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Activating Urban Planners for Fostering Urban Integrity: An Inroad into Curbing City Level Corruption

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Localizing the SDGs in African Cities

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series ((SDGS))

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Abstract

Corruption is one of the major hurdles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally. Money is lost due to illicit financial flows and the lack of progress in updating policies and improving the technical capabilities of key departments at the national level. In addition to that, many African countries face the challenge of reforming colonial-era public administrations, making them more accessible and accountable to the people they serve. In turn, successfully localizing the SDGs requires a competent and ethical public service, including at the local government level, which is the primary state-citizen interface. This chapter sets out to connect the aims of SDG 11 and SDG 16 through exploring the potential of the urban planning profession as a key custodian of transparency, accountability, and, ultimately, urban integrity. Drawing on research among urban and regional planners in Zambia and South Africa, done as part of the Cities of Integrity project and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), we argue that planners are among the key stakeholders to engage when addressing corruption and maladministration at the local level. We further maintain that it is worthwhile to move from a narrow focus on legalistic compliance with anti-corruption measures towards a more proactive promotion of professional integrity and collective accountability mechanisms. This is especially true in the African context. Finally, using a case study involving planning professionals in Lusaka, we explore the opportunities and challenges faced when addressing corruption and promoting integrity among the local community of practice.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The full dataset, questionnaire and additional survey materials have been deposited with DataFirst at the University of Cape Town. They can be accessed and reused under a CC-BY-SA license by following this link: https://www.datafirst.uct.ac.za/dataportal/index.php/catalog/871.

  2. 2.

    This stands in contrast to the thriving Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), established in 1999, which links planning programs across the continent and has a very active membership base, hosts a biennial conference as well as regular forums on curriculum development and academic exchange (Watson and Agbola 2013).

  3. 3.

    These figures have been generated through an online survey targeted at practicing planners in both Zambia and South Africa.

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Correspondence to Laura Nkula-Wenz .

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Nkula-Wenz, L., Siame, G., Zinnbauer, D. (2022). Activating Urban Planners for Fostering Urban Integrity: An Inroad into Curbing City Level Corruption. In: Croese, S., Parnell, S. (eds) Localizing the SDGs in African Cities. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95979-1_10

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