For the first time ever, more than 50% of the world’s population resides in urban areas, and the total number of urban dwellers is expected to reach 4 billion by 2030.
Without urban development, the already unsanitary living conditions, high unemployment rates and risky exposure to natural disasters will only worsen.
Cities often increase their built-up land without policies to prevent construction on disaster-prone areas, which risks the lives of many residents and places approximately $3 trillion in assets at risk from natural disasters.
Urban planners are needed to build sustainable cities.
Sustainable developments will lead to effective land management so that schools, homes and hospitals can be built along established transportation systems i.e. bus routes or trains that transport growing populations while decreasing the carbon footprint.
It is initially expensive to design and implement efficient systems for transportation, water provision, waste management and sewage removal and treatment.
But, this expense is more than justified by the increased tax revenues and economic growth attributable to the higher numbers of people who will be able to reside in a city.
For instance, $1.2 billion was gained from the auction of 13 hectares of land in the new financial center, the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai. $1.2 billion is more than 10 times the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authrority’s total expenditure in 2005.
Likewise, the local government in Istanbul auctioned an old bus station and government building in 2007 and earned $1.5 billion, which equated to more than the city’s total expenditure and infrastructure investments in 2005.
The World Bank Institute (WBI) has noted the benefit in the urban development of sustainable cities, and the increasing demand for urban planners. As such, starting in 2011, WBI began their Sustainable Urban Land Use Planning Course with 200 participants from 63 countries.
In mid-2011, WBI started offering this course online through its e-institute along with tutor-guided discussions, exercises on strategies, programs and action plans, and self-administered tests.
Course includes these modules:
Module 1: Understanding How Land Use Planning Contributes to Sustainable Urban Development
Module 2: Institutions, Policies and Tools for Effective Land Use Planning
Module 3: How to Integrate Land Use Planning and Infrastructure
Module 4: How to Manage Growth in Peri-Urban Areas
Module 5: How to Promote Local Economic Development through Land Use Planning
Module 6: Social Equity and Land Use Planning
Module 7: Climate Change and Land Use Planning
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Source: The Namibian, The World Bank
Photo: Tristan Verboven