Job Opening

Posting Title: Urban Planning and Resilience Expert
Department/Office: United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 27 March 2023 - 04 April 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-United Nations Human Settlements Programme-204880-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The ultimate result of this assignment is to provide technical support in relation to Resilience Informed Urban Planning support to the Naryn Urban Resilience Programme (NURP), Kyrgyzstan and other Urban Lab projects and activities.

Work Location


Expected duration

6 months

Duties and Responsibilities

About UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable and resilient towns and cities. It is the focal point agency for all urbanization and human settlement matters within the UN system. UN-Habitat envisions well-planned, well-governed and efficient cities and towns, with adequate housing, infrastructure and universal access to employment and basic services such as water, energy, and sanitation.
UN-Habitat Urban Planning Lab
The Urban Planning and Design Lab (Urban Lab) is an initiative from UN-Habitat to promptly respond to the requests of national and local governments to support sustainable urban development. The Urban Lab is the integrative facility of the Agency where innovative processes and partnerships are translated into tangible and transformative solutions to complex urban challenges. Throughout, the Urban Lab acts as a neutral broker, managing knowledge in complex stakeholder settings to resolve multi-sectoral, multi-scalar and multi-stakeholder challenges.
The Lab brings together a multidisciplinary team of urban planners, environmental, data-science, mobility, legal and financial experts, providing a holistic and proactive approach to sustainable urbanization. Hence, the Lab captures the necessary thematic disciplines, experts, actors and stakeholders.
In this context, the Urban Lab applies an integrated approach to systemic and strategic planning to deliver transformative change for sustainable urbanization and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda.
The Urban Lab falls under the Planning, Finance and Economy Section, which is part of the Urban Practices Branch and Global Solutions Division

Resilience Informed Urban Planning support to the Naryn Urban Resilience Programme (NURP), Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz Republic is a land-locked, lower-middle-income country located in Central Asia. Most of Kyrgyzstan’s borders run along mountain crests. Kyrgyzstan’s great distance from the oceans and the sharp change of elevation from adjacent plains strongly influence the country’s climate. Deserts and plains surround Kyrgyzstan on the north, west, and southeast, making the contrast with the climate and landscape of its mountainous interior all the more striking. The challenges indicate that resilience strategies need to consider the increasing unpredictability of natural hazards. Impacts from natural hazards are both physical and infrastructural impacts as well as impacts to individual investments into social and economic development measures.

Naryn is the capital of Naryn oblast and nowadays the main functional and territorial entities inherent in cultural, educational, administrative, business, trade and industrial oblast centers are developing here. The landscape of the area with the elongated narrow strip of urban neighborhoods is the slight slopes of the coastal terraces of the mountain river Naryn, the channel of which runs along the bottom of a deep floodplain. The national initiatives contributes to the effective development, increasing the growth rate of the economy of Naryn and the region through attracting direct international investment in the economy, which will enhance the role of Naryn Oblast in the nationwide differentiation of labor. Thus, in the medium and long term, the city of Naryn has a huge potential to become an important “growth point” of the socio-economic development of Naryn Oblast.

Despite the socio economic, spatial, and environmental challenges, there are opportunities for the country to shape urban development to increase resiliency and foster economic opportunities. As such, the major focus should be on achieving an adequate standard of infrastructure to ensure adequate living conditions and to support local economic development. To address the challenges and trends of urbanisation, UN-Habitat in partnership with AKAH will support and contribute to long term national and regional strategies in achieving the SDGs through improving urban, socio-economic, and environmental resiliency in Nary. The proposed targeted interventions and city-wide strategies will propose spatial recommendations which can be scaled up to address broader challenges at the regional level.

The objective of UN-Habitat’s assignment is to provide advisory support to the Aga Khan Foundation Kyrgyzstan (AKF, part of the Aga Khan Development Network, AKDN) and related Aga Khan (AK) agencies and Naryn’s government in strengthening resilient urban planning and development capacities in Naryn city, Naryn oblast and at the national level as a basis for sustainable economic development.

The consultant will be hired and work under the overall supervision of the Head of the Urban Lab and the direct supervision of the Programme Manager of the mentioned Projects, based at UN-Habitat’s Headquarters in Nairobi- Mr Klas Groth. Would the consultant not be able to relocate to Nairobi due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19, any remote working will be explored and require specific arrangements on reporting and communication.

The urban planner will work collaboratively with the UN-Habitat’s Urban Lab core team at UN-Habitat’s Headquarters (in Nairobi), as well as with Habitat’s regional and country offices where relevant.

The incumbent of the post will have to fulfill the following duties and responsibilities:

- Provide technical expertise in urban design proposals for the Naryn project. This involves doing the actual designs as well as reviewing designs done by other experts and providing feedback;
- Advise and work with the Urban LAB team to analyze, collect, compile and interpret data to guide and inform the Naryn project;
- Provide technical expertise for the urban design guidelines and building codes for Naryn. This involves doing the actual designs as well as reviewing designs done by other experts and providing feedback;
- Provide technical input in relation to the normative production of Resilient Planning and Design in Mountain Cities;
- Advise and work with the Urban LAB team on planning and designing effective, resilient, sustainable and fit-for-propose solutions;
- Draft progress reports regarding the implementation of the project, including documentation, knowledge management, advocacy and outreach;
- Develop content and deliver capacity reinforcement trainings at national and local scales related to the Naryn project;
- Provide technical expertise in relation to the Naryn project in Kyrgyzstan. This involves doing the actual designs as well as reviewing designs done by other experts and providing feedback;

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications:
Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in Architecture, Urban Development and Planning, or a related field is required.

Work Experience:
• At least 5 years of relevant work experience in the field of urban development and planning and design (and/or related fields) with direct proven experience of programme/project management is required. A first level degree with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.
• Direct proven experience of urban planning projects/processes, in combination with e.g. urban resilience, mobility, project finance, and/or data systems is desirable;
• Proven experience in GIS software use, data analysis and maps production is desirable;
• Working knowledge and understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (and their monitoring/evaluation) and of the New Urban Agenda is an asset;
• Leading, designing and managing capacity building processes is an asset;


• Fluency in English, written and verbal, is required

No Fee


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