The School of Built Environment and Development Studies within the College of Humanities hosted a World Planning Day virtual event under the theme The Paradox of Planning Implementation across the Globe. This was a pre-congress event for the 56th International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Virtual World Planning Congress on the Post-Oil City. The sub-themes were Spatial Planning, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Smart Cities, and COVID-19 and Urban Design.
UKZN partnered with several stakeholders to organise the event, including eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, the South African Council of Planners (SACPLAN), South African Cities Network (SACN), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE).
Academic Leader for Planning and Housing, Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu said, ‘World Town Planning Day aims to advance public and professional interests within the planning profession and is dedicated to recognising the ideals of community planning, which brings professional planners and communities together.’
Dean and Head of the School Professor Ernest Khalema said, ‘We are proud to be co-hosting this important event where we are able to engage and learn more about urban resilience, and smart sustainable cities. It enables us to actively explore solutions that help to build more inclusive and resilient communities and learn how the private and public sectors are working together to create sustainable cities.’
Speaking during the event Professor Piotr Lorens of ISOCARP spoke to urban planning, urban resilience, climate change, and COVID-19. ‘Reinventing urban design is an important issue for local and regional development policies that should assist in bridging the gap between policy makers and urban designers. The physical quality of space should be of the utmost importance for future development. Given the pandemic, we should get ready in terms of planning and liveability for future design.’
Addressing the sub-theme of COVID-19 and town planning, SACPLAN chairperson Mr Khetha Zulu said, ‘This pandemic forces planners to reassess the way we do planning. The rapid spread of the disease is also because of the densities within our cities. It poses a challenge to physical planning norms and requires measures for sustainable development. Even more challenging is, how do we address areas with limited resources to address this issue of density?’
The opening panel discussion featured local and international speakers Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina (Smart Cities); Mr Ashraf Adam (Spatial Planning); and Mr Joe Ravetz (United Kingdom) with facilitation by Mrs Prashina Mohangi.
The panellists’ looked into “lived experiences” of a contextual nature across the world for spatial planning implementation strategies, providing further insight on how planners can contribute to the achievement of smart cities based on lived global experiences. They also focused on detailed experiences of implementing elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovations that can be used in planning across the world and the opportunities and challenges that it presents.