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anomie, meaninglessness and powerlessness. These factors, which often result from the inequities of our system, produce not only physical and mental health problems but also the culture of poverty, the antithesis of a healthy environment. Merely improving the physical structure and surroundings will not produce an adequate environment for the full development of all persons; the socioeconomic structures must be altered as well. 3. Population Policies
The rate of population growth is a function of social, economic, and cultural factors as well as of governmental policies. In the 20th century, increases in wealth, social status, and urbanization have led to reduced birth rates, so that one may surmise that further beneficial movement in those directions in the nations of the world will result in still further drops in the rates. In addition, as children become less of a financial boon, either as cheap labor or as security for old age, and, as the comforts of present-day living increase, the cultural attitudes toward the size of families seem to be modifying. Finally, in many cases the number of children produced is related to cultural mores based on social status and societal limitations on individual opportunity. Therefore, changes in the areas mentioned above are probably of greater importance than a consciously established population growth policy. 4. Regional Growth Poles
The doctrine of the inevitability of economic growth ought not to be uncritically accepted by national policymakers. Often this "inevitability” results more from policy decisions and programs that impel people to move in certain directions rather than from the natural movement of people. In the United States, at least, there is a growing challenge to the concept of unending economic growth and a movement toward an improvement in the quality of human experience. Governments ought to sympathetically consider the encouragement of “centers” given to other than economic concepts of "growth.” Modification in the tax structure, both local and national, to encourage smaller scale, ecologically sound developments would be an effective supplement to direct Government action. 5. Land Use Controls
The most important natural resource, from the human settlements perspective, is the land. Unless its use can be controlled by the public, there is no way in which comprehensive planning can be made feasible. The evils of private land speculation and uncontrolled private development have produced, in this and other countries, the environmentally poor settlements that now sprawl over the countryside. In the developing nations, land speculation continues at extremely high levels, so that the cost of land greatly inhibits the development of needed shelter at reasonable prices; the cost of land is often 60 percent of the total development cost in these nations. Moreover, under the existing system, the private landholders derive large benefits from public investment in the infrastructure of the community, including the appreciation in value.
Therefore, the solution required is some form of public control over land use and public recapture of land appreciation resulting from public investments. Among the means of accomplishing these goals are public ownership of all land, a public land bank, enforced land use plans, taxation and other incentive policies, and eminent domain. In adopting a particular approach for its area, each government ought, however, to consider, within the overall value of planning, the value of individual and community free choice. Finally, planners and public officials should be wary of developing a “tyranny of the public interest.” Individual “private interests” can always “rationally" be outweighed by the public interest, and a lack of personal freedom may result from such “rational” balancing.
RESPONSE TO U.N. RECOMMENDATIONS
Response of the Advisory Committee to the Recommendations of the Report by the Secretary-General of the U.N. Conference on Human Environment on the “Planning and Management of Human Settlements for Environmental Quality' (A/CONF. 48/6, 23 December 1971).
A. Recommendations for National Action
132. Direct action aimed at improving the environmental quality of human settlements must clearly be undertaken at the national level, with each country pursuing policies appropriate to its particular conditions (availability of financial and other resources, political, institutional, social and cultural framework).
Response: 132. The Advisory Committee concurs. 133. The foregoing sections of this paper (i.e., the United Nations Secretariat preparatory paper) contained a number of proposals designed to ease the problems of human settlements. These proposals are commended to national governments for their consideration.
134. In addition, it is recommended that the attention of governments be drawn to the need for action in the following priority areas: 134 (a). The adoption of a comprehensive environmental development approach to policy-making and implementation in the field of human settlements;
Response: 134(a). See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory
Committee Recommendations B 1. and 2. 134(b). the improvement of existing—or the establishment of new—legislative and institutional frameworks to render such an approach effective;
Response: 134(6). The Advisory Committee concurs. 134(c). the launching or further development of national population policies dealing with the growth and distribution of population in relation to the role, location and size of human settlements and in keeping with a rational use of resources ;
Response: 134(c). See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory
Committee Recommendation B.3. 134(d). The assessment of urban and rural water supply and sanitation " problems; the adoption and implementation of national policies to solve these problems; and the setting-and inclusion in national development plans—of specific annual targets designed to meet the objectives of the WHO water supply and sanitation programme for the United Nations Second Development Decade; and the creation of the necessary institutions and the training of skilled manpower for the planning and management of water supply and sanitation system;
Response: 134(d). The Advisory Committee concurs; often dramatic progress can be made in the improvement of environmental conditions by very limited expenditures of time, money and effort—this is such an
134 (e). The allocation of greater financial and other resources to the housing sector so as to preserve what is valuable in the existing housing stock; launch, what ever possible, public housing projects; revitalize city centres; improve transitional settlements ; promote mutual help and aided self-help; and provide, where appropriate "site and service” facilities to new migrants ;
Response: 134(e). The Advisory Committee concurs; however, emphasis should be placed on units that are susceptible of “self-design" and “self-help" in construction; moreover, the use of materials and methods
indigenous to a locality are recommended. 134 (f). The establishment of regional and sub-regional growth poles in order to revive and preserve rural settlements and to reduce mass migration to large urban centres ;
Response: 134 (f). See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory
Committee Recommendation B.4. 134 (g). The development of appropriate mass media channels to strengthen the capacity of growth poles to revive and preserve rural settlements through vocational and motivational communications ;
Response: 134(9). The Advisory Committee concurs. This is a particularly important area where technological breakthroughs could obviate the need to increase aggregations of people for industrial purposes.
11 See also U.N. Report on “Environmental Aspects of Natural Resources Management” (A/CONF.48/7).
134 (h). The adoption and implementation of a dynamic policy of land use through appropriate incentives and controls designed to prevent land speculation, ensure the proper location of industries, provide security of tenure in transitional areas and restrict motor vehicle traffic;
Response: 134 (h). See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory
Committee Recommendation B.5. 134(i). Improving human environment; specifically, the development of city and intercity transport systems for environmental quality and the solution, by technical, legislative and administrative measures, of existing problems of traffic congestion and safety and of air, water and noise pollution from transport sources;
Response: 134(i). The Advisory Committee concurs. 134(j). The provision of educational and recreational facilities for youth of the poorer urban and rural areas;
Response: 134(j). The Advisory Committee concurs. However, a provision for cultural facilities that promote diversity and pluralism should
be included. 134(k). The mobilization of public support for the comprehensive environmental development of human settlements and to achieve the highest possible degree of public participation in formulating and implementing policies.
Response: 134(k). See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory
B. Recommendations for International Action 135. The recommendations listed below are designed: (a) to support action at the national level through the establishment of services and facilities which could be made available to governments on request or (b) to help solve problems whose scope clearly transcends national borders.
Response: 135. See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory Com
mittee Recommendation 2.2(d). (i) Recommendations to Development Assistance Agencies
136. It is recommended that:
all development assistance agencies, whether international, such as UNDP and IBRD, regional or national, give high priority to responding to requests of governments for assistance in the field of human settlements, notably in housing, transportation, water and sewage problems, the mobilization of material human and financial resources and the improvement of transitional urban settlements;
these agencies also be prepared to assist the less-industrialized countries to take account of the environmental problems of development projects; to this end, they should recruit appropriate environmental staff.
Response: 136. See additional comments in chapter 1. Advisory Committe Recommendation A.4.
(ii) International programme for "Environmental improvement areas" 137. It is recommended that:
governments designate to the Secretary-General areas in which they have committed themselves (or are prepared to commit themselves) to a long-term programme of environmental improvement.
- countries concerned would presumably charge an appropriate body with planning and supervising the implementation of such a programme for areas which could vary in size from a city block to a national region.
countries which are prepared to launch such a program of environment improvement should be prepared to:
make long-term commitments of financial and other resources ;
welcome international co-operation through seeking the advice or assistance of competent international bodies ;
share internationally all relevant information on the problems they encounter and the solutions they devise in developing these areas.
Response: 137. The Advisory Committee feels that this recommendation lacks meaningful substance.
(iii) Bilateral and regional consultations 138. Certain aspects of human settlements can carry international implications, e.g., “export" of pollution from urban and industrial areas, effects of seaports on international hinterlands. Accordingly,
It is recommended that
the attention of governments be drawn to the need to consult bilaterally or regionally whenever environmental conditions or development plans in one country could have repercussions in one or more neighbouring countries.
Response: 138. In order to make this proposal meaningful, the development of Conventions establishing an international cause of action and access to national tribunals is needed.
139. The review of issues and problems contained in this paper has disclosed a great many areas where additional knowledge is needed which can only be obtained through new research directed at its application. (It should be emphasized, however, that research should not be viewed as a precondition for national action but as a means of supporting and furthering such action.)
140. Accordingly, it is recommended that Governments and the Secretary-General, the latter in consultation with the appropriate United Nations agencies, take the following steps:
—entrust the overall responsibility for co-ordinating environmental research to any central body that may be given the co-ordinating authority in the field of the environment;
-identify, wherever possible, an existing agency within the United Nations system as the principal focal point for initiating and co-ordinating research
12 See also United Nations Report on "International Organizational Implications of Action Proposals" (A/CONF.48/1).