It has been more than a year since I made an entry on this blog. My 2 diaries have certainly overtaken the value I place on ourplanningcommunity. Nevertheless, the fact that Im back stresses how central technology is nowadays. There has been a few planning highlights since which I shall record as below:-
- Started working at a Municipality. This was significant for me as the municipalities are now at the heart of municipal planning. The thrill was developing systems from scratch.
- South Africa hosted the 52nd ISOCARP Congress for which my colleague and I submitted and presented a paper titled “A New Dawn for the South African Planning System” . Of over 350 papers submitted, our paper was one of twenty-eight that was published.
The rest really have been ongoing excitements of aiming to improve systems and more importantly remould my character to respond to this new environment that offers too much.
Planning certainly comes alive at the Municipality.
Planning in the KZN province has not taken the shape I had envisaged 5 years post graduating with my planning degree. Perhaps at least in my mind I had hoped for a much transformed spatial pattern and organised public transit.
I was browsing through ecodistricts.org webpage and found very interesting insight which could benefit my province’s spaces. See link below:
No. 4 and 5 has always been close to my heart. The vibrancy of a community is determined by how accessible it is to its citizens hence the significance of an efficient public transport system. Transportation planning is key. Urban regeneration concept shares the same premise as no. 5 by using projects to reinvigorate the city form. The challenge oftentimes is the lack of infrastructure. We are certainly getting there.
Since joining the industry, I have maintained a strong belief that brilliant planning ideas are not enough to effect the change we want to see in our landscape. Robust policies and responsive interventions have no weight if not supported and championed by the Politicians.
This may appear like a complication because it suggests that Planning as a skill is not adequate without the ability to influence/persuade the Political principals for their buy-in.
Given our political climate and the powers and function bestowed upon Municipal Councils through legislation, Planners have to be astute when undertaking their technical advisory role as technocrats, and be swift in understanding the political dynamics so as to fully optimize their role in persuading the Council in planning matters.
We both have vested interest in the development of the area we serve and it’s just a matter of executing our tasks harmoniously.
And we are entrusted with this responsibility!
As is my fond admiration for Jaime Lerner, is an even greater love for Jan Gehl’s work. Recently read his book Cities for People which really encapsulates how modern cities should be built. A notable distinction in this book is his emphasis on designing at human scale, caring for people.
Whilst much of his is drawn from how he has changed urban living in his home country Denmark which is far developed and contained population, certainly the fundamental principles can be applied even in a developing world. Copenhagen is a multimodal town with a high percentage of its population using bicycles.
Thought I’d share the below link which is an interview taken from the American Society of Landscape Architects website which gives more insight on planning trends through his lens :
……implementing a planning legislation!!!
Alive at a very interesting time were Town and Regional Planners in South Africa will have to be the implementing agents of a new order planning legislation in the country.
The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA) is a Framework legislation that will inform all planning legislation in all spheres of government. It affirms the Constitution wherein it places municipal planning as a local government function, case law confirmed same. Therefore, in the absence of SPLUMA there would be no uniformity in planning, potentially leading to an anarchical planning system.
I can go on, but choose not to simply because I do not want to deviate or downplay the honor i feel as a planner to be responsible for implementing a planning legislation. I am not reading about it in history books but am getting my hands dirty, learning and advising.
Oftentimes one follows their role model to the extent that even the very words they speak become gospel. That is certainly the case with me and my love for Jaime Lerner.
In blogs to come, I will be sharing some of his works which have left an indelible mark in the urban planning profession the world over. In the link below are some of the quotes widely publicized, my favourite being “If you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.”