PLANNING STANDARDS AND SOCIO DYNAMICS

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Over the last thirty years many urban areas in Nigeria have experienced dramatic growth as a result of rapid urbanization and population growth. While cities in Nigeria as well as other parts of the world, command a dominant role as both centres of production and consumption, rapid urban growth of Nigerian cities has seriously outstripped the capacity of most cities to provide adequate basic services to their citizens. The factors that led to the rapid urbanization of Nigerian cities, the constraints to effective provision of urban amenities; and the causes of poor urban planning can be traced to town planning activities.

The Garden of Eden was well planned that was why we never heard of chaotic situation. God definitely is the first Town Planner who created everything in an orderly manner. But ironically as man was given the power to subdue the environment, man began to be fruitful, multiply on the surface of the earth and behold the activities have led to population explosion in urban areas.

Why are urban plans, land use regulations and construction codes implemented effectively in some states but not others? This constitutes an increasingly urgent development concern with major implications for the environment and the urban poor. Rather than being explained by economic factors, bureaucratic capacity or the nature of the urban policies and regulations in place, this paper argues that divergent outcomes are largely rooted in differing political bargaining environments which are cause by the planning standard and the changes in socio dynamics of human.

PLANNING STANDARDS

Planning standards are requirements approved by laws to guide physical development in a particular area at a particular time. Planning standards are set to prevent the development of slum and urban blight. Looking at our environment today the emerging picture is shocking. The power to change and alter land use has been grossly abused by the public, government officials and politicians who want and allow structures to be built over, or close to, sewerage lines, road reserves, wetlands, high voltage power lines, recreation grounds, and traffic islands meant for road safety.

SOCIO DYNAMICS

Social dynamics can be referred to as the behavior of groups that results from the interactions of individual group members as well to the study of the relationship between individual interactions and  group level behaviors. Social change is the changes in the social structure and social relation of society.

J.B Chitambar also defines social change as a social change involve in the changes of the structure and function of societal forms. Changes in all social institution e.g. family, economic, political are few examples of social change.

FACTORS AFFECTING SOCIAL CHANGE

Demographic
Technological
Cultural
Biological
Ideological
Educational
Economic

PLANNING STANDARDS AND SOCIO DYNAMICS

Planning standards are observed to be fixed without obeying the first rule of town planning which is PLANNING WITH THE PEOPLE, NOT FOR THE PEOPLE. If I may ask

  • Who set the planning standards?
  • Are the planning standard imported from foreign land?
  • Was the culture considered when setting the planning standard?

There are more questions than answers when it comes to setting and implementation of planning standard. I have observed over the years while studying and practicing the planning profession that over 60 percent of our planning standard are set as a result of what the late legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti will call KOLOMENTALITY meaning Slavery Planning Standard example of this standards are the European Reserved Area (E.R.A) now converted to Government Reserved Area (G.R.A).

Town and Country Planning is a dynamic professional activity that demands the experts in the field to be globally and locally in tune with the evolving innovative and creative practices as a result of the dictates of changing social and economic development, basically the urbanization problem. As a sensitive dynamic and
Multi – disciplinary professional activity, its main thrust is not the focus on physical designing of settlements but the total integration and harmonization of social and economic infrastructure development policies manifested in physical forms to provide effective guidance to developments. In Nigeria, numerous questions are being raised by the public regarding the status and credibility of town planning vis-à-vis the changing socio-economic investment environment experienced in the urban areas.

Unluckily for Nigerian we are colonized by the British and influence by the Americans so also applies to our planning standard that are sometimes imported from Britain for our Americana way of life, this invent reflect in what we called our self that is town and regional planner or urban and country planner. Looking at our standard there are so many impracticable standards e.g a situation where by there is high rate of unemployment in the country then there will be an automatic conversion of setbacks and airspaces to shops. (eniyan ko raye sun, aja n han run)

It has even gotten to a stage that landlord have no final resting space when they die on their land. Contrarily an African man prefers an open stall as a market while our government prefers to construct lockup shop because of corruption this will eventually lead to underutilization of the project.
    
Planning standard must take into consideration the socio dynamic nature of human which includes so many factors.

If the planning law and standards are not implementable then something is wrong somewhere with the law. It either the law is not plan with the people and this has led to the creation of abnormal standard e.g state standard, personal standard, corruption standard and selfish standard.

CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE

Social change is brought about not by one factor alone. To be considered are interplay of various social and non-social factors like geographical location, topography of the land, climate, soil type, plant and animal life, and other natural resources, the people’s motor skills and other abilities, technology, philosophical, religious, moral and ethical values, beliefs, social organization, and other social norms. It is not only the occurrence and combination of these factors in a given situation at a given time that bring about social change. It is also important to take into account their synchronization harmony, correlation or reciprocity, coordination or unity, and strains, stresses, dysfunctions.

The physical environment does not by itself cause social or culture change. It provides conditions that may or may not induce change. History gives innumerable example of the physical environment on change. Natural disasters have periodically disrupted life for large populations –loss of life, destruction of property, migration patterns, and reorientation to different life styles.  

The presence of substantial social infrastructure in urban area has been the major factor that engendered its urbanization. It also revealed that there is rapid urbanization in relation to effective plans to provide adequate urban infrastructures/amenities to service this trend. Furthermore, there should be a strong correlation between planning standards and the socio dynamic nature of human and its environment

Urban centres throughout the world exhibit an incredible diversity of characteristics, economic structure, levels of infrastructure, historical origins, patterns of growth and degree of formal planning. Yet, many of the problems they face are strikingly familiar. But in developing countries, particularly in Africa, urban residents suffer to a great extent from severe environmental and health challenges associated will insufficient access to clean drinking water, inadequate sewage facilities and solid waste disposal (United Nations 2003). The rapid population growth and physical expansion of the cities have been accompanied by unplanned urban sprawl, environmental pollution, deterioration, deficiencies in modern basic facilities such as water, electricity, hospitals, sewage, municipal and community facilities, and general urban decay. As increased urbanization exert more pressures on urban facilities, most Nigerian cities tend to have lost their precolonial original dignity, social cohesion and administrative efficiency.

CONCLUSION

It is a common observation by both professionals and non-professionals in Nigeria that, Town and Country Planning practice has fallen short of public and private.

Town planning as a professional discipline in the field of environmental studies and management is essentially for all town and country planning activities and development in the country. The town planning profession will have a lot of things to say as regards good governance. The profession flourished well before the Land Use Act, suffered grievously during the thick of Land Use Act, which eroded a lot of functions in the preparation of layouts due to the executive power of the State Administrators over land.

The systematic development is essential and necessary for the orderly growth of the towns and cities with the use of master plans, land use zoning, and layout of new areas as some of the planners’ techniques for achieving the desired goal. That is why good governance and effective leadership control is an asset for city development.

Conclusively planning standard must evolve along with the socio dynamic nature of human, because the only constant thing in life is change, and if other things changes, planning standards must as well be in turn with those changes.

– Tpl Ashiru Olugbenga Oladimeji 

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