Members of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria have been asked to help the government in finding lasting solutions to the challenges of urbanization.
According to the General Manager, Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency, Mr Lateef Sholebo, the challenges include slum generation, solid waste management, traffic congestion and inadequate housing, among others.
Sholebo spoke on ‘Urban planning in an emerging economy: Opportunities and challenges’, at the Annual General Meeting of ATOPCON.
He stated that town planning practitioners had no cause to complain about lack of jobs or depend on government contracts, as they could create solutions to planning problems and sell to the authorities to create wealth.
He said, “Practitioners can also create business district plans that will address traffic issue in cities and sell them to the government, create database, conservation plans as well as mitigation plans on open spaces, noise and safety plans.
“Going by the increasing problems of over population, which is impacting on the environment, transportation, health and education and other infrastructural needs, planners, architects, engineers and other professionals must work together for a sustainable environment.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, stated that planning consultants must strive to provide guidance and solutions to cities’ projects through adoption of modern and globally acknowledged best practices.
He explained that this would help with effective and efficient delivery of urban planning services.
The commissioner said, “Urban planning practice involves an integration of physical planning and urban design by planning firms dedicated to ensuring that the government as the policymaker on one part, and developers, investors and the public, on the other hand, derive maximum value from every job handled by urban planners.
“Planning consultancy is expected to provide guidance and solutions on project feasibility, planning permit procurement and appeals/advocacy by assisting the client to obtain maximum value and returns as and when due.”
Ogunleye stated that planners should work in compliance with the established code of conduct, train and retrain practitioners in current technological approach, and collaborate with allied professions/government for a sustainable environment.
The President, ATOPCON, Idris Salako, said the AGM had always been a platform where planning firms and practitioners in the country assemble to deliberate and take far reaching decisions on urban and regional planning challenges and chart the way forward.
He said the most important factor for town planners’ success was sustainability and helping to build a sustainable environment.
Salako added, “The future does not happen to us, we can chart the course for the future. It is our shared vision for a sustainable practice environment and our collective solidarity, which will help us win the day. I urge us to address the challenges through common strategies, strong approaches and above all, through our professionalism.
“The most important factor for our success is sustainability, which is an important and integrated part of our activities. We view this to mean taking our professional responsibility.”
Source: Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi, Punch