City Development Strategy for Greater Montserrado - Update
The city development strategy (CDS) process currently underway in the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area is making excellent progress and has already completed two of its four stages.
Cities Alliance, with funding from Comic Relief, began supporting the development of a 21-year Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area CDS in 2019.
The objective of the CDS is to support Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area to harness the potential of urbanisation through strategic planning, and to promote equitable growth in cities and their surrounding townships to improve the quality of life for all citizens.
A City Development Strategy is a tool that helps a city harness the potential of urbanisation. It also enables a city to develop a coordinated, institutional framework to make the most of opportunities. And, perhaps most importantly, a CDS gives residents a chance to have a voice in the future of the place where they live.
The participatory process has four stages, each of which answers four fundamental questions
1) The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) and situation analysis : Where is the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area now?
2) Visioning: Where does it want to be?
3) Strategy Formulation: How will it reach those goals?
4) Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation: How will it know the goals have been achieved?
First two phases of the CDS complete
On August 13, 2020, stakeholders involved with the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan CDS validated the outcomes for the first two stages: The SWOT and situation analysis, and the Visioning.
The SWOT and situation analysis highlighted several challenges for cities and townships in the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan area. These include a lack of strategic support to sustain their workforces, limited financial autonomy that threatens effective governance, no advance planning strategy for managing urbanisation, and a lack of accurate data to support decision making. In addition, many residents, especially those living in informal settlements, were insecure about their land tenure.
Through the visioning phase, stakeholders across Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area realised the need for cities and townships to work collaboratively to achieve sustainable development. They adopted the slogan “Kukatono,” which means “We Are One” in Kpelle, one of Liberia’s popular languages. The Kukatono vision calls for a process where innovation and change are dynamically progressive.
Mr. Jerome Danguah, Solid Waste Manager at the Monrovia City Corporation, is intrigued by the CDS process and believes it will benefit city residents. A CDS is also currently under development for Greater Monrovia.
“All of the thematic areas outlined in the CDS are important, but the environment is essential since we need to strengthen resilience against climate shocks,” Mr. Danguah said.
The Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area City Development strategy is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and disseminated to relevant stakeholders for implementation.