This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 7 May 2012.
The UN-Habitat World Urban Forum will meet in Naples in the first week in September. It is the pre-eminent meeting place for the global community of those who are actively engaged in trying to create more sustainable and equitable human settlements. It brings together mayors and grass roots activists, professionals and politicians, slum dwellers and developers, the global North and the global South. This week saw the launch of a series of on-line dialogues that will lead into the main WUF. You may not be able to get to Naples, but you can have your say on the ways you think urban planning should be used to tackle the challenges of the towns and cities.
This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 7 March 2012.
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?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 13 February 2012.
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.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 28 January 2012.
I went to the cinema last night to watch a new film from China. I recommend “Mr Tree” as a film that gives you a flavour of the great transition that China is going through as people move to the cities. It shows some of the processes of change and their impacts on villages in the countryside. It will prompt planners, environmentalists and those involved in economic development to debate the costs and benefits of an annual growth rate of 8% per annum growth rate, and to ask could similar gains be achieved without some of the less desirable side effects?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 11 July 2011.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 4 May 2011.
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 in November 2010.
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?
This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 25 February 2011.
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. The result is some grand set-pieces, perhaps most noticeably the 12th century Great Mosque and the monumental 13th century Citadel. However, much of the character of the city comes from the intricate network of streets and suqs within the walled city.
This blog by Cliff Hague was first posted on Planning Resource on 28 October 2013.
The 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.
Last week I was in Pakistan, speaking at an international conference on Town Planning and Urban Management. It was an opportunity to revisit Lahore for the first time in 20 years and to experience the grandeur and vibrancy of this great city, which encapsulates the opportunities and challenges of rapid urbanisation in this part of Asia.
Pakistan’s urbanisation level is still only around 37%, so this remains a rural country. However it is the highest in south-west Asia, and the rate of urbanisation is around 3%. When I was last here in 1994, the population of Pakistan was 126M. Today it is approaching 200M and the urban population has grown from under 40M to 70M. By 2050 another 90M urban dwellers are anticipated.
These trajectories formed the backdrop to the conference. Despite the surge in urban growth, planning has little impact. Around half the people already live in slums. There is no comprehensive planning law. Plans ‘expire’ and are not updated.