How can cities in the rapidly urbanising world benefit from Smart City approaches to urban management?
A simple grid plan for urban extensions should be the basis for managing rapid urbanisation says a new UN-Habitat report.
Twenty years ago I became RTPI President. Here is the text of the speech I gave to RTPI Council on my inauguration. It ends by reaffirming the manifesto published in 1975 by the Radical Institute Group, of which I was one of the founders.
Around 8 million live in Afghanistan's cities today, but that number is expected to double by 2030.Yet, like many other rapidly urbanising countries, it has no national urban policy, no housing policy, and local planning is weak.
There will be another 2 billion people living in urban areas by 2030. With a billion people now living in slums,and over 100,000 homeless people in Delhi, for example, it is no exaggeration to say that this is a critical decade for cities and the practice of urban planning.
Despite the pace of urbanization and the economic importance of cities, many leading politicians in Africa are still focused on rural areas.
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!
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week launched his government's response to the urbanisation challenges it faces. The Smart Cities initiative was announced alongside a "Housing for All by 2022" programme. The aim is to create new Smart Cities while also regenerating old urban areas and addressing sustainability issues.
I was involved as a speaker in an event about indicators for sustainable urbanisation the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in Naples. The Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) has been working with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to explore ways towards harmonising approaches so that policy makers can be used to track progress towards (or away from) sustainable urbanisation. As Professor Eugenie Birch commented in the workshop, “There is lots of uncoordinated activity in this field”. In co-operating in this way CAP and HUD are contributing to global advocacy of the importance of urbanisation to sustainable development. Representatives of the Ford Foundation and of UN-Habitat also spoke on the same platform, demonstrating their support for the initiative.