Posts Tagged: UN-Habitat

Why the world needs an urban post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal

Cape Town 1995Will the UN adopt a post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal addressing urbanisation and human settlements? The draft for the new goals will be agreed early in June, before going to the UN General Assembly for what is expected to be formal endorsement. Thus this month is crucial, and planners, other construction professions, urban researchers and civic bodies need to be making their voices heard quickly. Read more on Why the world needs an urban post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal…

Informal development, planning and sustainable urbanisation

lagos-21The newly published third report on The State of African Cities  shows how informal development is a key force in the continent’s urbanisation, yet also poses major dilemmas. The report’s sub-title “Re-imagining sustainable urban transitions” suggests both the need to come up with new answers, but also the elusiveness of solutions. Anybody interested in Africa, sustainable development or planning should read it and ponder what can be done. Read more on Informal development, planning and sustainable urbanisation…

Shaping Metropolitan Growth

Metropolitan growth receives less attention than it deserves. The spread of metropolitan regions is one of the defining features of the age, yet as most of it is taking place in the developing world it goes largely unremarked by Western planners and urbanists. Of course, we have our own metropolitan regions that are deeply problematic in terms of governance and equity. However, the overcrowded commuter trains, chronic congestion, widening rich-poor gap and rampant housing shortages have become so commonplace that few commentators connect them into a narrative of metropolitanisation. Thus a new book,  The Art of Shaping the Metropolis by the World Bank’s Senior Urban Planner is a welcome event.SPEL004 Read more on Shaping Metropolitan Growth…

Urban Planning and Public Health in a Rapidly Urbanising World

Illegal-addition-of-storeysThe celebration of the centenary of the RTPI this year, and the centenary of the International Federation for Housing and Planning in 2013 are reminders of the origins of modern urban planning, and in particular of the historic links between planning and public health. A century on, the time is ripe to look at the links between health and place globally. The illnesses and premature mortality which the founding fathers of town planning sought to eradicate by better housing, more open space and access to community facilities still stalk the billion people who live in slums today. Read more on Urban Planning and Public Health in a Rapidly Urbanising World…

A World View timeline of planning over the past century – Part 2

Seaside, Florida. New Urbanism became influential in the 1990s.This second half of my World View Timeline for planning globally over the past century covers the period 1964-2013. The first part, 1914-1963, was covered in an earlier blog. It highlighted the ideas and practices that shaped 50 years of planning – from Patrick Geddes’ “Cities in Evolution” to Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”. Again I will choose one item from each decade that seems to signify what the period was about. Read more on A World View timeline of planning over the past century – Part 2…

Urban transport and mobility challenges

lagos250The scale of the challenges that planners face from urban transport is made clear in the new UN-Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements. As ever more trips are made it becomes harder and harder to move around cities, even when money is invested in transport infrastructure. Across the globe, but especially in the rapidly urbanising mega cities of the global south, cities are facing a crisis of accessibility. Quite simply, unsustainable forms of urban transport are no longer working. Read more on Urban transport and mobility challenges…

The State of China’s Cities – something that concerns us all

Cliff Hague in Pingyao, a historic city now part of a much larger and growing agglomeration

I have referred to Chinese urbanisation several times in these blogs, but make no apologies for returning to the topic. What is happening in China should be of interest to planners, urbanists, environmentalists and economic development professionals everywhere. In part this is because of the sheer scale of the changes – a rural to urban shift on steroids! Since the economic reforms began in 1978, China’s urban residents have increased by over 500 million. We now have an English version of China’s own State of the Chinese Cities 2012-13 report. It claims that “China has entered a new path of sustainable urbanization with its characteristics such as integration and coordination of urban and rural areas, interactive development between industries and cities, saving and intensive use of natural resources, ecological and liveable environment, and harmonious development.” Read more on The State of China’s Cities – something that concerns us all…

How to tackle Shrinking Cities?

Murmansk – a shrinking post-socialist city

Shrinking cities are a focus of growing concern. Globalisation has increased the vulnerability of cities to sudden adverse changes in their economic base. Austerity policies augment the problems. Loss of a key economic activity, can be followed by net out-migration of economically active age groups, falling tax revenues, an aging population but declining public services, “excessive” infrastructure that is expensive to maintain, empty property and gap sites. What strategies are being pursued in different parts of the world to address these challenges? Read more on How to tackle Shrinking Cities?…

Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012

I would like to award the prize for the best contribution to environmental sustainability for 2012 to Hurricane Sandy. Sandy single-handedly managed to convert more American citizens to the threats posed by climate change than any number of scientists, scientific publications or politicians. By dumping extreme weather on the US eastern seaboard, massively disrupting transport and business, and above all by providing great TV pictures, it made a strong case in many different ways. Read more on Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012…

International accreditation of planning degrees

Post-graduate planning students at University of Cape Town discussing their views on the course. Photo by Dr.Brian O'Callaghan.

What are the implications of moves to offer international accreditation of planning education, particularly on North-South basis globally? The RTPI has fully accredited a planning programme in Africa for the first time. I chaired the Accreditation Board that visited University of Cape Town last week. On 30 October the Commonwealth Association of Planners will hold a meeting in London that will consider how to build capacity and institutions for planning across the Commonwealth. The following day I will be part of a video-link panel to the annual conference of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning in Cincinnati, where the theme of the panel will be international accreditation. Read more on International accreditation of planning degrees…