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Where town planning is in flight, cities deteriorate, says Ayinde

By Victor Gbonegun
15 November 2021   |   4:09 am
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has urged stakeholders to provide leverage for town planning profession to thrive in the overall interest of cities and citizenry.

• As Lagos seeks sustainable, livable environment
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has urged stakeholders to provide leverage for town planning profession to thrive in the overall interest of cities and citizenry.

The institute warned that cities would deteriorate and exemplify planlessness where town planning is practically in flight, adding that developing well-articulated master plans and subsidiary plans with legislative backings cannot be over-emphasised.

NITP president, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, who spoke at the commemoration of 2021 World Town Planning Day, said Nigeria is grappling with global challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and terrorism, with many of her citizens either involuntarily displaced or dead.

The consequences, he said are pronounced in the absence or neglect of planning. He said land use conflict, remote accessibility to critical social amenities and poorly coordinated emergency response are ills addressed by conscious planning.

The commemoration of the day promotes the ideals of town planning as well as educates the public on its role in creating livable communities. It is a watershed in the 72-year history of creating awareness about the environmental impact produced by the development of human settlements.

It also helps clarify the role of planners and the responsibilities of governments and the general community on how the world’s settlements can be shaped into an ideal ambience for habitation, work and recreation.

According to him, the signs of lack of attention to planning are quite visible, ranging from disorganised physical environment, disjointed road networks, uncoordinated housing development, lack of physical and social infrastructure to uncompleted projects. He added that the springing up of informal settlements, congestion of limited facilities put strain on the capacity of the urban areas to achieve resilience.

Ayinde said: “The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has now brought to fore the significance of town planning and the need for us to plan our human settlements, particularly urban areas, which are said to accommodate about 55 per cent of the world’s population.

“Areas with best practices of town planning have demonstrated capacity for resilience, which those without planning do not have. Policy makers and the political class need to understand that all programmes and promises have spatial implications, and that makes town planning, which emphasises spatial arrangement of human activities, very important.”

The seemingly defiant farmers-herders clashes, the NITP boss said, are an offshoot of absence or neglect of regional plans, master plans and subsidiary plans to harmonise varying land use interests for peaceful coexistence and national growth.

He further said the nations’ yearly budget rituals are facing challenging times as spatial dimensions of provisions were ignored during conception.
He stated that planners are at hand to help re-establish the nexus between scarce land resources, programmes and capital projects.

“Our settlements need to be inclusive, smart, resilient, and sustainable. To achieve these lofty objectives, fellow citizens, practitioners and policymakers must understand, appreciate and continually pursue the ideals of the town planning profession, enable the process and embrace the products.”

IN a related development, State Government, through its Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, has said the yearly observance of World Town Planning Day is a clarion call to promote ideals of livable, organised and sustainable built environment.

Salako noted that the protection of the physical environment was germane for seamless development, social security and wellbeing of the human race, as the built environment remained the super-structure upon which other sectors revolve.

He urged professionals working in the sector to uphold compliance to standards and regulations as doing so was in the best interest of the society. He added that it was important to seize the advantage of the day to create awareness of the Lagos State Physical Planning laws and urge compliance.

Salako commiserated with families of victims of the Ikoyi collapsed building and wish survivors speedy recovery, saying that the State would surely come out stronger from the unfortunate experience.

The commissioner said the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration is leaving no stone unturned by giving the deserved attention to physical planning and urban development with innovative policies including the ongoing automation of the processes of the physical planning sector.