The National- Friday, February 4, 2011
URBANISATION is a process of converting rural areas to urban. It is happening everywhere in the world.
Papua New Guinea urbanisation process started when the colonisers set up their administrative centres. The administrative stations later became cities and towns of PNG.
The question is: “Are they located strategically to serve the entire population of the country?”
The locations of the cities and towns were not strategically decided as they were established for administrative convenience by the colonisers. This has great implications on the functions of the cities and towns in PNG.
For example, Port Moresby was established as an administrative centre by the colonial administration because of its proximity to Australia. It is not the centre of the country and should not be capital.
This is because the cities and towns are engines of growth and the location and happenings in the capital city of a country do have influence on the lives of people living in the hinterlands.
The world is fast urbanising and UN Habitat predicts that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.
Papua New Guinea is no exception. The movement of people from urban to rural is rapid and it seems that the next generation will all be living in cities and towns.
Ethnic clashes and other social issues will continue to exist in our cities and towns as some selected cities and towns are attracting people from all corners of the country, the most common being Port Moresby.
The time is right to reconsider the location of our cities and towns. A functional city and town system is needed in the country. Each city or town should be strategically located and should exist for a purpose. I
n my opinion, Port Moresby should be the administrative centre and Lae should be the commercial centre for the country. Madang should be educational city and Kokopo should be the tourist city. Mt. Hagen should be the administrative and commercial centre for the Highlands Region.
All other towns and cities should be established for a special purpose. These towns and cities should be well connected by well developed land, sea and air transport.
People will move from one city/town to another for the different purposes and the wealth of the country will be evenly distributed in the country.
The coastal people will mingle with the highlands and the Sepiks will mingle with the Keremas.
Short term measures such as Vagrancy Act and repatriation of people from other origin from the cities and towns will not work be the solution. They are empowered by the Constitution to move anywhere in the country and no one can stop them.