Posts Tagged: Rapid urbanization

Planning reform proposed in China’s growth strategy

China250If you are 30 years old, then 260 million people have moved from rural China into its cities during your life time. This amounts to more than half of the current EU population. 117M moved in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Environmental pollution in many of these cities is still terrible, and for many migrants the housing conditions remain well below acceptable western norms. However, a case can also be made that this has been the most successful mass-migration from the countryside in human history. But now serious questions are being asked, and reform is on the agenda. Read more on Planning reform proposed in China’s growth strategy…

Going local – A new era for planning in Botswana

Gaborone

Gaborone

I was in Botswana recently. Planning there is going through a significant transformation. New legislation that came into force in April 2014 will see significant devolution of planning powers to 16 District-level authorities. Twelve of these are rural. As planning goes local the challenge will be to deliver a more strategic and sophisticated form of planning, and to ensure that young planners beginning their professional careers in remote parts of the country get the support they will need to deliver the new planning system. RTPI accreditation of the planning programme at University of Botswana will support this significant transition. Read more on Going local – A new era for planning in Botswana…

Who are the losers in urban regeneration through mega sports events?

The use of major sporting events to drive development and regeneration has become increasingly controversial. Who gains? Who loses? Since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona such spectacles have been widely seen as offering a unique opportunity to rebrand places and upgrade problematic sites. However, the planning of such infrastructure typically displaces poor and marginalised residents and small businesses. The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimated in 2007 that globally millions of people had suffered forced removal as a result of development for sporting and other mega events. Are such outcomes justified in the wider public interest?

The Barcelona Olympics created new expectations about the role of sports events in regneration. Photo courtesy of Tom Bendall.

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The Maldives – challenges for sustainable development in a small island state

Last week’s forced departure of the President of The Maldives has brought global attention to this small country. It is one of 29 small island developing states (SIDS) listed by the UN Commission on Trade and Development, though there is no official definition of a SIDS. These small countries face a range of sustainable development challenges, as I discussed in a recent article in Small States Digest. For example, many have to deal with debt and economic volatility, a particular problem for countries economically dependent on the export of a few natural resources. Energy dependency, HIV/AIDS and youth unemployment can be added to the list. While there has been some recognition of the threats from climate change to small islands, the urban growth dimension of all these issues has attracted little attention, yet is critical to the future of these places. Read more on The Maldives – challenges for sustainable development in a small island state…

How can we build capacity in planning in the Commonwealth?

Janet Strachan (Commonwealth Secretariat) hears about planning education in Ghana from Dr. Inkoom, while Dr. Lauence Carmichael from University of the West of England swops notes with Dr.Alias Abdullah of Malaysia's International Islamic University

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Planning and Food Security

A crop diversification project in Zambia

A crop diversification project in Zambia. Plan International photo

Food security is an issue that is rapidly rising up the international agenda.

As a recent paper produced by the Commonwealth Association of Planners explains, the global consensus is that population and food prices are increasing, while access to food is decreasing.

Last August the RTPI released a policy statement on Planning for Food, and then took a leading role in an on-line discussion of the topic on World Town Planning Day last November.

The American Planning Association has also issued policy guidance on “Community and Regional Food Planning” ,and as my blog last week showed, food was a key concern of “tweeters” at last month’s APA annual conference.   So should food security become a key consideration in the practice of planning across the globe? Read more on Planning and Food Security…

Self-build City: How Aleppo is growing and why security of tenure is needed

Addition of storeys in informal housing in Aleppo: Photo courtesy of Patrick Wakely

Aleppo has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. A historic crossroads location on trade routes that criss-crossed the Middle East and connected it to Asia and Europe generated the wealth to invest in the built environment. Read more on Self-build City: How Aleppo is growing and why security of tenure is needed…