SAPI ENCOURAGING PLANNING FOR BETTER PLACES
By: Nhlanhla Ndlovu
The South African Planning Institute (SAPI) believes that with proper planning, Africa can be a better place.
The organisation mentioned that since the country is celebrating 20 years of Freedom, the shift in focus towards improving the quality of neighbourhoods, public spaces and business environments is essential.
In a discussion panel held at Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), the out-going President of SAPI, Yusuf Patel, revealed that the continent has the highest population growth-rate in the world.
He said that most growth takes place in intermediate cities, and most of those people are living in informal settlements, asAfrica has the highest number of informal dwellings.
Patel said, “Most of Africa’s urban growth takes place in cities with populations of less than 75 000 people.”
Since some of the African countries have been independent for over four decades, Patel urged that they must stop blaming colonisation for their issues.
“20 years after democracy in South Africa, what is the state of planning? What are we doing as planners? How long are we going to keep blaming the past?” Patel asked.
Laura Petrella, a representative from the United Nations-Habitat programme, said it is not only the planning profession that should be worried about development on the continent.
She revealed that urban-planning work has an important impact on how places are shaped and created.
“We define great places as those which have a good social, economic and visual character, and this has to happen at the same time,” Petrella said.
She added that, “We like to look at great places. Places that are perpetuated have to be great for people who use them and live in them.”