UN Human Settlements Program Vacancy: Senior and Junior Urban Planner - Nairobi, Kenya

Senior and Junior Urban Planner, (Nairobi, Kenya)

Deadline: 22 February 2016


ORGANIZATIONAL LOCATION: UN-Habitat, Urban Planning and Design Branch

DUTY STATION: Nairobi, Kenya

FUNCTIONAL TITLE: Senior and Junior Urban Planner

DURATION: 12 months spread over 12 months

CLOSING DATE: 22 February 2016
BACKGROUND:The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) of UN-Habitat supports 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:
  • 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. 
  • Plan at the scale of the problem, particularly the projected growth of the urban population.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Lab is currently working in concrete projects joining international and local expertise in around 40 cities in 20 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East Europe and Asia. The Lab has a project oriented approach and integrates different fields of expertise in the planning process. As such the Lab can be seen as the integrative facility within UN-Habitat. The projects of the Lab take shape in a process of participation with local authorities, the private sector, civil society and academics. The Lab is focused on implementation of plans on the ground and as such the process design and the link to the political reality is crucial.

The Urban Planning Lab of UN-Habitat applies the 3-legged approach to urban planning, which integrates directly urban finance and regulation into plans and design proposals and through such work informs also legal and institutional reforms and local economic development work.

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 Urban Planning and Design LAB and its field of activities.

OBJECTIVES: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.

RESPONSBILITIES:The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the manager of the Urban Planning and Design Lab and the overall supervision of the leader of the City Planning, Extension and Design Unit. She/he will manage project teams as a team leader. She/he will contribute to the implementation of the Lab and Unit activities by performing the following tasks:

Specific Responsibilities:
  • Provide planning and design inputs to ongoing planning initiatives, including citywide strategies, extension plans and urban transformation plans. 
  • Develop clear planning proposals, drawings and related reports for partner cities.
  • Review of proposals and design prepared by local planners for various pilot cities
  • Develop critical analysis of existing planning documents and instruments.
  • 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.
  • Manage and take part in field missions in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s regional and country offices.
  • Develop and organize participatory, multi-stakeholder processes tailor made for the projects in a specific context.
  • Provide input to Urban Planning and Design Laboratory documents and publications.
  • Represent the Lab at meetings and conferences within and outside UN-Habitat.
EXPECTED OUTPUT:The consultancy will focus on 1) helping cities develop practical, feasible approaches to implementing urban planning interventions through direct planning support; 2) assisting national governments to scale up successful local-level approaches through tools development, and 3) build the capacities of planning and facilitating institutions (development control, construction plan scrutiny, etc.)

8 main outputs that are expected are:
  • Urban Planning and Design proposals and related reports. 
  • Comments and inputs to planning proposals.
  • Presentations.
  • Report on urban planning documents.
  • Inputs to economy and legislation reviews related to urban planning.
  • Participatory, multi-stakeholder processes and related sessions.
  • Clear analytical drawings, design drawings and diagrams at various scales: region, city, neighborhood.
  • Reflective texts on projects, processes and best practices
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.

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

Education:Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) 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.

Work Experience:Different level of work experiences is required to perform the different tasks needed for providing adequate support as follows. Kindly clarify for which level you are submitting your applications.

Senior Urban Planner: A minimum of ten years of experience in urban planning or design, a significant part of which should be directly related to different aspects of urban planning such as city-wide planning, urban extension plans, urban redevelopment, land management, landscape and public space design etc. A combination of practitioner/private sector, academic, and public sector experience would be considered an asset. The candidate has a portfolio of plans and designs of which he/she is the author. Experience of long-term engagements/consultancy to national/regional/local governments focused on implementation of urban projects.

Junior Planner: 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 graphic representation skills required. Good hand drawing / sketching is an advantage. The candidate has a portfolio of plans and designs of which he/she is the author.

Technical Knowledge:
  • Urban planning contemporary approaches 
  • Research and analytical skills combined with good drafting and drawing skills, manipulation of graphic material and production of complex urban planning documents. Writing skills, in English and possibly another UN language.
  • 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 French, Spanish, or Arabic will be 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 fee will be paid as per agreement;

How to apply:
Applications should include:
  • Cover memo (maximum 1 page 
  • CV in the PHP format, accessible through the INSPIRA website (inspira.un.org) 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: HERE

All applications should be submitted by e-mail to:
Mr. Rizwan Kasmani
P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Email: rizwan.kasmani@unhabitat.org
Deadline for applications: 22 February 2016

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: recruitment@unon.org