Ghana's fifth National Urban Forum was convened on 25 August to reflect on the theme “Building Resilient Cities: Deepening Spatial Planning and Land Value Capture for Development in Ghana.” Previous meetings of the Forum have contributed to the Ghana Urban Policy and its Action Plan to improve city conditions. The Ghana Urban Agenda has been accepted at Presidential level. President John Dramani Mahama is a champion of the new African Urban Agenda.
In smaller towns across the UK and many other countries, the town centres are struggling. Julian Dobson, has a barrowful of ideas of what to do about it. His book How to Save Our Town Centres is the best starting point I know for those who want to combine analysis with action. It is well researched, well-informed and refreshingly creative. It deserves an international audience. Much of the analysis is UK-focused, but there are plenty of non-UK examples of innovative responses to the problems of town centres.
This Guest Blog by Emeritus Professor Klaus Kunzmann proposes a radical approach to Greece's economic difficulties
Urban planners need like-minded allies wherever we can find them. Canadian planning consultant Michel Frojmovic, in this Guest Blog says that if the 2015 report on Health and Climate Change is any indication, public health professionals seem to feel the same way.
The changes taking place in South Asian cities are th focus of a major conference in Lahore next year, for which proposals for paper are now invited. The organisers make the point that much urban research has focused on Europe and North America, while the dramatic urbanisation of South Asia has received much less attention.
Zlin is an outstanding example of a town inspired by 20th century functionalist architecture. This classic company town was a product of the Bata shoe company, its "home town" that the company then mimicked across the continents. It survived Communism, and now a finely balanced conflict is taking place between conservation and consumer capitalism.
How has the economic crisis impacted on migration patterns across Europe? This question is addressed in a new four-page ESPON Evidence Brief. The theme was also a central feature of the ESPON seminar in Vilnius on 4-5 December. Migration has been a priority concern of the Lithuanian EU Presidency. This is not surprising, given the scale on which this small country has been haemorrhaging people in recent years. It is estimated that a sixth of the population has been lost over the last 20 years. However, as we in the UK know, migration has become a hot political topic in many countries. For example there are concerns in countries around the Mediterranean about their “front line” position in relation to illegal immigration from Africa and the Middle East.
In 2013 I helped RTPI construct a timeline to tell the story of planning 1914-2014 for their centenary year. Inevitably the focus was on the Institute itself and events in the UK. However, it set me wondering what a “World View” of planning over that 100 years might look like?
Just a few months ago there were major demonstrations in Istanbul triggered by protests against plans to build a shopping mall and housing on Taksim Gezi Park. In Rome this week I stumbled into another demonstration. A couple of hundred people had gathered late on Saturday afternoon outside a rather non-descript industrial building, a former foundry, not far from Porta Maggiore, the greatest entrance gate to ancient Rome. There were banners opposing speculators and “defending” San Lorenzo, the rather rundown neighbourhood squeezed between the railway, La Sapienza University and an elevated urban motorway. A hundred meters away the carabinieri were lined up with their riot shields.