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

Laura Nkula-Wenz*, Gilbert Siame, Dieter Zinnbauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLocalizing the SDGs in African Cities
EditorsSylvia Croese, Susan Parnell
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9783030959784
ISBN (Electronic)9783030959791
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesSustainable Development Goals Series


  • SDG 11
  • SDG 16
  • Local government
  • Corruption
  • Integrity
  • Urban planning
  • South Africa
  • Zambia

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