WETIN TOWN PLANNERS DEY DO SEF
Growing up, I remember that people would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I also remember writing compositions titled “What I will like to be when I grow up”. Amongst the various options I and most of my mates had were the normal professions like Lawyer, Engineer, Doctor, Accountant and later as we grew up, we started changing to Aeronautical Engineer, Neuro-Surgeon, Astronaut and other “big” professions that made us appear smart. Fast forward to the days prior to JAMB, by this time I had done a great deal of SWOT analysis on myself and had moved to a new profession: Economics. However, I was given the offer to study Town and Regional Planning. Now this was the first time ever that I heard about a certain course called Town Planning. I went home, read what I could about the course, visited the department just to get a feel of what was going on there and then I finally decided that I will accept the offer (not that I was willing to re-write JAMB though). I recall the very inquisitive look people give me when I say I am studying Town Planning. I also remember someone telling me that Town Planning is not more than contour lines. I wish he knew better.
Now let us look at the very beginning. According to the bible in the book of Genesis the first chapter, everything God made was set in order having its own position and ruling over its own sphere. The sun controls the day, the moon controls the night. The sea animals live in the sea, the land animals live on land, and the aerial animals live in the air. The sea separated from dry land and had its boundary and the dry land yields grasses, herbs, fruits, trees etc. This is the divine order, call it divine Town Planning. Do you know that in the olden days, Nigerian cities had orderliness, a type of plan about them? There is always the King’s Palace, there’s the market square, the worship centres and even the evil forests. Each part of the country is known for its own plan which is peculiar to it. I am sure you are beginning to get the picture of what Town Planning is.
Real city problems started with the rise of the industrial revolution during which there was a rise in the rate of innovations leading to the growth of industries and factories. With the concentration of these industries and factories in the town, many people were drawn to the cities where the jobs were (who wouldn’t be). This lead to urbanisation with its numerous challenges which includes but not limited to: inadequate housing, crime and insecurity, poverty, unemployment, pollution, traffic congestions and these began to affect the health, the safety and the wellbeing of the inhabitants. This is where the modern Town Planner comes in.
THE WORK WEY TOWN PLANNERS DEY DO
Before we look at the functions of Town Planners, let us first consider the definition of Town Planning. There has been several definitions of Town Planning but for the purpose of this discuss, we shall adopt the definition given by Ogunleye (2008) in which he states that Town Planning is the rational and economic use of natural resources particularly land in a way that the community benefits through the creation of liveable and sustainable settlements where returns on investments are guaranteed. Having captured the essence of who a Town Planner is, let us now look at his specialisation.
• PLAN PREPARATION: Town Planners (not Surveyors/Architects/draughtsmen etc) by law are empowered to prepare and review various types of development plans which include: Master Plan, Structure Plan, Campus Plan, Layout Plan, District Plan etc. This promotes the best use of a community’s land and resources for residential, commercial, institutional, and recreational purposes.
• ADVOCACY/REPRESENTATION: Town Planners function as mediators in community disputes, presenting alternatives that are acceptable to opposing parties. These alternatives could be in form of advocating for a change of use, increase in density or even representation of clients at public meetings/consultations
• CONDUCT OF STUDIES: A Town Planner is skilled in the conduct of impact assessments (environmental, socio-economic, traffic, socio-cultural etc)baseline environmental studies, Feasibility and Viability studies, Spatial studies amongst others
• DEVELOPMENT CONTROL: Planners scrutinise proposed public and private facilities, such as schools, houses, hospitals etc to be sure that these amenities will meet the changing demands placed upon them over time. They ensure compliance with economic and legal issues involved in zoning codes, building codes, and environmental regulations.
Asides these, some planners are also involved in environmental issues ranging from wetland preservation, to pollution control, from the location of new landfills and forest conservation.
They also provide data on the types of industries in the community, the characteristics of the population, and employment and economic trends.
The work wey Town Planners dey do too much joor and this list is actually in-exhaustive.
So when you want to buy a land, call on a Town Planner first.
You want to build, call a Town Planner first.
You want a layout plan, call a Town Planner first.
You want an impact assessment study, call a Town Planner first.
#sustainableenvironment #Townplanning #buildright #Oluchiwrites #nitp #atopcon #toprec #ypf
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.