Making a start on a PNG book catalogue
Was it all a mistake?

Disaster awaits if we don’t plan

Informal settlers in Port Moresby (Catherine Wilson IPS)KOMBA SAKUMB
| Take Back PNG | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Have you ever wondered why urban settlements are growing, mass rural urban migration happening, urban accommodation rates skyrocketing, evictions from settlements are occurring everywhere…..

Have you ever wondered why urban customary land is being bought by outsiders, urban law and order problems are rising, urban poverty is growing, rural district centres are run down, the incidence of street begging, prostitution and cities full of rubbish is increasing?

Why are these things happening? What is the source?

Listen very carefully. We are sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Before our nation was colonised we lived in isolation from each other. When we were colonised we were unified to live as a nation.

To live as a united Papua New Guinean, did we get one thing correct? That is the true meaning of living together in oneness as Papua New Guineans.

Our towns and cities were planned for the people who colonised us. Not for you and me.

When we got independence we lived on it as if the current towns and cities were for us.

Successive governments have turned a blind eye to the need to plan our towns and cities. A lack of urban planning has led to growing urban settlements.

The population is growing but city boundaries are not expanding. Housing demands are rising but there no land – and no services - available for housing.

Buildings are erected everywhere but there are no inspections or policing of development regulations.

Our population is growing but employment opportunities are minimal or nil.

What is wrong with us?

We have not got the process correct since independence, especially regarding accessing customary land.

So who will do this for us?

PNG seriously needs a Land Development Agency dedicated to urban planning and land development.

An agency called the Office of Urbanisation was established in 2003 to advocate for these development issues. A national urbanisation policy was formulated.

But this agency was abolished in 2016. I believe this was a serious mistake by the government.

PNG's population is hungry, desperate and demanding to live in towns and cities.

But we can't live in the true meaning of a united Papua New Guinea without planning.

We are constantly assuming that urban settlements will automatically transform into properly planned homes. This will never happen.

We need government intervention through institutions with mandatory functions empowered by laws and policies.

Our country heading towards disaster if we do not plan properly.


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Philip Kai Morre

Urban growth and increase of population in settlements, towns and cities with accumulated social and economic problems required urgent need for proper town planning.

Effective town planning would settle the issue of town structure, beautification, classification of commercial areas from residential areas.

Buildings have to be structured in a unified way. Building roads and streets lights have to be maintained orderly.

There has to sports field, auditoriums and public facilities for people to come together for relaxing and exercise to maintain physical fitness.

Markets have to be located in certain areas with improved facilities. Public transport system needed to be improved. Police force needed be increase to deal with growing law and order problems in town.

A Vagrancy Act should be imposed to send illegal settlers home because they cause more problems than genuine settlers.

We need to bring back the urbanisation program with right and qualified planners.

Justin Kundalin

The legacy of Mr O'Neill is disgusting and no generation in PNG will learn anything from the O'Neill government.

Abolishing the Office of the Urbanisation was just dumping. If PNG wants to help its innocent citizens, the government must utilise every resource and do that which will be lasting.

Nothing is too hard if PNG 's leaders work in unity and live to serve their fellow man better.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Planning for urban growth is absolutely essential in any country, let alone PNG.

The Office of Urbanisation, with a national urbanisation policy, was abolished in 2016. Wasn't that when Peter O'Neill was prime minister? Better add that to his list of crimes.

One way that many countries deal with overcrowded cities is to create well-planned satellite cities. Government infrastructure is shifted to these cities and people follow. It's a way of dissipating the overcrowding.

Something similar to a satellite city was built in Port Moresby in the early 1970s at Waigani. Unfortunately this has been gobbled up by rapid expansion.

Satellite cities need to be some distance from the established cities. If you were to build a satellite city to take the overflow from Port Moresby it would have to be established out Rigo or Mekeo way or up in the hills near Sogeri.

High speed freeway links and good communications between the old and new cities is essential.

The problem in PNG, of course, would be acquiring the land and keeping a lid on the speculators.

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