Friday, August 16, 2013

The Urban Settlements and its Wider Scope.

The Urban Failure

The journey of a Homo Sapiens, from being a nomad to being the inventor of the so-called God particle, it has slowly shifted the emphasis of biological evolution towards the socio-cultural  evolution. In spite of the inventions, he has made for his own convenience, turned down back on him. It wasn’t the inventions that failed, but he himself failed to incorporate them in their way of living. With the concepts of the likes of Industrial Revolution and Globalisation, cities began to emerge vastly with humans tend to get indulged in traffic congestion, urban sprawl, air pollution, a lack of easily accessible shops & services, noise pollution and a host of other daily inconveniences. Very often, these problems are the resultant of bad planning exercise.In Europe, eight out of the ten European Union citizens live in cities or large towns and the major part is dealing with the consequences of poor planning. From the past records, urban planners do get involved in ‘trial and error’ approach, but they generously failed to have a long-term approach and doesn’t understood the concept of ‘Forward Planning’. The resultant of which made the cities dysfunctional creating social & environmental problems which for sure does have their economic cost.

In a city like Delhi, the national capital of the Republic of India, where every individual thinks for a better standard of living, the concentration on the  quality of life seemed to have get vanished, which will create situations of havoc in the years to come. Choked roads, overburdened public transport systems, poorly serviced neighbourhood can be commonly seem making the life of the inhabitants unbearable. For a modern town or city to function properly in a way that they survives, prospers and grows, the strategic decisions that have to be taken are incredibly complex. It is clear that things will not get better unless all the different fields of interests, begins to work together. The lack of consideration of wider impacts of the socio-environ-cultural in the urban planning has resulted today’s urban problems which needs to get cater off soon.  Unfortunately, many urban planners concentrate just on the planning of land use in isolation from the other sectors, and they do not get much involved in infrastructure planning.

The problem of traffic congestion is quite common in nearly every urban settlements. The most common approach would be to widen the roads, which may or may be successful if one keeps in mind the long-term issue. The cross-sectoral approach would be to identify the real problem for traffic congestion, which is in fact due to an overcrowding of a neighbourhood. The approach of starting from the diagnosis part really helps the issue if looked through a wider aspect. This can only be achieved if urban planning gives itself a multi-disciplinary approach which will look into the environmental issues, economics, sociology, cultural patterns, demographics, anthropometry, studying the history of the various human settlements, to name a few.

Human settlements dates back and it has evolved not granted by the nature. The study of human settlements gives the whole concept a wider look. The mention of the father of Ekistics C.A. Doxiadis needs to be mentioned here as his approach may be the need of the time now. He formulated  the inter-relation of various aspects which are gradually responsible for the proper functioning of an urban settlement. It covers various human aspects of living, how they penetrate and what’s their natural phenomenon of behaviour. The ever increasing population growth can’t be handled in a magic of the ‘Dr. Jackals world’ , but it will involve a different number of things which will take a handsome amount of time. We have to accommodate every birth given by a mother on a limited amount of space that our nature has provided us. Hence, we have to understand the nature’s call and than behave accordingly.

The question which arrives are - Do we really need a shift from Urban Planning to some other concentration, may it be like what Doxiadis name to it as ‘Ekistics’ ? This question plays a very important role in the future human development of the entire global society. Or, Can we merge the two of them together to formulate a new approach ? Or, Urban Planning itself needs some within changes and it’ll work efficiently than ? Whatever the case may be, it has to be studied and given a serious concentration to save the humanity from forcing them to live a miserable and unbearable life. We, humans, have always been in a developmental phase, and a lot can be improved in the further developments. I carry a strong feeling about humans, that they had always learnt from their mistakes, and so they will do it in this case as well. We, human beings are the most advanced species of the nature and will surely understand the key prospect in the title ‘Failure of the Urban Planning’ and develop a new holistic approach which urban planning for years(in most of the cases) have failed to achieve so. The humans gave emphasis on the economic growth in the last century or so, which has overall made them way behind of our ancestral fathers. The tagline is – the nature comes the very first of all the developments, followed by the society and then comes the economic factor.