Ten Reasons Why Cities Need Urban Planning
You might all have heard of Urban Planning from somewhere before you came across this blog or what kind of a profession it is..well, I assume. Personally I hadn’t known about it in my early years before university. If you ask me why, it is because that I lived in Kenya of course, and in MOMBASA, duh! Who cares if they are no bus stops around the city? or Even sidewalks for our safety? Yeah, No one.
Mombasa, Kenya’s largest coastal city, actually saw its last urban plan expire in 2000 and since then it has not been renewed. As a result, rapid urbanization has led to developers building in any available space.
So basically, Urban Planning is the planning and design of urban areas. Or in a more scientific way it can be described as a technical and political process concerned with the welfare of people, control of the use of land, design of the urban environment including transportation and communication networks, and protection and enhancement of the natural environment. It is like the marriage between people and their surroundings.
How important is it?
Here are the 10 reasons why…
1. It works as a framework for growth
Cities need to grow in an orderly manner in order to develop. Constructive planning is what enhances the livability, prosperity and equity of a city.
2. It becomes a well prepared city
Staying ahead of challenges, city planners get to see opportunities and manage risks from a vantage point. With reliable information on the current situation, they will be able to make connections between the long-term vision and short term actions. Thus anticipating the future allows our cities to be well prepared.
3. Planning improves impact
Successful cities build momentum by undertaking priority projects that are aligned with the vision. Planning identifies pressing issues and available resources and makes sure that initiatives are not redundant or going in different directions.
4. An Appropriate urban form is essential
Designing a spatial pattern that addresses citizens’ concerns is a means for delivering a better city. The right policies on density, land use, public space and the layout of infrastructure and services can make a difference in delivering quality of life in a city.
5. Urban planning positively impacts urban economy
Planning coordinates the spatial location and distribution of economic activity and facilitates value capture from public investment and the transformation of rural to urban land. Making sure there is enough employment in a city is a priority for local leaders. Cities compete to attract investment with a view to generating economic activity.
6. A collectively held plan allows cities to build lasting relationships
City leaders that are able to see opportunity in urbanization would need to engage all possible contributions toward capturing it. A collectively held framework gives local leaders a road map to reach out to citizens, energize departments and mobilize partners so that they become engaged in realizing the vision.
7. A broader territorial perspective helps cities attain economies of scale
Cities are always associated with a surrounding region with which they share resources and opportunities. They not only work within municipal boundaries but with its surrounding region, cities that plan together can make a competitive advantage out of cross-municipal coordination. In addition to spatial efficiencies, this allows them to draw on economies of scale to boost their negotiation power.
8. Continuity generates credibility
Successful cities have ensured continuity of plans through political cycles, realizing that a stable road map would make them more credible. Investment is a long-term endeavor that benefits from predictable conditions. Spatial planning is an asset to reduce uncertainties and thus its continuity contributes to the creation of transparent opportunities for an engaged society.
9. Anticipating is more cost effective than reacting to problems
Cities that plan in sufficient scale would be in a position of anticipating rather than reacting, hence being able to tackle the root of the problem. Unplanned spatial patterns are inefficient and require more resources to maintain, and the high cost of bad or no decisions is likely to make them irreversible.
10. A framework gives consistency to messages
Communication is a key asset for cities, but the opportunity to connect and convey a city’s advantages can be undermined by empty or contradictory messages. Momentum and support are increased when the local leader can demonstrate substantive, even if incremental, progress that is consistent with the collective vision and framework for action.