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Is Urban Planning Effective in the Developing World?

A common question raised by those working in the developing world is whether urban planning is useful in those environments. Since questions often focus on planning of a comprehensive type, they overlook planning's intrinsic value and flexibility.
Mark Hillary / flickr

Chyi-Yun Huangan Urban Specialist at the World Bank, continues a discussion started at the Bank's South Asia Region workshop on whether comprehensive long term planning works in such countries as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Nepal, that "face immediate urgencies, and more often than not, system failures in its urban development."

"There are perhaps two common misconceptions about urban planning: (i) it is a costly exercise that takes a very long time to complete; and (ii) a plan is a rigid, inflexible regulatory document that does not respond to on-the-ground needs and changes," she observes. "Yes, while the typical developed country model of comprehensive urban planning may require high technology, high capacity analysis, extensive modeling and typically large amount of resources, that is not the only form of planning. Gathering a block of residents and agree that a road is needed at a certain alignment is planning; the roads agency meeting the drainage agency to coordinate construction schedule for a road is planning; the community leader discussing with the residents on the vision of the community is planning."

She goes on to detail three elements that demonstrate the intrinsic value of planning, representing its ability to be effective in such environments:

  • Urban planning embodies a vision...
  • Urban planning is a value creation tool...
  • Urban planning is a coordination and communication instrument...
Full Story: Is Urban Planning Necessary?

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