In and outside the city hall of Almere, a delegation from the Ministry of Planning in Iraq learned about Dutch approaches to urban growth, planning and quality of life. The visit to Almere was part of a study programme on urban governance, in which the participants got acquainted with theories and international case-studies and worked jointly on an implementation plan for their country.
The programme, that took place from 19 to 30 August, was organised for the Ministry of Planning on the request of UN-HABITAT. Part of the delegation was from the capital another part was working in Erbil, the Kurdish region in North Iraq. Issues such as housing, quality of life, management of urban growth and local economic and social development were covered. Throughout the training, the relation and responsibilities among different layers of government was highlighted and discussed.
Expert sessions were delivered by Paul Rabé, David Forbes and Mostafa Madbouly, the regional director for Arab States from UN-HABITAT. The group visited the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Development Corporation Amsterdam. The study visit to the city of Almere – a Dutch city that is constructed on drained land – showed a perfect example of new city planning and its challenges and opportunities. The group was received by the Mayor of Almere, Mrs. Annemarie Jorritsma, and was guided through the city in order to gain a first-hand experience on the existing and future plans of Almere.
During the final days of the training course, the group reflected on the lessons learned and used the key lessons for the development of a step-by-step plan on how to implement the planning process back home.
We wish the participants the best of luck with their work in Iraq, and we hope this training programme gave them some new insights and inspiration on how to improve urban planning and urban development in Iraq!