By Ranjan K Baruah
People migrate to cities or big towns for better employment and other facilities. In recent times we have seen the growth of cities in many parts of the world. In India, we can see rapid urbanisation. There are positive and negative impacts of the urbanisation but with proper planning things can be managed in a better way and for which we need planners. We are talking about the importance of urban planning and how it can be another career option for our students. Urban planning is also referred to as urban and regional planning, regional planning, town planning, city planning, urban development, urban management, etc.
Urban planning is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks. It answers questions about how people will live, work and play in a given area and thus, guides orderly development in urban, suburban and rural areas. It is a dynamic field since the questions around how people live, work and play changes with time. These changes are constantly reflected in planning methodologies, zonal codes and policies making it a highly technical, political, social, economical and environmental field.
It is an interdisciplinary field that includes social science, architecture, human geography, politics, and engineering and design sciences. Practitioners of urban planning are concerned with research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management.
There is evidence of urban planning and designed communities dating back to the Mesopotamian, Indus Valley, Minoan, and Egyptian civilizations.
The United Nations General Assembly has designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day, by its resolution 68/239. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. Urbanization provides the potential for new forms of social inclusion, including greater equality, access to services and new opportunities, and engagement and mobilization that reflects the diversity of cities, countries and the globe. Yet too often this is not the shape of urban development. Inequality and exclusion abound, often at rates greater than the national average, at the expense of sustainable development that delivers for all.
From career perspectives it involves developing buildings, parks, streets, understanding the use of resources, planning permission, use of land and working according to the safety of the environment, etc. Aspirants may study architecture, design, planning or engineering to enter into urban planning. A few of the leading institutions in India offering a course in Urban Planning include: School of Planning and Architecture Delhi ; Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, etc .
Career opportunities are with government departments, private sectors, academic institutions, research organisations, real estate, etc. There are institutions that offer courses in planning and design around the world. Students may choose the course after passing senior secondary or even after graduation. Mere academic degree and qualification may not ensure a sustainable job but with qualifications and employability skills anyone may shine in the field of urban planning.
(The author is a career mentor and skill trainer and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected] for any career related queries)