Fix issues with urbanisation


THE eviction of settlers in Port Moresby’s Garden Hill settlement shows the urgency of ensuring the National Capital District Commission’s (NCDC) “settlement to suburb programme” is implemented in other parts of the city as well.
The programme was launched by Prime Minister James Marape last year in July at the 9-Mile quarry settlement.
An update from NCD governor in July indicated that NCDC did the survey, subdivisions, created allotments and all the titles to the allotments were graded and they started to build the infrastructure and move the settlers to properly align to the allotments.
The 9-Mile Rouna Quarry settlement has been transformed with over 326 land allotments being created.
An estimated 50 acres (20 hectares) of land is being transformed. When talks of the 15-year-urbanisation plan surfaced in 2019, NCDC said the plan was to guide them on how to develop urban areas in terms of services and infrastructure taking into account population growth and the economy.
The plan would guide NCDC in planning for roads, water and power supply, sewerage and drainage, markets, schools, health and police services for detailed suburb planning to convert settlements in to suburbs.
A large number of workers live in settlements because of the high cost of housing and accommodation and the urbanisation plan was to turn settlements into proper and functional parts of the city.
The commission hoped to create safer living spaces that had access to services, including allowing residents to acquire homes.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no planning at all when it comes to establishing or extending new urban development.
Minister for Housing and Urban Development Justin Tkatchenko is right that the problems of settlements is something that has not been addressed for many years.
Relevant authorities were and are too ignorant in addressing illegal establishments by squatters such as these at the beginning.
This should have been controlled more than a decade ago.
The unregulated growth of squatter settlements and other unplanned residential areas is, as we all know, exerting pressure on the city’s municipal authority and businesses to provide services – health, education, employment and housing – that make living in an urbanised environment possible.
The trend can also be observed in the other centres of Lae, Madang and Mt Hagen.
What many Papua New Guineans unaware of is that if people continue to flood into urban settings and city planners, provincial governments and the Government do little in the way of planning to change the trend, then these places will reach saturation point where anarchy, mayhem and chaos will reign.
We are starting to see the effects of overpopulation and overcrowding in the major urban centres of the country.
Urbanisation means turning a place or places into urban centres complete with the prerequisite services and amenities.
We obviously need more cities and towns to provide what urban centres are currently being required to do.
This is a way to develop the country and keep the population evenly distributed so that every citizen can have access to goods and services that are now not easily within reach.
While we wait for the 9-Mile Quarry settlement suburb plan to be completed, Port Moresby is in a dilemma.
Urbanisation in PNG has become a major issue of concern given the symptoms of social and economic disorder such as crime, unemployment, ethnic conflicts, squatter and unplanned settlements and a general breakdown of law and order.