Earlier this week I was honoured to receive the OBE for services to planning, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
The Habitat 3 conference in Quito this month is a critical opportunity to shape the practice of planning globally.
China's slowing growth and rising debts have sent tremors through global markets. Urbanisation has been integral to the near double digit annual growth over recent years, so what does the slow down mean for regional and local development within China, and in particular for the local authorities?
We are building cities to attract investment, not cities for people to live in, argued David Harvey, the distinguished geographer, speaking in Montevideo.
Here is a "Diary" article that I wrote inspired by my participation in the second Habitat UN summit in 1996, when I was there representing RTPI as President.
Sri Lanka is planning to develop a "megapolis" based on Colombo to boost its economy and compete with other South Asian nations.
A wide ranging international review of national urban policies highlights the importance to national development of coordinated planning and well-functioning urban areas. Urban planning is seen as an economic imperative. "The argument
that well-functioning urban areas can help to unleash the development potential of nations is more persuasive than the argument that urban policy is about alleviating poverty and meeting basic needs", says the report.
Informal development is now penetrating the formerly exclusive suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe's main city. lLike many colonial cities the early planning of Harare sought to segregate areas by class and ethnicity. However, urbanisation and poverty are now resulting in green spaces in low density suburbs becoming the focus for informal housing that brings the poor to the doorsteps of the rich.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 20 February 2012.
In June the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development will be held. Few will place much confidence in the capacity of national governments to drive forward an inclusive and environmental agenda for the world, as happened at Rio in 1992. Rather, the leaders of change today more and more seem to be the mayors of cities in Latin America. For example, Mexico City is at the forefront of planning and implementing strategies for environmental improvement and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
UrbanThis blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 16 December 2011.
Looking at planning and economic development from a global perspective, 2011 was a year that posed more questions than it answered. At the level of headlines, there was little to raise the spirits or to make you confident that the world is on a more sustainable track. Governments still struggle to grasp why urbanisation is a strategic issue. The de-regulatory temper in England has echoes elsewhere. Depressed economies and austerity measures have set back regeneration and stalled housing markets. However, the quiet work of professionals and NGOs still has some bright lights and maybe points a way ahead.