Urban planning is a key instrument for guiding urban development and creating prosperity in cities. However, traditional modes of planning have largely proved ineffective in dealing with the challenges of urbanization, e.g. slum formation, urban sprawl, and the impacts of climate change. Planning frameworks, including their tools, institutions and regulations, play a significant role in determining sustainable cities.
This E-Dialogue on Urban Planning will explore all these issues, and more. Urban planning is inextricably linked to urban governance, and therefore a wide range of issues and challenges related to urban governance which have a bearing on the form and shape of cities, will also be discussed. Views and experiences about laws, regulations, and institutions which work, and those which don’t, are welcome. New ideas and approaches on how urban growth can contribute to enhancing the prosperity of cities will be shared.
Among the most significant challenges of urban planning today and in the next few decades is how to make space available for structured urban growth, without encouraging sprawl or inefficient land use. Uncontrolled sprawl development results in high costs for infrastructure and transport, fuel consumption and GHG emissions, and alteration of ecological structures and the conversion of rural land into urban uses—all of which are environmentally unsustainable. A process of orderly city extension needs to be guided by appropriate urban plans. In addition, laws, fiscal incentives and institutions to curb the distortions of urban land market are needed to facilitate the delivery of urban land. At the same time, city extension should be complemented by the transformation of the existing city, and in particular addressing the challenges of urban poverty and slums.
Finally, this Dialogue will also discuss how the quality of public spaces can be enhanced in cities. Some conventional planning instruments, such as strict separation of land uses through zoning, have actually led to the fragmentation of open spaces and loss of urban quality. How can these be corrected? How can streets be converted into vibrant, lively public spaces? How can private and semi-private spaces be opened up and made more accessible to the urban population? How can urban planning contribute towards the creation of diverse public spaces that add value and quality to urban social and economic life? All these issues will also be explored within this E-Dialogue.