Planning involves the decision making process, which aims to control development, design the environment, and develop communication networks and other facilities to create a community that is both livable and workable.
Planning as a profession has the primary goal of enhancing the communities we reside in. While planners address the current state of the community, they also consider its future. Planners collaborate with residents, managers, public officials, city council members, and advocates to establish a collective vision for the community. This vision includes the goals that the community aspires to achieve and the steps it will take to accomplish those goals (APA, 2008).
The role of professional planners involves coordinating information and establishing a coherent decision-making process. Planners work collaboratively with various agencies and diverse interest groups to identify and address community environmental issues. Additionally, professional planners engage in activities such as urban design, research and analysis, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation, and management (Wikipedia, 2009).
In this section, the paper focuses on the professionalism of a planner, the definition of planning, and the responsibilities of planning to various sectors of society. It specifically examines a case study illustrating the responsibilities of a professional planner in the planning agencies of Lagos State.
WHAT IS PLANNING?
According to VTPI (2011), planning entails the identification of actions and determination of the approach to be undertaken. Planning occurs at different levels, including everyday choices made by individuals and families, as well as more complex decisions made by businesses, organizations, and governments. Planning promotes community development through the involvement of leaders, businesses, and other stakeholders.
Urban planning, also referred to as city and regional planning, is a dynamic profession that strives to improve the well-being of individuals and communities. Its objective is to establish spaces that are convenient, fair, healthy, efficient, and attractive for both present and future generations (APA, 2012). The process of planning involves making decisions that guide future actions and encompasses the management of development, infrastructure, and services in order to shape cities, towns, and regions.
The process of making plans for something is known as physical planning. It involves the control of urban development by a local government authority, which requires obtaining a license to build a new property or modify an existing one. According to Abhas, et. al (2010), physical planning is a design exercise that utilizes the land use plan as a framework to propose the optimal physical infrastructure for a settlement or area. This includes infrastructure for public services, transportation, economic activities, recreation, and environmental protection. Physical planning is a comprehensive process that involves identifying problems, setting goals, gathering and analyzing information, designing alternatives, and synthesizing choices that require public input (Emil E. M., 2005).
The objective of Urban Planning is to enhance communities, the environment, and the general well-being of all individuals. Planners tackle various public concerns related to people’s residences, workplaces, recreational activities, shopping and education alternatives, transportation methods, and resource management.
Urban planning is a profession centered around people and change management. Planners work together with local communities to enhance the welfare of individuals and their communities by establishing a convenient, equitable, efficient, and attractive environment for present and future generations. The process of physical planning entails designing suitable physical infrastructure for a settlement or region, based on the land use plan. This encompasses infrastructure for public services, transportation, economic activities, recreation, and environmental conservation.
WHO IS A PROFESSIONAL PLANNER?
Professionalism is a broad concept that encompasses various activities in different fields. Oni (2007) emphasized that these activities require a certain level of systematic knowledge and expertise. In the field of Urban and Regional Planning, professionals aim to protect and improve both the natural and built environment. They deal with a wide range of matters such as conserving habitats, preserving historic sites, managing transportation, promoting recreational spaces, and developing housing in neighborhoods and regional shopping centers.
A professional planner is someone who has received training at a recognized institution of higher education approved by both the National University Commission (NUC) and the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC) and has obtained professional certification from TOPREC.
According to Odufuwa (2008), a professional Town Planner is someone who has acquired expertise in planning and related fields of knowledge and skills. They are capable of assisting local officials in tackling social, economic, and environmental issues by determining road paths, school locations, and other infrastructure assignments. They also provide suggestions for zoning regulations for private properties within a specific area. The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners identifies a professional Town Planner as an individual who holds any of the following academic or professional qualifications:
- A degree in Urban and Regional Planning/Town Planning;
- A Professional Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning/Town Planning;
- A pass in the final stage of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners/Town Planners Registration Council Examination;
- Attainment of 2 years post qualification supervised experience.
It is important to mention that courses leading to the specified qualification or a higher one must be completed at an institution recognized and accredited by the Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC) (NITP, 1991). The registration of a Town Planner with the Registration Council shall be verified by the following:
- Issuance of a Certificate of Registration jointly signed by the President and the Registrar and will bear the year of registration, serial number and registration number.
- Publication of the names of Registered Town Planners in the gazette and t least two widely circulating National Dailies; or
- Publication of register of Town Planners published annually by Council.
Professional planners must possess a unique combination of skills in addition to a formal education. The American Planning Association states that professional planners should have knowledge of urban spatial structure or physical design and understand how cities function.
- Abhas, et. l (2010): Land Use and Physical Planning. Safer Homes, Stronger Communities: A Handbook for Reconstructing after Natural Disasters, published by the World Bank in January 2010. www. housingreconstruction. org
- American Planners Association (2012): What is planning http://www. planning. org/aboutplanning/whatisplanning. htm
- Emil E. Maliziz (2005): City and Regional Planning: A Primer for Public Health Of? cials. http://info. kp. org/communitybenefit/assets/pdf/our_work/global/AJHP. pdf
- Keeble, L. (1969). Principle and Practice of Town and Country Planning. Estate Gazette, London Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development. http://www. lagosstate. gov. ng/index. php? page=moduledetail&mpid=26&mnusu b=ministry&mnu=module
- Odufuwa, B. O. (2008): The Professional Urban and Regional Planner. http://www. articlesbase. com/human-resources-articles/the-professional-urbanand-regional-planner-608479. html
- Oni, C. S. (2007). The Professional Vocational Educator. Educational Research and Review, Vol. 2 Pp. 271-274. 14