What Is the Role of Modern Urban Planning in South Africa?

Urban planning entails the focused design and management of space usage as related to economic activities, physical presence, and social impact of human activities on the particular urban environment. Urban planning involves professional urban planners, policy makers, engineers, land surveyors, architects, attorneys, public relations officers, and more. It also involves public participation, as the communities affected by urban planning policies and goals have the right to make objections and be involved in how their spaces are developed.

Urban planning covers open land and land already in use. It covers the setting of development goals, the collection of relevant data for decision-making regarding development, the analysis thereof, projections, public participation, and the implementation of plans.

It is both a political and technical process whereby the land use is planned as related to water, infrastructure, soil, minerals, and air directly related to the town or city environment. It includes the planning of communication, networks, transportation, service delivery, and more. It also includes the creation of plans based on the available resources and infrastructure. Considerations include the need for sanitation, transport, education, healthcare, religion, and housing infrastructure. Urban planning can thus not be seen as a standalone activity, since the infrastructure and activities mentioned affect all areas of human living in built-up city environments.

The physical layout and infrastructure associated with human activities and settlements are the focus points of urban planning. The main objectives are to ensure quality of life, public wellbeing, economic activity, and resource management. Urban design or spatial planning is closely related to urban planning.

The orderly development of human settlements is essential to ensuring the sustainability of cities and the environments around such cities. As such, careful consideration goes into the development of the resources. Everything from the architectural design to the use of building materials, the creation of open spaces, road infrastructure, walking spaces, places of worship, educational facilities, industrial spaces, and residential settlements must be planned to ensure public welfare and the protection of resources.

Part of the above entails the zoning of areas for specific land uses, the provision of building codes for aesthetic appeal, and public safety.

Role of Urban Planners

Urban planners work with various other professionals, such as landscape architects and environmental consultants, to create urban environments including parks and open spaces. They also work with civil engineers for the planning of roads and drainage. Such urban planners furthermore work with local and provincial governments in order to ensure that the land uses are in line with land use management and spatial planning policies. They coordinate efforts regarding public participation and work with legal experts to ensure legislative compliance. As such, city planners coordinate planning efforts with the help of various professionals.

How Urban Planning Processes Work

City planning entails the use of technical data, such as maps of settlements, demographics, and geographic layouts in planning. Data collection takes place and the analysis of the data helps to get information for planning purposes. The population growth, mapping, surveying, migration patterns, healthcare needs, and more are analysed in relation to the effect on land use. It is thus a complex scientific and technical process to ensure the organised development of human settlements.

City planners, for instance, make projections regarding settlement patterns. They consider movement through the urban areas and how land use is affected by this. They play important roles in helping to establish building codes for the construction of infrastructure.

Modern urban planning is focused on the creation of balance as related to economic growth, environmental impact, social wellbeing, and aesthetic features. Contemporary city planning models form part of a larger plan to ensure the sustainable development of cities. Although it is a public sector function, it entails the involvement of private city planners, who help to optimise the use of infrastructure. They, for instance, address traffic congestion issues and over-settlement in environmentally sensitive parts of the city.

Even though the planners work alongside many professionals and government officers, they have a certain level of independence, thus ensuring objectivity in the planning and analysis.

Where to Find Urban Planning Experts

View our range of services to get an idea of how we can be of assistance or get in touch with our team of city planners for assistance in the data collection, analysis, reporting, and planning of city areas according to sustainability principles. We offer everything from mapping to pattern prediction assistance, guidance regarding land use management, and the coordination of public participation processes.