World Town Planning Day is coming up on Thursday, 8 November 2012.
The international organization for World Town Planning Day was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires to advance public and professional interest in planning, both locally and overseas. WTPD is promoted each year by the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCaRP) headquartered at The Hague, The Netherlands.
In Bermuda, the Department of Planning is holding an open day from 12.00pm to 4.00pm. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to visit the Department, speak to Planning Staff and learn more about the functions of the Department of Planning.
As I believe I have been advocating, planning is so much more than setbacks and site coverage and this is a great chance to find out about key role of planning in shaping Bermuda's future.
The First Steps to Meaningful Community Engagement are hard to take and even more difficult to maintain. However, it occurs to me, chatting with one of the planners in the Department of Planning, that with the economy in a slump, this might be just the time to seriously consider how we want to engage the community in planning its own future.
The sad advantage of an economic downturn is the construction industry is off the boil, so to speak, and we can all think and act with less pressure and, presumably, more thoughtfulness. I'm not at all sure what the Sustainable Development Round Table is up to these days but the reality is that planners should be at the forefront of helping to shape sustainable, liveable communities.
As Neeraj Mehta outlines in the blog post, The First Steps to Meaningful Community Engagement, in Next American City, we need to acknowledge our interdependence and the importance of drawing on the diversity in our community. Also, be honest about the complexity of working together and get used to controversy and uncertainty.
Proper community engagement is a process and not necessarily a quick process at that. I think the Department of Planning could be taking a lead role here but, if not, what about the rest of us?
The Informal Workforce appears to be here to stay. I cannot be the only one who has noticed the increase in street peddlers along main roads in Bermuda. It is a sign of the times and a huge hint that there is an entrepreneurial workforce, which is directly addressing the issue of unemployment.
This photograph by Gerald Botha taken in Durban, South Africa, shows an example of a 'good practice' case where the informal workforce has been drawn into urban plans.
As outlined by Caroline Skinner in the article, It's time to welcom the informal workforce to the urban policy table, for The Global Urbanist, it could be that the informal workforce plays an important part in alleviating poverty and growing the economy. And, if that is the situation, shouldn't we in Bermuda be paying more attention to our street peddlers?
Bermuda may not be a third world country but I can't help thinking the policy tips offered by Skinner in her article should be kept in mind by our island's decision-makers.