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social amenities
transportation hub
proper organization
Urban Planning
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Urban Planning


This is an architectural branch that largely focuses basically on organizing and planning metropolitan places by dealing with the design and organization of urban space and activities. On the other hand, terra firma usage is the utilization of land for, residential, ago-industry, leisure, or other varied uses.

Other than measures to ensure healthy and safe citizenry, it also considers how the city looks like from building designs to incorporating landscaping and green spaces into the metropolitan area.

For instance;

  • Lack of proper organization in housing
  • Industrial sector and the establishment of hospitals and schools
  • The safety of dwellers in the ancient cities.
  • Lack of other social amenities have created innumerable problems for health

All these cause innumerable challenges to the public.

Finding effective solutions for the current situations in cities and towns is a more complicated undertaking than is the planning of a new city or town area from scratch.

Otherwise, both are equally important part in the urban planning field as there exists a major interrelationship between them.

The history of urban planning dates back to the 18th century where New York’s Governor advocated for the allocation of $7m financing the 350-mile Erie Canal. This enabled the city to become a major transportation hub.

The US navy, in 1919 saw the creation of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) funded as a joint project between the private and the public enterprise. Denver opened its international airport in 1995. All these were big risks for the taxpayers.

The Role of Government in Urban Planning

It has a fundamental function in creating the architecture of place and also that of economies or wealth.

The government is a body that regulates and facilitates economies and urbanization. It creates statutory laws, the court system and law enforcement officers.

Better still, it sets up financial infrastructure from where development of places sources its finances. The government then establishes a budget for investments in overheads.

The central government creates the economy and the physical framework through the transport sector. According to Eric Monkkonen in his book America Becomes Urban, thinking that the form of cities is an unstoppable by product of innovations in technology is a fallacious.

Eric attributes the growth of Los Angeles to ‘political aggression’ which enabled it extends streetcar lines, build roads and annex new territories. Hence, a technological determinist cannot and will never appreciate the role of political action in technological change.

The government plays an integral role in wealth creation not only through the creation of the requisite legal framework for a market but also through direct investment in innovation.

Planning and Political Economy

Urban planning entails the combination of architectural and economic knowledge of human and engineering.

Government capital helps in the establishment of learning institutions. This investment in education pays future dividends.

The Wright Brothers who invented the aeroplane were products of learning institutions. To underscore the centrality of government, it was the American government that created the passenger airline industry through research and also financed the project.

Third world countries lack urban planning since the public sector is impoverished since towns and cities are more conceptual than factual.

Of essence to urban planning is the rule of law which has drastically changed the form of cities. The emergence of the nation-state enabled the establishment of new forms of cities and towns.

Ted Goranson, an architect and an organizational theorist, postulates that behind Adam Smith’s invisible hand is an invisible arm- the government.

This, he posits that the government plays a crucial role in the urban planning process through thorough regulatory mechanisms which ensure that towns and cities are developed appropriately to ensure orderly growth and development.

The location of buildings and the design of residential houses, trading areas, and the industrial sector are very fundamental in urban planning.

For instance, very many parents cannot literally buy the idea of their their dear children's playground being in close proximity to innumerable water treatment plants and a hospice at the central location of the metropolitan area can literally rescue lives.

On the other hand, for law enforcers, in order for law enforcers to be efficient and effective, it requires to be accessible throughout the metropolitan area within the shortest duration.

Police stations therefore are required to be centrally located as well as decentralized throughout the geographical area. Roads ought to be well designed in such a way that transport is faster and convenient.

Organized urban planning ensures sufficient road network besides having accessible public carriageway. Anticipating any growth and development requires substantive traffic management since the public's' needs in a vast city should be catered for as this is very crucial in planning of cities.

Consequently, urban planners frequently consider possible future expansion of these cities and towns will not cause traffic jam.

Mitigation Measures

Urban planners often strive to eliminate any potential dangerous points before they become problematic. Public transport requires critical planning with the expansion of metropolitan cities with a view to conserve the environment.

Developers consider the air quality and noise pollution when planning roads with the aim of limiting the impact residents have on their immediate environment by avoiding air pollution.

Currently, newly modern cities consider the installation of green spaces besides using power sources that least pollutes the environment.

Existence of slums is not only a manifestation of mismanaged urban planning but also a sign that the slum is a crucial element of contemporary urbanization.

Spiro Kostof in his book, The City Shaped posits that cities like Atlanta grew as a result of ‘uncoordinated patchwork of grids’ thus fragmented. Atlanta is thus a sprawling suburb with little sense of identity or places to its region. This underscores the centrality of the role of urban planners.

Critique to Government Role in Urban Planning

In conclusion, critiques posit that despite the centrality of government in urban planning, inefficiencies and the capacity for harm the urban arena exists and this cannot be underestimated.

For instance, urban renewal and carving of freeways through the middle of neighborhoods, demonstrates inadequacy of city planning.

The government should determine the form of laying out streets and the different means of transportation and not actually undertaking this task itself.

Street Talk

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