The Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) have announced that Joanna Patton (Canadian Institute of Planners) and Wessel Strydom (South African Planning Institute) are the winners of the GBP£1,000 (British pounds) grants to attend the CAP biennial Business Meeting and Planning Africa conference in Cape Town, South Africa 14-17 October 2018. The competition attracted more than 30 entries. because of the high quality, not only the essays of the winners, but those of seven other finalists have been published by CAP on their website.
Joanna Patton is practising as a planner in Calgary. Her essay outlines why planners there should be sensitive to the needs of an aging population. The number of over 65s in Calgary is exected to more than double in the next 25 years - from 138,400 to over 287,000. This is a familiar story across many countries in the Northern hemisphere. However, Patton's essay is insightful in exposing the failures of the current care model. She points out that most provision for Calgary's over 65s is currently in edge suburban areas that "suffer from poor walkability and transit options, and many of the facilities are built in a low density and disconnected manner, resulting in significant gaps in the built form and further reduced mobility. All of these factors lead to the physical and social isolation of their senior residents."
Instead Patton advocates an "Aging in Place" model, in which there are "a range of services and unit types that support a continuum of care for seniors, allowing residents to stay within the same facility and community as their needs change. By going one step further and placing these residences in well-connected, desirable and central locations, these facilities can limit social isolation among seniors and enable integration within a greater multi-generational community, which can improve overall health and well-being."
The other winner, Wessel Strydom, emphasises the importance of well designed public spaces, especially in low income, high density neighboourhoods. The essay points to five potential benefits that high quality public space can bring: higher aesthetic value; enhanced sense of place; attraction of economic investments; social integration and environmental conservation. The author goes on to describe place-making as a process which "creates a platform for idea sharing and collaboration", emphasising its inclusive an innovative elements.
For discussion of the winning entry, dealing with planning a refugee camp, in a previous CAP Young Planners essay competition click here.