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Last edited 09 Jan 2017

The New Concept Of Urban Planning

Strategic action planning is made up of several components. Firstly, the financial aspect of this approach makes it imperative. Therefore, it links infrastructural investment, the capital needed to fund developmental projects.

This is done through the allocation of budgets and prioritising infrastructure investment. Moreover, the component which cannot be underestimated is the institutional framework. This component defines responsibilities for various actors and stakeholders during the planning process. Commitment cannot be overlooked in the new approach of planning; different stakeholder participation is required to ensure healthy relationships among actors to build consensus during the decision making process.

Notwithstanding, the new urban planning is also associated with certain challenges.

Davidson (1996, p.8) argues that:

‘’Problems in development then created a desire for the legal backing of plans to offset the powerful forces of the private sector. This was often embedded into law, giving statutory development plans’’; unlike statutory planning which has a strong legal basis, development opportunities are likely to favour the private sector, if the new urban planning approach is not underpinned by an efficient legal framework in making an inclusionary plan.

It is crucial to combine the two approaches of performance oriented planning, in that, the two complement each other. This is clearly seen in the situation whereby a strategic plan requires strong legal framework to actualise its goals.

Statutory planning requires minimal level of participation with low commitment; strategic planning exist to augment the level of participation during the process of decision making so as to ensure effectiveness in carrying out statutory plans. Moreover, the combination of the two approaches tend to delay the planning process, in that, the bureaucratic and rigid nature of statutory planning is likely to cause ‘‘divisions amongst planning departments and makes changes very difficult, even in non-critical areas’’ (Davidson, 1996, p.10).

Participation is one of the essential components in modern day planning. This is due to the fact that it sets in motion the inclusive nature of the planning process and improves the commitment level of various stakeholders. Participation stresses ‘’the importance of changing the behaviour of people and organisations, and the nature of policy design and development in social learning and transformation processes’’ (Healey, 2011, p.5).

This also goes a long way to define, measure and manage various interests and influence in ensuring performance oriented results. On the contrary, participation should be linked to a tangible benefit and needs commitment from all stakeholders to make it work, otherwise the planning process is rendered ineffective.

Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana next to Accra with, a population more than 2 million people (KMA, 2015). Strategic urban planning has enhanced the prioritisation of infrastructural investment within the metropolitan area through the allocation of budget for funding projects of the city. The advent of strategic planning has enhanced stakeholder participation during the process of decision making, in that, it raises their level of commitment and awareness concerning the socio-economic development of the city.

Notwithstanding, there are challenges associated with the strategic planning in the city of Kumasi. One of them is the lack of a strong legal framework within the planning possess to help actualise urban goals. This approach requires a higher level of integration to manage scarce resources.

A lower level of integration among various department leads to setbacks hindering the developmental projects of the city. Strategic planning is appropriate approach in the city, it considers a bottom-up approach, though technical decision are made by officials, much attention is given to the local people who are actually the beneficiaries of the plans that are made.

Written by Akwasi Acheampong

--Nana1990

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