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Urban Planning Expert, (Nairobi), Deadline: 7 August 2018

By Leon Osong on 08/01/2018

Terms of Reference                              

Urban Planning Expert

Job Opening: United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Job Title: Urban Planning Expert

General Expertise: Human Settlements

Category: Urban Planning

Department/ Office: United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Organizational Unit: Urban Planning and Design Branch


Duration:                   4 Months

Start Date:                 1 September 2018

End Date:                   31 December 2018

Deadline:                    7 August  2018



The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. For close to forty years, UN-Habitat has been working in human settlements throughout the world, focusing on building a brighter future for villages, towns, and cities of all sizes. Because of these four decades of extensive experience, from the highest levels of policy to a range of specific technical issues, UN-Habitat has gained a unique and a universally acknowledged expertise in human settlements development. This has placed UN-Habitat in the best position to provide answers and achievable solutions to the current challenges faced by cities. UN-Habitat is capitalizing on its experience and position to work with partners in order to formulate human settlements for tomorrow. It works to ensure that cities become inclusive and affordable drivers of economic growth and social development.

Turkana County is the largest county in Kenya and home to thousands of refugees fleeing from civil strife in the neighbouring republic of South Sudan. Since the end of August 2014, the current Kakuma camp has been unable to accommodate the 42,000 new arrivals that it has received. The project was developed in response to the continuous number of refugees in Kenya, Turkana County, where a significant fraction of the population has constantly been under the refugee status for the past 20 years. The County Government of Turkana with support of the National Government of Kenya and UNHCR is embarking on the resettlement of refugees. UN-Habitat will be able to contribute to the strengthening of the County urban planning function and the preparation of an integrated settlement plan for the Kalobeyei new site, aimed at demonstrating sustainable approaches to human settlement development and harmonious integration of refugee populations and host communities, as well as encouraging the participation of other partners.

The Urban Planning and Design Branch 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 and where cities face a backlog of services and housing. The Branch consists of three units: The City Planning, Extension and Design Unit (CPEDU), the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU) and the Climate Change Planning Unit (CCPU).

The Urban Planning Expert consultant will directly report to the Programme Management Officer (Human Settlements) in the Urban Planning and Design Branch UN-Habitat.


Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the leader of the City Planning, Extension and Design Unit, as well as manager of the programme on Kalobeyei new Settlement. She/he will manage project related on publications and research. She/he will contribute to the implementation of the Unit activities by performing the following tasks:

Specific Responsibilities

  1. Provide planning and design inputs to ongoing planning initiatives, including citywide strategies, extension plans and urban transformation plans especially in Kenya and other countries in Africa.
  2. Develop planning proposals and related reports for partner cities especially in Kenya and other countries in Africa
  3. Review of planning and design proposals prepared by local planners in partner cities and countries
  4. Support the Unit in undertaking critical analysis of existing planning approaches, documents and instruments in specified cities and countries.
  5. Provide inputs to guide or facilitate the delivery of relevant urban legislation reviews, policies and financial mechanisms in view of strengthening capacity for plan formulation and implementation processes in the Unit’s project areas.
  6. Take part in field missions in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s regional and country offices.
  7. Support developing and organizing participatory community-based processes tailor made for the projects in specific contexts.
  8. Provide input to City Planning, Extension and Design Unit Research and publications.
  9. Attend meetings and conferences within and outside UN-Habitat on behalf of the Unit and the programmes.


Expected Duration


Four (4) months

Daily presence in UN-Habitat offices is expected.


Outputs/Work Assignment

The main outputs that are expected are:

  1. Urban Planning and Design proposals and related reports.
  2. Inputs to planning processes undertaken by the unit.
  3. Production of urban planning related documents for the Unit.
  4. Input into developing participatory and community-based planning processes of the Unit

Reporting on output production will be documented through regular interim reports covering the tasks above and one final report, summarizing the work done and presenting all outputs in electronic and hard copy format.

Evaluation Criteria


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 especially in Kenya and Africa. 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 in producing plan reports, planning documents and manipulation of 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.


Management: Ability to manage smaller project teams, divide workload and sustain efficiency


Academic Qualifications: University degree in Architecture or Urban Planning, or related field that is relevant for sustainable urban development and urban planning and design. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree


Experience: 5 years of experience in urban planning and design work, with direct proven experience in urban planning processes, participatory community-based planning, research and publications on urban development issues and capacity building activities.  Strong graphical presentation skills are required, with proven experience in drawing using computer assisted design and GIS tools. Good hand drawing / sketching and a good understanding of urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa is an added advantage.


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

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