Today is #WorldTownPlanningDay 2018 and I feel it is important to reiterate the crucial role planners are playing across the world in shaping sustainable and resilient cities and trying to create better places for all. Those tasks are highly challenging specifically in some of the African countries where I am currently conducting research where there is a very little number of planners and huge pressures and responsibilities given to them.
In that regard, and drawing upon the results of the SAPER project, I presented back in October, at one of the plenary sessions of the 2018 Planning Africa Conference (15-17 October 2018) some results of SAPER and how they can inform the achievement of the New Urban Agenda (SDGs). The panel was comprised of Dy Currie, Peter Geraghty, Viral Desai and Kristin Agnello. Amongst the key areas, Stuart Denoon Stevens Martin Lewis and I highlighted were first the challenges facing the implementation of SDGs in South Africa due to a) the complexity of policies (by different government departments and levels); b) the significant resource and personnel constraints, which are particularly acute in small to medium municipalities (esp. rural) and c) the fact that SDGs still appear as secondary challenges in contrast to other ‘perceived’ priorities (for example housing and poverty alienation). As to move forward we suggested looking at a more holistic approach to urban planning and development breaking a too siloed approach still in place and also fostering planners’ capacity building (targeting skills needed once in practice and training after graduation).
To celebrate #WorldTownPlanningDay 2018 we have been posting a set of tweets highlighting some of the key results of SAPER to date. I am including them below: