TRP 2012 Volume 60

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Mainstreaming informality and access to land through collaborative design and teaching of aspects of a responsive planning curriculum at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Tapela, Nigel
    English: Access to urban land and resources and the pervasiveness of informality are perhaps the main cross-cutting features defining contemporary urbanism in the South, where the urbanisation of poverty is not only acute but where there is an increasing peripheralisation of the urban poor further from economic opportunities. A critical challenge is the emergence and persistence of informality and particularly the growth of informal settlements and the informal economy, and the nature of official responses to this growing phenomenon. Planning curricula and practices have been reactive, at best, to these challenges, and routinely tended to wish these realities away or treat them as temporary problems, at least in the short and medium term. The centrality of access to land is not necessarily the scarcity of land in itself, but what the land makes possible as the resource base, and therefore what benefits competing actors are able to derive from accessing well-located land in a city. Against the backdrop of the regional context of urban informality and the historical dynamics of colonial planning legacies, this article argues that the curricula of planning schools should focus on local substantive contexts, and case studies, as well as on developing deeper and more sustained collaborations with local actors in implementing locally responsive curricula. The choice of thematic issues is strategic: informality and access to land are two critical issues of substance while collaborative design and teaching is a process issue, undergirding the value basis for/of planning. The latter, collaborative curriculum design and teaching, refers to a more deliberative engagement with context, substance and actors in an African planning environment in curriculum development, design, implementation as well as sourcing and developing learning materials that speak to local contexts. Planning education is an important lever in shifting into this needed strategic ‘turn’ in planning practices that demand a more sophisticated toolkit comprising of a balance of strategic, technical and tactical assemblage of tools.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Incorporating informality into urban and regional planning education curriculum in Nigeria
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Oduwaye, Leke; Olajide, Oluwafemi
    English: To achieve sustainable development in any society the educational system must be responsive to the dynamics of that society. This article discusses issues on the level of training on informality in African planning schools with emphasis on the Lagos, Nigeria situation. The article reviews the concept of informality, the challenges, the quantum of training in planning schools curricula on issues relating to the informal sector, legislative tools available to tackle the phenomena, among others. The article concludes that there is currently inadequate training and paucity of legislation to guide the integration of the informal sector into the urban system in the study area. In the light of these findings, the need for responsive planning education curriculum in Africa is imperative. There is the need to teach on issues concerning the sporadic emergence of the informal sector in the African urban landscape. This is one of the major consequences of 21st-century African urban growth. Unfortunately, African planning schools curricula are based on standards of developed countries; thus formal training on planning solutions for the informal sector are not well entrenched, nor adequate planning regulations provided to integrate the informal sector into land use. To achieve a sustainable city landscape this article recommends the need to introduce courses such as informality, community engagement, social mobilisation, participatory planning, among others, in planning curricular. This will go a long way in improving the skills of planners towards resolving the challenges posed by the sporadic phenomena of the informal sector in Nigerian cities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The use of group work and journal writing in reinventing development planning for sustainability under complexity
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Muller, Anneke
    English: Since 2002 Stellenbosch has offered a multidisciplinary Masters programme in Planning, Management and Practice of Sustainable Development (with a specialisation in development planning), offered mainly for working adult students. One of the challenges of developing a curriculum for this degree is that sustainable development (SD) and ‘development planning’, the focal points of the programme, are potentially very broad concepts, requiring the exploration of a variety of complex challenges in the African context, moving beyond the traditional spatial focus of planning in South Africa. This article explores the various potential meanings of SD, as well as its link with complexity thinking, systems thinking and complex adaptive systems and its implications for planning education and curriculum development. Complex adaptive systems thrive on diversity, creativity, and innovation. The programme is not about spoon-feeding, but about allowing space to explore and discover for oneself the diverse interpretations, tensions and contradictions inherent in planning, development and sustainability. Most concepts (participation, sustainability, planning, development, and so on) have a whole continuum of possible meanings between polar opposites, and it is important to make students aware of the language games people play in order to enable them to move beyond the clichés, myths and spin. Self-managed learning is an important element of this programme and innovative methods have to be found to teach the basics (to kick-start the learning) and create the pre-conditions for lifelong learning, as well as instil the critical, questioning, and imaginative attitude needed to invent the sustainable future we need. In addition to formal lectures and discussion classes, writing skill workshops to teach the important skill of writing, two of the more innovative teaching techniques used to try and bridge the teaching divide are journal writing and group work. In the real world, actor collaboration and group processes are very important methods of building knowledge. Since SD does not have a fixed meaning and is value-laden and multi- (or trans-) disciplinary, it requires democratic and deliberative public processes to give meaning to the concept. For this reason, group work forms an important element of the teaching curriculum and students are required to give feedback on the group process after each exercise and in their journals. The purpose of the journal writing is also to try to stimulate deep, rather than superficial learning and to help make the linkages in support of transdisciplinary learning, where learners are taught to make connections between social, political, economic, biological and physical dimensions and to make use of more holistic ways of thinking. Journal writing and reflections on group work have demonstrated many learning benefits, but also the need for more structure and guidance to steer individual learning processes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Spatial planning, infrastructure and implementation: implications for planning school curricula
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Klein, Garth; Klug, Neil; Todes, Alison
    English: Infrastructure plays key roles in shaping the spatial form of the city at a macro- and a more local scale, and it influences the sustainability, efficiency and inclusiveness of cities and local areas. Linking infrastructure and spatial planning is therefore critical. Wide-ranging sets of knowledge and skills are required to enable planners to make these links, from technical knowledge of different types of infrastructure delivery systems, institutions and finance, to normative dimensions, such as sustainability, inclusion, liveability, efficiency, and their spatial implications, to socio-political, governance and institutional dimensions, such as the politics of decision-making, community participation, and negotiation. A matrix of knowledge and skills is produced, and the way these fields of study have been taken up in the undergraduate/honours planning programme at the University of the Witwatersrand is explored. The teaching methodologies and approaches which might be used to address these issues are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revisiting planning education at the University of Pretoria
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Oranje, Mark
    English: This article discusses the way in which the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Pretoria is using three sets of projects in which it has participated over the past twelve years in revising its planning curricula. These three projects, namely improving intergovernmental development planning; enhancing community-based planning, and presenting and participating in capacity-building and certificated short courses, are discussed, in conjunction with what faculty experienced and observed, and what lessons were learnt with regard to the Department’s planning curricula. This is followed by a discussion of the implications of the experiences and lessons learnt in the three projects for planning education on a more generic level.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Planning innovation for better urban communities in sub-Saharan Africa: the education challenge and potential responses
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2012) Lwasa, Shuaib
    English: Cities in the sub-Saharan Africa region present challenges to the urban and regional planning profession, city managers, leaders, educationists and dwellers (Rakodi, 1997, 2001; McGill, 1988; Diaw, Nnkya & Watson, 2002). This is at a time when Africa is urbanising faster than any other region (UN-Habitat, 2008), calling for a rethinking of planning to respond to existing needs. Although the current urbanisation level is at 39.1% (UN-Habitat, 2008), it is projected to increase to over 50% by 2025. This outstanding demographic shift on the African continent and particularly in the sub-Saharan region presents current and future urban challenges. In addition to the future challenges, the unresolved question as to whether existing and much utilised models of urban development offer solutions to the planning needs in the region should be investigated, although it is important to recognise the failures of locally designed initiatives. The models have been critiqued widely (Brockerhoff, 2000; Arimah & Adeagbo, 2000) and this is not the focus of this article. However, it is necessary to recognise that the planning profession has relied on these models through the planning education system. Notwithstanding the challenges of resources, leadership, and political dispensations, planning education systems have played a role in influencing and shaping urban development in the region. Although planning models have been critiqued, planning education systems have received less attention in respect of their role in influencing the development pathways of cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Likewise, planning education systems have not adequately been viewed as points of entry in planning innovation for new urban Africa. Drawing from experiences of cities in the region, two urban development processes can be discerned: first, the explosion of some cities particularly former colonial administrative or economic hubs and, second, the fast growth of secondary cities. There are also many small rural trading centres and ‘hamlets’ with densities comparable to neighbourhoods of the large-cities. The latter, conceptualised in this article as urbanisation by implosion, is not properly accounted for in the national statistical reports. Several drivers are responsible for this urbanisation, including population dynamics, legislative designation, and increasing densities in rural trading centres. The challenges of social service provision, sustainable economic development, housing delivery, urban governance, spatial development guidance and urban environmental management are yet to be thoroughly analysed and rethought in planning education in the context of addressing the existing needs. This article examines the planning education system and how it has influenced the nature and shape of cities in sub-Saharan Africa, the outcome of which may not have substantively responded to existing needs. This article will also identify possible points of innovation in planning education that may create a difference in addressing the existing needs in sub-Saharan Africa.