Why there is Need for Increased Role of Urban Planners
I have been working in the field of urban planning for last three years after gaining bachelor degree in planning and master’s degree in urban planning. Even during, surveys for academic projects, I used to educate poor community through focus group discussion about the benefits of good sanitation and how they can secure good housing through different government schemes. In India, government launch a lot of programmes and schemes for urban poor but very manages to deliver the benefits to the intended target groups due to the lack of the political will power and lethargy of the government official who like to sit in the office and do the file work rather than visiting the slums or housing areas of the poor and educating them about the schemes and how they can get benefited. I have been participating in seminars, workshops and conferences and trying to encourage more active participation of more people in the alleviation of the poverty.
Urban Planning and World Bank
My my own experience and expertise, I can see how the vicious circle of the poverty can be broken. I know it is long term work and any individual cannot do it without the support of the government or public. Here I see a crucial role of the World Bank, which can act as a facilitator between the government and the public (especially the urban poor) in delivery of the good public services and providing them a sustainable mode of livelihood for a long term.
The provision of the good work opportunities cannot be availed by them if they are not trained properly. The poor family cannot take advantage of the training facility if they are not settled properly. If they are not settled properly then how can they attain basic elementary education needed for any training programme to be successful? A family canned be properly settled if they do not have adequate livelihood support systems. So, we find urban poor to be trapped in the vicious cycle of the poverty.
I can be broken if the government take adequate measures and employ urban planners who have due expertise in urban planning, they have the multi-disciplinary skills needed for overall programme execution, implementation and monitoring. An urban planner easily identify the reasons behind the poverty and he/she can easily plan for the improvement of the housing, livelihood, sanitation and educating them of the government schemes or training them to attain good work and livelihood support systems.
Having the expertise of looking at the holistic development approach for the poverty alleviation, urban planners can do it better if they are in government planning authority or in the programmes and schemes launched by Word Bank for the poverty alleviation.
There is nothing inevitable about poverty. We just need to build the political will to enact the policies that will increase economic security, expand opportunities, and grow the middle class. World Bank can play a crucial role in increasing political will for poverty alleviation and providing due financial support for the implementation of the economic security, expand opportunities through the deployment of the trained urban planners, civil engineers, sociologists, economists, architects who can work together and provide a sustainable economic ecosystems.
The best way out of poverty is provision of well-paying job. To kick-start job growth, government should invest in job-creation strategies such as rebuilding our infrastructure; promoting make in India campaign; promoting startups to set of new manufacturing units; investing more in skilling India programme for the areas which have low employment opportunities: providing skill based training; renovating abandoned housing; and making other common-sense investments that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and boost our national economy. Instead of providing direct subsidy or economic support invent in the creation of jobs and economic opportunities for them through the feasibility study, assessing the manpower of the slum community. Identification of the poor people's community and slums for development is not the simple work of demarcating just on the map but it should be used for the real benefits transfer through the creation of the job opportunities, improvement of infrastructure and sanitation, education and health.
The Way Forward
Strengthen the base of the future generation through the use of the elementary education and health to the poor people. It is well know that the lack of affordable, high-quality child care is the major reason that the poor continue to be poor. On average, poor families who pay out of pocket for child care spend one-third of their incomes on treatment of the ailment which is caused by the poor sanitation of the housing areas of the slums. The lack of the basic services of good drinking water, sanitation, access roads, power supply, dilapidated housing and unhealthy environment add to the continuance of the poverty forever in the slums and squatters. One good planner can improve the life of millions in a better way than spending millions on plan and not implementing them properly through the deployment of trained professionals like urban planners, civil engineers, sociologists, economists, architects who can work together and provide a sustainable economic ecosystems
Shashikant Nishant Sharma
Pen2Print Discussion ForumMaster in Urban and Rural Planning, Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India
Bachelor of Planning, Department of Physical Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India
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