World Urbanism Day: Bhubaneswar Needs Savvy City Planner

Our City needs Innovation Savvy Urban Planner, a Voice on World Town Planning Day

World Town Planning Day (WTPD) celebrates the accomplishments of planners and their contributions to their communities. On November 8, planners around the world participate in different planning activities, a practice that began in 1949. This day is also known as the World Urbanism Day.

The international organization for World Town Planning Day was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires to advance public and professional interest in planning around the globe. The day promotes a broad-based awareness, support, and advocacy of community and regional planning among the general public and all levels of government through activities in recognition of planners’ accomplishments. Urban planning is the process of creating or improving the natural-built economic and social environments of urban areas.

Every year planners around the world engage in activities with an aim to raise awareness on the importance of planning in their communities. The day is celebrated in four continents every November to recognize and promote the role of planning in creating livable communities. It is an excellent opportunity to look at planning from a global perspective with planners considering challenges and solutions around the world.

Urban planners help government officials, businesses, and everyday citizens create communities by balancing interests such as transportation, open space, retail and industrial business, homes and apartments, schools, and healthcare facilities. Urban planning is a large-scale concept concerned with planning and development at all levels ( geographic, spatial, architectural, infrastructural, ecological, economic and even political ).

During this process many problems and obstacles come to the fore and as in the case of other, there are solutions and precautions. The basic concern of city-town planning is the internal form, structure, function, and appearance of urban areas. Physical aspects such as buildings, roads and land use play an important role in urban planning. At the same time, social, economic and technological forces should also be considered to create a healthy environment.

The present form of urban planning must be accompanied by the sustainability concept, that the city is more than the sum of its parts. It is a whole living thing that is constantly changing, evolving and morphing into an ever more eco-friendly and welcoming entity, which can be achieved through innovative sustainable solutions.

There is a need for zero-carbon cities with urban areas powered by renewable energy techniques and technologies. A zero-carbon city runs entirely on renewable energy; it has no carbon footprint and causes harm to the planet on this aspect. Most cities throughout the world produce energy by burning coal, oil, and gas, unintentionally emitting carbon. Almost every activity human involves burning of one of these fossil fuels.

To become a zero-carbon city, an established modern city must collectively reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to zero and all practices that emit greenhouse gases must cease. So the aim of a zero-carbon city is reducing carbon emissions from buildings, reducing waste, transport, materials and food emissions by 50 per cent of the present practice.

So on this World Town Planning Day&and World Urbanism Day, I feel proud to be both an urban planner and an urbanist. But I also know that there are many things about our profession, that need transformation. So on this day, let’s share our passion to learn and change. Let’s work to make every town and city a great place to live by making walking and cycling a priority.

As urban planners, we play an important role in creating livable  cities with resilient neighbourhoods. Just the way a society needs doctors to treat illness, a city needs urban planner to solve the diseases plaguing it like garbage, mobility, economy, environment, health, social equity and climate change.

Bhubaneswar is having all shorts of urban problems. While some are visible, others have been conveniently ignored. The result: Most of urban challenges are not addressed the way it should have been and are being attended to like event management. Once the event gets over, the debate ends. A good city like Bhubaneswar needs good urban planners, an innovator having exposure to some of the world’s greatest cities and towns. The need of the hour is not concrete blocks but creating places where people can walk, dance, play and cycle

Unfortunately, most of our cities, including Bhubaneswar, have been transformed into concrete jungles where more and more people find themselves trapped and suffer from lifestyle diseases like diabetics, obesity and mental illness.

So on this World Town Planning Day, denizens must introspect on the kind of urban planning intervention needed to build a city where they would love to live and thrive.

(The writer is an urban planner. The view are personal)

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