Urban service delivery in cities of Africa is undergoing transformation in the quest to improve access and coverage while reducing the urban infrastructure deficit. This is mainly signaled by the gradual shift to integrated urban planning functions and decision-making spheres within the institutional set-up of city authorities. This paper builds on a triangulated study in Kampala city to argue that urban planning functions should not only be integrated but also responsive to gender needs, as an inclusive pathway to sustained provision of infrastructure. The study found out that the utilization of infrastructure and the associated aspects of service delivery are socially preconditioned by socio-economic preferences that are based on gender differentials in mobility needs. Women preferred infrastructure that offers personal security, flexible mobility, hygiene and physical comfort, whereas men were primarily concerned about alternative travel routes for punctuality, safety while on the road, convenience and quicker connectivity to public utilities. But planning at city level has neither integrated nor transcended the physical, economic and environmental accounts of infrastructure and service provision to include gender responsiveness. This ultimately leads to delivery outcomes that are less aligned to variations in women’s compared to men’s end-user expectations. The paper concludes with a step-wise framework for conceptualizing how urban planning can be gender responsive together with examples on real-life applications in the context of African cities.
Key words: Infrastructure, services, gender, urban planning, African cities.