The world is urbanizing at an extremely rapid rate. Most regions will be predominantly urban by the middle of the 21st century according to projections. This calls for urgent measures to curb such a development that may be accompanied with social, economic, and political spillovers. City-region planning is a discipline that engages in establishing order and future directions for growth and development of cities and regions across the globe. The discipline provides strategies for land use, city linkages with the regions, financial capacity enhancement framework, environment conservation strategies, and capacity building. It establishes directions on spatial growth and structure of the city and region, neighborhood form, and regional development.
City-region planning takes place within the context of governance. The discipline harmonizes physical growth and arrangement of towns and their social and economic needs. The assumption is that governance implies two different ways. Firstly, it denotes distribution of institutions, agencies, interests, and regulatory systems. Secondly, it refers to substitute model for running communal affairs.
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City-region planning and governance are in structure form for many years. There has been a substantial waning in the role of formal government, in administration of social and economic relationships. Interest of participation of non-governmental agencies in a range of national roles at a diversity of spatial levels has increased. Bureaucracy in government structures has become flexible. National governments are adopting partnership and networking with the private sector. There has also been a shift from the formal government organization to sharing of service delivery with civil society and private sector. This restructuring has also been characterized by adoption of devolution governments to manage local and regional level resources.
The change of organization in the structure of city-region planning and governance has led to societal disintegration, increase of organizations, multifaceted networks of interactions, redefinition of links, inequality of authorities and errands across diverse sectors of governmental and non-governmental institutions, growing role of market forces, and misperception over the role of market players. For instance, in urban planning procedures, stakeholders come from outside the confines of state agencies. These stakeholders represent contradictory, policy intentions, and welfares.
Therefore, characteristics of city-region planning include diversity of stakeholders and interests who come together to work in managing urban futures. It becomes obvious that city-region planning is not just about expressing thoughts, strategies, and programs. It also entails executing these strategies through cooperative activities. A practice of governance can be in the form of city-region planning. This forms the link between city-region planning and governance. City-region planning related closely with governance because it not only stipulates policies and strategies for development, but also requires implementation of such ideas. After identification of urban growth strategies, authorities take into consideration relevance of proposals before forwarding them to governance structures where they can be adopted.
Incorporation of sustainable development to planning is one of the current events that demonstrate city-region planning and governance. Sustainable development in the context of city-region planning refers to creating cities and regions that do not compromise the life of future generations. Sustainable city-region planning embraces aspects such as green a built environment free of carbon emissions, protection of environmental resources, and efficient waste management. Design of sustainable cities is to make efficient use of renewable energy sources and develop with negligible dependence from the countryside (Riddell, 2004).
Conceptual diagram for elements of sustainability, city-regional planning has been incorporating sustainability in planning (University of Maryland, 2013).
Part of the objectives of this essay is to elaborate to students on the subject of urban-regional development and planning in the global world. Secondly, it seeks to provide insights on the rise of new regionalism, progressive ruralism and the urban prospect (USP2 Urban World Systems, 2013).
There has been a rise of regionalism in world. This refers to the state when people strongly identify with certain states or regions to articulate grievances of common concern. The perception of regionalism is that it ought to be used as a strategy of pooling together to push on a common front. It is a concept of planning. Some of the main causes of regionalism are inequality in resource distribution, disagreements with current authorities and common problems. The people may want planners to address peculiar problems that relate to their region.
Progressive ruralism entails participatory of rural communities in development of their areas. In most cases, rural areas lag behind in economic growth. However, following the emergence of participatory planning, progressive ruralism has begun and rural communities engage in invigorating their countryside. This gives such rural regions prospects for urban development.
Urban-regional development refers to the improvement in social, economic and environmental status of urban and regional areas. Regional development may be indicated by increased productivity of a region, increased revenue base, increased investment, increased export returns and attraction of industries to the region. The indicators for urban development may include livable urban neighborhoods, adequate housing stock, sufficient infrastructure and utility services, coordinated land use, efficient transportation system, and employment opportunities
Urban-regional development comes about through urban and regional planning, which provides strategies for land use and design of urban environment. Urban and regional planning also implicate resource use in different regions and countries, guiding orderly development of settlements and communities, integrating land use planning and transportation planning to advance the built, economic and social environment of societies. The combination of these elements of urban and regional planning brings about urban regional development
Planning at the regional scale is essential. It structures land use and transportation patterns which are crucial to economic growth.
Apprehension over global future of cities and regions varies from country to country. The task is to classify convenient and gratifying modes of development which include socially suitable and sustainable components. Consideration to the overall worth of living, rural and urban, is the platform to base city-regional planning. The development of towns and cities is in line with the premise of search of employment and be a better life. Indeed, the number of people living in urban centers, in most countries, has been increasing.
Unplanned urbanization can have both constructive and negative aspects. Cities have the synergies to provide services that regions may not be able to provide. The delivery of basic services such as the transportation system, water and sewerage, education, administration, specialized healthcare and recreational facilities is better in cities than the countryside. However, continued uncontrolled urbanization has let cities experience traffic snarl ups, infrastructure failures, inadequate housing stock, and unemployment and institution incapacitation. It is the role of urban planning to remedy the situation. (United Nations Habitat, 2004)
The focus for urban development should be guided towards proper utilization of land. Space is paramount in urban growth, and planners should ensure proper economical use of space. Revitalizing sectors lagging behind in development is also essential in achieving urban development. Downtown zones and corridors are facing complications such as urban decay, expired structures and second-rate housing for the inner-city populace. This often causes a diversity of social challenges, such as defacement, crime, unemployment, and poverty. In most cases, cities lack the capacity or authoritative will revitalize tradition buildings or re-plan downtown and suburb corridors. Urban and regional development institutions should initiate urban renewal program for developing such zones.
Progressive directions for community planners should be based on a local level as argued by Tom Angotti in his book, “New York for sale: community planning confronts global real estate. He argues that the prospects of planning should be emphasized in local thinking. Community planners need to understand how to operate in the context of contradictions and complexities. These include the politics that take place in the local, regional and global level.
The strongest local strategy is one which incorporates global thinking. All the achievements in ensuring efficient city planning will only have durable value when the success has links with the globe level. For example, the formal boundary of New York City only captures a third of the city’s population. Most of the financial market resources are within this confine. Despite this, it should be noted that the city’s leading resource is not financial markets, but rather the people.
Local leadership should widen their thinking from local property interests to regional partnerships to enable coalitions for affordable housing, efficient public transportation, and environmental protection. The government should move from solitary fragmented development efforts to regional coalitions. Remedies for local problems can be reached if such problems are to be in consideration at regional level and global scale. For instance, if local suburbs continue to add lanes leading to expressways, it will affect the flow of traffic. There is a possibility to reduce this when there is a link between local road upgrading express ways. Community planners must tackle these problems through planning corporations, community movements, regional and world societies. Thinking locally, regionally and globally in solving planning challenges is the only forward leeway to curb community challenges (Angotti, 1941).
Community planners should take their expertise as an opportunity to guide the community on the utilization of land to avoid conflicts. Indeed, community planning is a cardinal tool in identifying strategies to sustain community neighborhoods. Community planners should work in the context of local, regional and global thoughts of currents trends and provide functional strategies to alleviate community development anomalies (Angotti, 1941).
There is a rising tide in advocacy for community planning. The community should be linked with land. This means expanding the public trust and consolidation of community land. It also entails planning for the environment, transportation, housing, watersheds, industry, recreation and agriculture. Angotti argues that reconnecting land and people will need redefining land use planning in theory and practice. The interest of the common public always holds paramount. The urban systems should detach the concept of monopolizing the ownership of land.
Though city-region planning in the world continues to face diverse challenges, it is slowly gaining a role in the development. For instance, a rapid field research preview of the building process of housing projects in Milwaukie reveals that the Dogwood city of the west will focus on planning standards. Sustainability issues, city zoning regulations, service delivery and housing typologies are also some of the factors put in consideration as revealed in the research (Milwaukie Dogwood City of the West, 2013).
In conclusion, there are different urbanization challenges that hamper the developed or developing countries. Population surge from the countryside to cities is in the company of negative spillovers such as shortages in service delivery, compromised city welfare, inadequacy of infrastructure, economic decline, unemployment, and restructuring of revenue sources. City-region planning and governance have brought a new configuration in urban and regional development that can provide alternative avenues for sustainable and controlled growth. Planners should review approaches to city-region planning to incorporate emerging trends in the world, such as the need to contextualize problems regionally and globally, and participatory planning.
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