strategies (reviews) reports for Saudi Arabia to align with the overall project objective;
  • Review of Planning System against the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning;
  • Prepare policy recommendations for the reform of the planning system to appreciate how the system works and whether it is fit to deliver the policy objectives that exist for Saudi cities;
  • Review of the situation in 12 cities to determine their relationship to the types established by the planning systems;
  • Identify and support the development of demonstration projects (possibly using the MetroHUB approach);
  • Undertake desk based and consultative comparative analysis of the findings from the participating  cities;
  • Support at least two foundation trainings (e.g.  Urban planning and sustainable urban development; International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning);
  • Prepare tailored training by development of materials (e.g. manual) specifically designed to support the implementation of recommendations delivered by the Future Saudi Cities Programme;
  • Assist in ensuring an effective and efficient execution of RMPU projects and programmes (corridor development, Development account projects) by coordinating the provision of appropriate technical support to projects through project design, field visits, training and evaluation, organization of meetings and other events, reporting, coordination and monitoring activities.


The incumbent will be expected to deliver the following outputs:

  • Monthly reports based on agreed schedule of delivery  


Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to land and indicators and monitoring and evaluation; Ability to identify issues, analyse and participate in the resolution of issues/problems; Ability to apply judgement, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities.

Planning and Organizing: Develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; Identify priority activities and assignments; adjust priorities as required; Allocate appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; Foresee and allow for contingencies when planning; Monitor and adjust plans and actions as necessary; use time efficiently. Ability to work under pressure, establish priorities and plan, coordinate own work plan, use time efficiently and apply judgment in the context of competing deadlines. Ability to work with minimal supervision and with good sense of initiative.

Communication: Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to articulate complex ideas in a clear and accurate manner including the ability to present the content of the thematic area in a clear and concise manner. Keep the supervisor regularly informed of progress.

Creativity: Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; is flexible and able to think "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 and territorial/regional planning, geography, urbanism or any other related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


At least ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in urban and territorial planning, geography, metropolitan planning, urban indicators development or related field. Qualifying years of experience are calculated following the receipt of the first level university degree recognised by the United Nations. Work experience in the UN and or international organization Civil Society Organisation in international programmes or national related to urban and territorial planning is an asset. Work experience in developing countries is an advantage.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For the consultancies advertised, excellent proficiency English, both verbal and written, is required. Ability in verbal and/or written French or Spanish or Arabic will be desirable.  


Payments will be on outputs basis, subject to satisfactory delivery of agreed outputs and targets within the consultancy workplans. The rate is determined by functions performed and experience of the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement. The cost of organising expert group meetings and workshops will be supported by UN-Habitat.

Applications should include:

  • Expression of interest explaining how to deliver on the TOR (2-3 pages)
  • CV indicating the following information:
    • Educational Background (incl. dates)
    • Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)
    • Other Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)
    • Expertise, relevant publication list and referees
    • Expectations regarding remuneration
  • UN Personal History Form (please use the United Nations standard personal history form available upon request or via:
  • Proof of relevant work (at least two)

All applications should be submitted to:
P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Email: and cc:

Please 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:

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: