KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND WRONGS ON TOWN PLANNING MATTERS
Knowing the rights and wrongs on town planning matters simply means to know both the good and bad aspect of town planning, but before we discussed rights and wrongs we need to know what town planning is and some top town planning issues that may affect both the town planner and the public individual (client).
Town Planning is the planning and control of the construction, growth and development of a town or other urban area. It is the planning of all the new buildings, roads and parks in a place in order to make them attractive and convenient for the people who live there. The purpose of town planning is to protect and/or improve the commonwealth of a particular location. The objectives are to protect the environment, improve public health and safety and increase the wealth of choices available to each and every individual living in that location.
When I was approached to deliver this lecture, I was initially confused on how to address the issue, am I addressing town planners alone or non-town planners, then what are the rights and wrong that we are talking about sincerely I was lost for some days, but I got a clue by finding out what is RIGTHS and what is WRONGS.
RIGHTS are legal, social or ethical principle of freedom or entitlement that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owned to people, according to some legal system, social convention or ethical theory.
While WRONGS is something unsatisfactory about the situation, person or thing you are talking about, if you choose the wrong thing, person or method you make a mistake and do not choose the one that you really want.
KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS AND WRONGS AS A PUBLIC INDIVIDUAL/CLIENT ON TOWN PLANNING MATTERS
On town planning matters, what are rights and what are wrongs for a citizen? What is rights are simple, obeying planning laws, support the enforcement of planning laws, and seek for the implementation of planning laws.
It is your right to demand for good environment that includes provision of basic infrastructural facilities like water supply, good roads, power supply and health facilities in a sustainable environment.
It is also a right as a citizen to demand for public participation in the development /formation of any plan and its implementation. Planning is about people’s welfare and that is why public participation is important as a right, after all, you can’t barb my hair in my absence, so anything that has to do with peoples existence needs peoples involvement.
It is the right of the citizen to call for the full implementation of the planning laws and also calls for provision of plans for every human settlement an aspect neglected by government ( focuses is on using planning as revenue sources).
It is the right of a citizen to call for the setting up of tribunals that they can approach if they feel any injustice from government agencies. It is the right of the citizen to help government in implementing all its planning policy.
Oh ,what is wrong on the part of the citizen?
- The citizen is wrong when it fails to seek for its rights.
- Do you live in a place where there is no good roads, water supply, power supply and you do not challenge the government for its failure, then you are wrong?
- Do you dispose your refuse on the roads or in drainages, then you are wrong
- Do you build your structure without government approval, then you are wrong. The citizen has a major role to play on town planning matters because planning impact is felt most at the grassroots, if the citizen / public failed to act at different levels of governments, groups of society, then planning can never succeed
The environment is a complex one and thus exhibiting complex problems. It is observed that the planning authorities alone cannot enforce planning ordinances and laws that are to be implemented to achieve a desirable environment. It is therefore important to carry the public individual along in order to improve the environment.
As an individual, there are certain things we do consciously or unconsciously that affects town planning. These actions/ in-actions results in lots of town planning issues and therefore, we need to know our responsibilities and things we should not do concerning town planning.
Your responsibilities as a public individual
- Seek to know more about town planning.
- Report cases of improper planning to the right quarters.
- Be willing to work hand in hand with the town planner in order to ensure functionality of the environment.
Wrong things to do as a public individual
- Having a wrong perception about planning laws and order and planning in general.
- Over acting and over reacting on planning matters.
- Failures of ethical system.
- Trying to boycott proper planning standards
KNOW YOUR RIGHT AND WRONG ON TOWN PLANNING MATTERS (TOWN PLANNERS)
Town planning Issues aims to establish a society with bases in land use to achieve sustainable development and meet the needs of the members of society. The urban planning Issues helps to achieve economic prosperity only, but we must also strive to improve the lives of the population. These are some of the issues facing town planning and its negative effects on society and how to eliminate them.
Planners are the custodians of planning aims and objective, planners are trained about protecting the environment and promoting human interest on environmental issues, when planners refuse to act when it matters then they are wrong, if planners are corrupt in discharging their duties, then they are wrong, when planners fail in policy formulation and implementation then they are wrong
As a town planner, you’ll be involved in the management and development of cities, towns, villages and the countryside. Your aim will be to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transport and the environment, in order to allow appropriate development to take place. Regeneration within towns and cities forms an important part of planning and the often competing views of local businesses and communities are taken into account. If you work within a rural area, you’ll need to ensure that development is sustainable and that the right balance of development is achieved to preserve the countryside. You will also aim to make a positive contribution towards tackling the effects of climate change.
Your responsibilities as a town planner
- As a planner, you’ll need to:
- Cover a broad area of work using many different skills.
- Choose whether to specialize in a particular area, such as protecting the historical environment or urban design, or to work across a variety of areas.
- Develop creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties.
- Consult with stakeholders and other interested parties.
- Negotiate with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects.
- Assess planning applications and monitor outcomes as necessary.
- Research and design planning policies to guide development.
- Research and analyze data to help inform strategic developments, such as increases in affordable housing provision.
- Design layouts and draft design statements.
- Use information technology systems such as computer-aided design (CAD) or geographical information systems (GIS).
- Attend and present at planning boards, appeals and public inquiries.
- Keep up to date with legislation associated with land use.
- Promote environmental education and awareness.
- Help disadvantaged groups express their opinions about planning issues and proposals, and visit sites to assess the effects of proposals on people or the environment.
- Schedule available resources to meet planning targets.
- Write reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations. These reports may be for a range of groups, from borough councils to regional assemblies, or members of the public.
- Helping to energize places that have become run-down while conserving historic buildings and making the most of the landscape.
- Helping to balance the needs of a growing population for more homes and more travel with the environmental impact and how we manage/ reduce waste.
Wrong things to do as a town planner
- Planning without public opinion i.e. planning without involving or considering members of the community and as a result not having a proper relationship with the public.
- Not carrying out enough sensitization for the general public.
- Taking bribes and thereby, boycotting proper planning standards.
- Nonchalant attitudes concerning the implementation of planning laws and policies.
- Lack of understanding of the core areas of activities and specialization.
- Inconsistence on rules and policies.
In summary planners are expected to obey the code of conduct in discharging their duties However, I will like to conclude this lecture by calling our attention to the followings
The problem of growing population growth
The problem of slums
The problem of population concentration
The problem of displacement
The problem of Education / Awareness
Lastly remember too many wrongs don’t make a right
Ashiru Olugbenga O. is a registered Town Planner with NITP & TOPREC and founder of Voice of a Town Planner - aimed towards projecting & advocating for the Town Planning Profession in Nigeria.