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Roles and Job Description of a Community Development Planner

Community development is a complex business that involves a multidisciplinary approach to achieving goals. The role of the community development planner is to determine how best to use the land, usually through the construction of new housing or business developments.

In some cases, building grass-roots support for a project can be a key step. In others, environmental protection and integration are vital. The job of a community development planner is a complex one, requiring many different skills and abilities.

Community Development Planner Required Skills

A development planner’s job is usually to help decide where and when to construct new buildings, a good grounding in that process is a necessary first step.

Understanding building codes and regulations in the project’s municipality is a key part of the job, as guiding projects through potential pitfalls is one of the requirements of a development planner.

Also required is an ability to understand population maps and statistics regarding the growth, or lack of growth, in a particular area. An ability to understand environmental statistics and impact statements is also necessary.

Street Rural Architecture - Roles and Job Description of a Community Development Planner

Perhaps the most important skills a community development planner can have are an ability to work with a wide variety of people and explain a great deal of complex information to them.

Development planning can often involve new legislation, which requires the ability to make a case to a legislative body.

These projects always have an impact on the people who live in areas under consideration for development, and being able to convey the positive impact development can have is important in gaining their support.

What does a Community Development Planner Do

Development planning primarily deals with advising civic leaders on the best way to use their land resources. To this end, a development planner will study and commission reports on a wide variety of subjects, from population statistics and business statements to environmental impact figures.

Once this information has been processed, the planner works with a variety of people to develop new construction projects. These projects are planned and designed to produce results such as improving living conditions or create economic growth.

A community development planner most often work within a civic office or department. Managing a team of specialists usually is one of the planner’s responsibilities, as well as guiding their efforts.

As a development planner usually works within the government in some capacity, reporting to civic leaders about the progress of projects is part of the job. Assisting leaders to write legislation is also a development planner’s responsibility. Moreover, a development planner is usually an overall manager of capital improvement projects.

Required Education and Training

A master’s degree is usually a requirement for a community development planner, most often in an area such as urban planning, environmental planning, or public administration. A master’s degree is not always required if a candidate has a certain amount of practical experience.

Further education in related areas such as architecture, geography, or law is usually a good idea, as development planning requires an understanding of a large variety of subjects. Practical experience usually revolves around work in city planning departments at various levels.

Stages and Concepts of the Planning Process in Urban and Regional Planning

Planning is an approach to problem-solving which provides a systematic way of viewing problems and developing short- and long-term solutions. This can also be viewed as a decision-making process used to help guide decisions concerning future needs. Planning process in urban and regional planning plays an important role in bridging the gap between design and manufacturing of a part.

This involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills. Planning in an organization become a management process, concerned with defining goals for a future direction and determining on the missions and resources to achieve those targets.

To meet the goals, managers may develop plans such as a business plan or a marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose. The purpose may involve the achievement of certain goals or targets.

Stages in the Planning Process

Plan Decision

This has to do with the need to plan. Usually when a problem has been identified and then there would be a need to address such problems which would further stimulate the need to plan and look at various strategies in other to address the identified issue.

Establishment of a framework for management functions: this is the body that would be in charge of the management and implementation of the said plan.

Formulation of Goals and Objectives

This aspect is very important as it shows the desired end, that is, what the planner seeks to achieve to satisfy the expectations of the future. Goals are often widely defined and span over physical, social and economic matters. This requires the planner to have a good knowledge of the system, the organisation, and the environment in which he/she operates.

Objectives are more specific than goals

Planning process - Stages and Concepts of the Planning Process in Urban and Regional Planning

They form the base for the formulation of the alternative course of action and plan even the yardstick for evaluation of the plan. Objectives are prioritized and the time frame determined the essence of prioritising objectives to ensure that resources are allocated in a rational manner.

Data Collection

data to be collected and the method for doing so depends on the type of information required. Data can be obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data are obtained through surveys (observation, questionnaires and interviews) and secondary data are from existing literature and documents.

Data Analysis

Data analysis involves organizing and summarizing data in order to answer questions and show relationships. Most planning tasks require the knowledge of relationships and the establishment of trends as well as replications of such relationships. The analysis may require varying statistical methods which also depends on the task, the type of data collected and type of information needed.

Refinement of Goals and Objectives

With more information available at this stage for the planner, he can now redefine the goals stated earlier and re-establish the objectives. Objectives must be understandable and acceptable. They must be stated clearly.

Generation of alternative courses of action it is a planner’s belief that he widens choice and options available to the society. From the results of the previous stages, the planner perceives some of the alternatives course of action to achieve the desired goals.

The solution may involve an already existing approach with modification to specific problems or an entirely new solution may be developed. The course of action and objective are related in other words; the objectives are caused to occur by the course of action.

Evaluation of Alternatives and Adoption of Plan

The intellectual efforts required in planning is not only knowing the alternative course of action that will accomplish the objectives but also which one will be most efficient. Evaluation can be quantitative or qualitative.

Techniques such as goal achievement matrix, cost-benefit analysis are used in the evaluation. In assessing alternatives, there is the need to anticipate their possible outcomes even though one cannot be certain of the results.

Adoption of Plan

This is a very crucial step for implementation of the plan. The planner, therefore, needs to possess good communication skills, both in writing, graphics and oral presentation. The politics in planning in also evident at the point where the plan is presented for adoption.

The planner should understand the power structure of the socio-economic and the subtle reasons why some individuals or groups may not accept his plan and look for a way to get them to adopt his plan.


A plan does not serve its purpose if it is not put into action. The basic activities of implementation include the following

  • Keeping a work plan with schedule of activities, duration and milestones at various phases of the plan
  • Establishing the formal structure of authority through which work subdivisions are arranged, defined and coordinated.
  • Inter-relating the various parts of the work and the various aspects of the implementation programme especially budget and work plan.
  • Keeping the relevant people and organisation informed as to what is taking place, keeping subordinates informed through records, inspection, research and reports.

Fiscal planning, accounting and control of the budget


The success or failure implementation is assessed through monitoring, in other words, the planner periodically assesses the extent to which the desired goals are being achieved. Information gathered from this stage help him to review the whole plan.


It is important to check the development that is on track. This is done to check the progress of a plan in achieving the strategic aims and objectives that it was set out to achieve. Review is being done periodically after the plan has been implemented.

This can be very effective if detailed reports are being kept of all the processes that were carried out. In the cause of reviewing if a plan is found to be defective then that said plan is being revisited. Hence the planning process starts all over again

Culled from Peter Hall Mark Tewdwr-Jones (2010) | Urban And Regional Planning.

Integrating the Environment in Urban Planning for Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is multidimensional. It requires an understanding of complex and often conflicting relationships, which require an integrated approach and an integration culture. After all, the city is a mosaic of different neighbourhoods with different functions, qualities, problems and opportunities. A city development strategy which fails to take due account of the environment may achieve its other objectives, it will not contribute to the ultimate goal of sustainable development.

A city can choose to target its environmental activities at different levels. It may choose to take action for the city as a whole, using supra-sectoral concepts and strategies such as Localising, which has provided many local authorities with an innovative and effective approach to urban management which combines social, economic and environmental aspects, or the Eco-City Planning approach.

It may choose to focus on integrated local environmental management, utilising information systems, environmental monitoring and eco-budgeting. Urban managers may decide to implement ecological construction and living policies, using sustainable construction material, technologies and supply systems and encouraging ecological user behaviour.

Cities may also choose integrated strategies for certain sectors and environmental commodities. These can include

  • reducing energy consumption
  • controlling air pollution in urban areas,
  • reducing industrial and traffic emissions
  • improving water quality
  • reducing the amount of solid waste generated, or developing overall strategies for traffic and transport which avoid negative impacts on the environment.

Another way that urban decision-makers can make environmental interventions is through the development of institutional, legal and market-policy frameworks. These can include

  • legal and political regulations
  • management instruments
  • technical consultancies
  • private sector involvement
  • citizen participation and public relations
  • introduction of cooperation arrangements, and – partnerships with the private sector.
Urban Planning Strategy - Integrating the Environment in Urban Planning for Sustainable Development

Overview of Instruments for Environmental Integration Instruments can fall into several categories

  • policy instruments
  • process instruments
  • planning instruments and management instruments
  • Policy instruments provide guiding principles for urban decision-makers.
  • Process instruments provide ways of doing something, steps that can be taken to reach a desired goal.
  • Planning instruments offer a variety of methods by which urban development plans can be developed and implemented.

Management instruments provide tools to direct and administer urban planning decisions. Many environmental instruments are supported by specialised tools or toolkits, and samples of these are included in the next chapter.

Policy Instruments Environmental Integration

A variety of policy instruments are available to cities. These can be broken down into four main categories: information, voluntary, economic and regulatory.

Information Instruments

Information instruments can include written, internet or face-to-face advice. Some cities have set up environmental information offices to provide the general public with information on environmental issues. Information instruments can also include training, research and development, and awareness-raising campaigns.

Information campaigns work best to redress a situation where a lack of information about how best to reduce environmental impacts is in itself a significant barrier to people changing their behaviour. Other information instruments can take the form of clearinghouse mechanisms where communities can learn about other city experiences, such as Germany’s “Agenda Transfer” initiative.

Voluntary Instruments

Voluntary instruments work best where people already have an incentive to change their behaviour. Just bringing different players in the market together and helping them agree to common aims, or providing a scheme for people to join may be enough to change environmental behaviour.

For example, companies may work towards attaining environmental management standards because it provides them with a marketing advantage, and helps to reduce potential environmental liabilities or environmental liability insurance costs.

Examples of voluntary instruments include

  • voluntary product labelling or branding
  • voluntary codes of practice or standards
  • voluntary (but externally accredited) environmental management standards or audits, and
  • voluntary agreements.

Economic Instruments

Economic instruments come in many different forms but generally work by making people face the environmental costs they impose on society. Economic instruments can include charges or taxes on emissions or products.

These provide an economic incentive to reduce production or use of harmful substances. There are also tax refund schemes where environmental taxes are refunded in proportion to the taxpayer’s environmental performance improvement.

Deposit/refund schemes encourage people not to discard empty containers or used products. Tradeable permits or quotas can be used to control the overall level of a particular type of pollution or the use of a specific resource but allow individuals to buy or sell permits to meet their own requirements.

Economic instruments can also come in the form of direct public spending subsidies for environmental improvements, including production subsidies with environmental pre-conditions, tax breaks, tax rebates, financial support or tax credits. Lastly, economic incentives also include enforcement incentives such as fines for noncompliance with regulations, legal liability for environmental damage, and environmental performance

Regulatory Instruments

Regulatory instruments are useful where a general improvement in environmental performance is desired, and it is impossible to dictate exactly what changes in behaviour would be appropriate for a wide range of operators and local environmental conditions. Regulatory instrument are used where a high level of certainty of outcome is required, or where there is little flexibility allowable on the timing or nature of the outcome required.

Regulatory instruments include controls on emissions, activities, use of resources and toxic substances through bans, permits, quotas and licensing, or controls on the choice of technology or standards for the environmental performance of the technology.

Regulatory instruments can also include extended producer responsibility, a range of mandatory environmental management standards, mandatory environmental audits, mandatory environmental labelling or product standards, mandatory training or operator licensing.

Lastly, economic regulation which promotes competitive markets can also have a significant environmental impact. For example, utility companies should not be given disincentives to make environmental investments.

Often a single instrument does not operate in isolation. Combinations of different types of instruments can be used together to achieve a desired environmental outcome. Some elements of the package may have an effect, in the long run, others may work in the short run. The mixture of instruments in the package can continue over time to adapt to changing circumstances. highly participatory.

Today, it is generally recognised that increasing the level of stakeholder participation in the planning process results in greater focus, relevance and enhances execution in urban planning strategies. The urban planning process can be used to build consensus, to develop horizontal cooperation and create new partnerships. It can be used to prioritise issues and to create a vision or roadmap for the future, offering a highly effective entry point for the integration of environmental issues.

Why the Environment is an Essential Asset for City Development?

Managing environmental resources as a group of strategic assets that are crucial to a municipality’s goals, important to ecosystem health, and beneficial to the community is key to successful urban management. What are the ways in which the environment can be viewed as an asset for cities?

The natural environment provides cities with countless ecosystem services. Some of these are so fundamental to urban liveability that they may seem invisible to urban managers: air, water, open space. Environmental resources are frequently taken for granted, rather than being utilised, enhanced, and invested in.

These are just some of the countless examples of the services that the natural environment provides to urban settlements

  • Clean air is essential to a healthy environment.
  • Rivers and water bodies provide drinking water and act as natural pollution filters.
  • Biodiversity is essential for food, materials, medicine and improved quality of life, not just locally but also globally. Biospheres range far beyond the boundaries of a city and urban activity in a single location can damage forests thousands of kilometres away, or disrupt migratory patterns. Biodiversity increases the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change.
  • Forests serve as watersheds, habitats, carbon sinks, leisure amenities and tourist destinations. If managed sustainably, forests are also a source of energy and building materials.
  • Wetlands filter and process waste and act as a nursery for fisheries.
  • Sand dunes, coral reefs and mangroves protect cities from storm surges, prevent erosion and siltation, and in the case of the latter two act as nurseries for fisheries. Attractive coasts draw tourism.
  • Parks and greenbelts act as sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) and counteract the heat island effect of large built-up areas. They also provide essential open space for urban residents, flora and fauna, counteract traffic noise and improve the general ‘liveability’ of a city.

To assess just how valuable the natural environment is to cities, let’s look at the role that forests on the outskirts of a city play.

If a forest is cut down for firewood and to permit city expansion, the value of the forest is reduced to the value of the wood as fuel and the value of the land for development. However, forests help watershed protection, and their removal can jeopardise urban water supplies.

In addition, clear-cutting forests often results in serious erosion, damaging surrounding agricultural lands and causing urban flooding. Sprawling urban development imposes much higher costs on the provision of infrastructures such as roads, sewers, water and power.

It is, therefore, more cost-effective for a city to maintain its forest ecosystem as the city’s watershed, benefiting from all of the environmental services that the forest provides drinking water, erosion control, soil protection, flood control, recreation, biodiversity and to harvest the wood products at a sustainable rate from the forest in perpetuity.

Making sure that a city’s environmental assets are used sustainably is important to the urban economy for many reasons, in addition to the reduction of costs. As society and the economy marches inexorably towards globalisation, cities across all regions must compete with each other to attract enterprise, investment and employment. The quality of life or ‘liveability’ which a city offers is important in ensuring its future economic performance.

hong kong - Why the Environment is an Essential Asset for City Development?

Environmental resources are assets to a city: investment in environmental protection helps the economy and reduces city budget expenditure. It is far less costly to avoid environmental degradation than it is to live with its consequences or to repair its damage.

Interestingly, many municipal activities ultimately do protect the environment, even if that was not the primary intention: for example, actions to improve transport, protect water catchment areas or develop tourism also improve air quality, benefit sensitive wetlands and address coastal pollution.

The case study of Goiânia included in this report shows that certain urban plans and projects resulted in huge environmental gains, but these were a by-product of the main goal: concern for the environment was not the main driver. The most successful urban centres have a mutually rewarding relationship with the environment which builds on the city’s natural advantages and which in turn reduces the burden which the city places on its surroundings.

Urban life provides opportunities for economies of scale in regard to human energy and material requirements. This has been referred to by William Rees as the “urban sustainability multiplier”, or the process through which the high density of urban living significantly shrinks the per capita ecological footprints by reducing energy and material needs. (Rees, 2003.)

These factors include

  • High population densities, which reduce the per capita demand for occupied land;
  • Lower costs per capita of providing piped treated water, sewer systems, waste collection, and most forms of infrastructure and public
  • A high proportion of multiple-family dwellings, which reduces per capita consumption of building materials and services infrastructure;
  • Increasing interest in forms of cooperative housing with mass transit facilities, which reduces demand for individual appliances and personal automobiles; and,
  • Easy access to the necessities for life and to urban amenities by walking, cycling, and public transit. This further reduces the demand for private automobiles, thereby lowering fossil energy consumption and air pollution (Rees, 2003).

Despite the essential services offered by the environment, however, cities tend to view environmental considerations as supplementary to economic and spatial strategies, or as issues which can be dealt with through infrastructure programming based on conventional civil engineering standards.

In other words, the environment has not been viewed as a matter of primary importance. Instead, prominence is given to the economic growth/public investment in infrastructure/poverty eradication nexus as the foundation for social development, and sustainability is not given the attention it deserves.

This approach is typical in many urban centres, particularly but not exclusively in developing countries. Mayors are under pressure to focus on economic performance and capital investment in infrastructure during their term of office. In China, for example, while many mayors are interested in environmental management, their performance in office is assessed by the local GDP growth rate (Conference on Eco-City Development Experience Exchange (ECODEE).

If the environment is such an asset to cities, why is it often last on the list of priorities for urban managers? A key reason is the use of accounting systems that externalise real costs and do not account for natural capital. The planet’s forests, watersheds, wetlands, minerals and other natural resources all have a value that must be accounted for: these are natural capital.

While it is not difficult to place a capital value on an environmental asset, it can be difficult to calculate and to quantify the exact financial value of the benefits derived from that asset. A range of tools does exist, however, including environmental assessments, ecological budgeting and full-cost accounting methods. Some of these tools are outlined in an annexe to this report.

Misuse of the urban environment can have grave consequences for the city

Poor urban planning which permits construction on unsuitable land such as wetlands can result in damaging floods. Inadequate waste disposal leads to the spread of disease. Coastal cities which fail to manage their coastline efficiently will find themselves with erosion and siltation problems and are likely to lose valuable income from tourism. Urban sprawl will damage urban biodiversity, and the costs of providing infrastructure will be significantly higher.

Many urban settlements will be completely unable to keep pace with urban expansion, and unserviced slums will proliferate, with their attendant problems of poor health, poverty, social unrest and economic inefficiency. While healthy ecosystems provide cities with a wide range of services essential for their economic, social and environmental sustainability, damaged ecosystems have a very negative effect on urban

Urban Environmental Planning Benefits for a Sustainable Development

A poorly managed urban settlements will be unable to keep pace with the urban expansion, and unserviced slums will proliferate, bringing with them poor health, poverty, social unrest and economic inefficiency. Environmental hazards are responsible for the most common causes of ill-health and mortality among the urban poor. Sustainable development is multi-dimensional and requires an understanding of complex and often conflicting relationships. And this is called for an integrated approach and an integration culture.

Variety of strategic approaches to integrating the environment into the urban planning process exist. Environmental activities can be targeted at different levels. Cities can also use different instruments to integrate the environment into urban planning and management approaches policy instruments, process instruments, planning instruments and management instruments.

Cities are centres of excellence, bringing together innovators, entrepreneurs, financiers and academics. They attract a rising tide of humanity, of people hoping for a better life for themselves and their children. Cities provide opportunities, economies of scale, a future with more choices.

And yet cities have also been blamed for causing environmental catastrophes, for marginalising communities, for diminishing the quality of life of the poor. They have been castigated as centres of disease, social unrest and insecurity. Cities are also at risk from industrial hazards, natural
disasters, and the spectre of global warming.

A successful city must balance social, economic and environmental needs: it has to respond to pressure from all sides

A successful city should offer investors security, infrastructure (including water and energy) and efficiency. It should also put the needs of its citizens at the forefront of all its planning activities. A successful city recognises its natural assets, its citizens and its environment and builds on these to ensure the best possible returns.

family - Urban Environmental Planning Benefits for a Sustainable Development

Today’s cities are part of the global environment. Their policies, their people and their quest for productivity have an impact far beyond the city borders. City-level experiences are essential to the formulation of national policies, and city and national policies, in turn, translate onto the global level. Today, global policymakers recognise that cities have a tremendous impact on issues ranging from local economic stability to the state of the global environment.

Over the past 50 years, cities have expanded into the land around them at a rapid rate. Highways and transport systems have been built in tandem to support this physical growth. Valuable farmland has been eaten up and automobile dependency has increased. Urban populations are expected to grow by another 2 billion people over the next three decades, and it is expected that cities in developing countries will absorb 95% of this increase.

To avoid being victims of their own success, cities must search for ways in which to develop sustainably

No single recipe for managing change can be applied to all cities. Cities are affected by their location, their climate and natural features. Cities and urban settlements don’t operate in isolation they are part of a national structure, subject to the central government, strengthened or limited by regional and national infrastructure, budgetary policies, development priorities, decentralisation policies.

To meet the urban challenges of today, and the challenges to come, appropriate management frameworks must be available, through which cities can apply innovative approaches suitable for their local circumstances. Urban settlements can learn from the natural world cities can be seen as ecosystems. In the same way that a natural ecosystem like a rainforest or coral reef is a complex system of interlinkages between elements, everything in a city is connected to everything else.

If land use is changed in one area of a city, it will affect the transportation system, infrastructure and economy in other areas. Local governments today play a leading role in developing new approaches to treat the natural and built environment, and the people that interact with it, as one interconnected “city ecosystem”. Their innovation and creativity in striving for sustainable urban development will reach into all areas of policy development and decision-making.

Physical Planner Involvement in Economic Recession

The Economic recession is majorly caused by loss of business and consumer confidence. As confidence reduces, so does demand. This is the tipping point in the business cycle. It’s where the peak, accompanied by irrational exuberance, moves into contraction. A decline in the gross domestic product growth is a sign that a recession may be underway, but it is rarely a cause

Solving the current economic recession of the country requires thinking out of the box. The Economic recession is one of the main issues in Nigeria, the economic recession has been defined by economic statistician as a period of general economic decline and is typically accompanied by a drop in the stock exchange market, increase in unemployment, and a decline in the real estate market.

Economic Recession in Nigeria - Physical Planner Involvement in Economic Recession

The problems of economic recession normally fall under the leadership of a country, it is often either by the president himself, the head of the Federal Reserve, or the entire administration. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has defined an economic recession as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in a real gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales.

Major Causes of Economic Recession in Nigeria

High Inflation Rate: The Nigerian government banned the importation of some essential commodity into the country without consideration for the country’s period and fuel subsidy removal. Speculation in the stock market due to budget delay is another major cause of the economic recession which led to a rise in the domestic oil price resulting from the oil subsidy removal.

The Country Poor Economic Planning: According to a Muslim Cleric, Oloriomokewu said “The current government has proclaimed the usual generalities that every government indulges itself in year in, year out, diversifying the economy, improving manufacturing and mining sector, raising agricultural output, and encouraging foreign investments among others, yet no concrete evidence of strategic plan for growth,

The Nigerian government has caused serious poverty in the country, the government policy has widened the gap between the rich and the poor which has created more economic hardship. The poor in the country paid the price of the devalued currency in the country and the rich were the one profiting from this. 

The country currency was devalued when the crude oil price in the international market was very low and crude oil export was largely affected by the activities of the Niger Delta militants. Read a detailed interview of Sanusi Lamido on How the Nigerian Government Caused the Economic Recession

Economic Recession and Poor Embrace of Planning Policies

The most planning law in Nigeria is the Urban and Regional Planning Law of 1992 which further gave necessity to planning at all levels of governments i.e. Federal, State and Local. However, the position of all tiers of governments has shown less acceptability hence, the apparent malfunctioning of the law under reference. When there are Planning Authorities at all level of governments different spatial plans would have been evolved such that there will be the optimal utilization of available space with conforming land uses.

In other words, areas of natural endowment can be safeguarded. In other words, areas of natural endowment can best be used for industrial purposes which would increase the revenue through taxes, been pay by employees and employers and create employment which will further decrease the rate of unemployment, (decrease in dependency ratio) and cumulatively increases the well-being of the nation.

Possible Ways for The Country to Resolve the Economic Recession Problem

The causes of economic recession in the country can be checked or tackled by concentrating on the agricultural domestic products revenue-generating process instead of capitalizing on revenues generated from crude oil. The need for infrastructure and effective developments for the agricultural process is non-negotiable; this calls for a review of Urban and Physical Planning policies.

These include

Review of allocation policies for agricultural production: Agriculture in the ’90s is the mainstay of Nigeria, in terms of GDP, foreign exchange earnings, and employment. Today, Nigeria spends billions yearly on the importation of agricultural products. There are lands lying fallow, the government should start allocating for farming on those fallow lands and assessment should be at very low and cheap rates, available for everyone made available unconditionally across social strata.

Encouragement and fast approval process for Agricultural land use: Sanusi Lamido (2016) during the economic summit on “The Search For A New Growth Model,” noted that Nigeria should learn from a country like Ethiopia and then Meles Zenawi, the late Prime Minister. Instead of taking their leather and bringing back shoe.

He advised that they should bring their factory to Nigeria opined that such streamlined to our physical planning instead of collecting approval for farmlands at the high side there should be a need to review our assessment fee especially on approval of farmlands so that it could be readily available to everyone. Visit the NITPNG Website for more details.

Environmental Impact Assessment and Nigerian Planners

The environmental impact assessment is aimed at identifying and examining the possible effects a particular project will have on the immediate environment before the commencement of the project to reducing the negative effects of the project on the environment. Environmental impact assessment is the documentation of an environmental analysis which includes identification, prediction, interpretation, and mitigation of impacts that will cause by the proposed project.

There is need for the environmental protection due to the growing awareness on environmental consideration because of the danger inherent in its abuse and some consequences of the immediate past actions that are staring us in the face, like the ozone layers depiction, global warming, eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, often due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen).Environmental impact assessment concept came into limelight in the mid-60s as a direct result of the need to protect and enhance the environmental quality

Need for the environmental impact assessment also linked with the changes in the attitude on the environment especially after the Stockholm Conference. The perception of environmental impact assessment differs in various countries. The environmental problems in the developing world are closely linked to unbalanced development. This is why environmental impact assessment as a component of sound development is particularly important.

Environmental Impact Assessment in Nigeria - Environmental Impact Assessment and Nigerian Planners

The environmental impact assessment is a very important tool for environmental protection because most resources such as Fund which requires very good management are finite and thus have to be exploited with care. Economic development without environmental consideration is harmful since it cost a lot to solve the attendant problems likely to arise from such action.

Environmental Impact Assessment Features

– Project Description
– Land Use Relationships
– Probable Impact of the Proposed Action on the Environment
– Alternatives to the Proposed Action
– Probable Adverse Environmental Effects Which Cannot be Voided

– The relationship between Local Shot Term Uses of the Environment and the Maintenance of Long-Term Productivity
– Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitment of Resources
– Other Interest and Consideration of Federal Policy that Offset the Adverse Environmental Effects of the Proposed Action

The Problem Associated with Environmental Impact Assessment

– The major problem is the enforcement of the Environmental Impact Assessment preparation. This has not yet taken root in all planning agencies so that some projects are injurious and very harmful to the environment go without and a hindrance to their implementation.

– The law that established the Environmental Impact Assessment as a tool for environmental protection and urban planning is not detailed enough in the procedure for its preparation. Most Environmental Impact Assessment is not always prepared strictly in compliance with international standards.

Environmental Impact Assessment Nigeria - Environmental Impact Assessment and Nigerian Planners

– Another fundamental issue of the Environmental Impact Assessment is that there are two types; one prepared and submitted to Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) which is always detailed and required the services of various environmental experts.

-Those prepared and submitted to Town Planning Offices or Agencies for approval purposes are required about as appendages and not integral parts of the approval process. Which accounts for why most Planning Agencies treat the document with levity.

– The Impact Assessment reports another serious issue is that it is usually prepared during the project initiation in most cases where they are even required and once the project has taken root, nobody cares about the what happens to the environment.

– Political influence is also another major consideration and the last issue to write about. The political influence has made it impossible for an Environmental Impact Assessment to take root effectively. The planners do not have absolute power over the prepared document. There is an instance where none planners are appointed to planning office at the Federal, State, and Local level.

Visit the Google Scholar Archive for more detailed documentation on Environmental Impact Assessment in Nigeria

Development Permit Enabling Law in Ogun State

A development permit is a document issued by the urban and regional planning board for an applicant’s use, as well as the size and location of any buildings or structures. The development permit approvals must be obtained for new construction, renovations, businesses, and changes of use to existing buildings. Additional information such as construction details, site plan analysis and design details will be required to make the proper evaluation of the proposed development.

The permit applications always encouraged by the urban and regional planning board to be submitted in person to the proper zonal office and the board zonal officer staff will screen and make sure that the documents submitted for the development approval permits are complete. All submitted development permit applications must meet the urban and regional planning board requirements, such as land use, plot dimensions, plot area, etc.

Some of the Development Permit Approval Enabling Law in Ogun State

Development Permit - Development Permit Enabling Law in Ogun State

– Any document required for a development permit made under the urban and regional planning law of Ogun State shall comply with all requirements, regulations, and standards of the operative physical development plans where they apply.
– Any application for a development permit to erect or partition shall be in conformity with the building plan regulations of Ogun State Urban and Regional Planning Law
– A developer (whether private or government) shall apply for a development permit from the right authority in such form and providing such information including drawing designs, and any other information as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Ogun State Urban and Regional Planning Law

Meeting any of the above, the Ogun state urban and regional planning board shall grant a developer the permit for:

– Any application which involves civil or structural details and calculations is prepared and signed by a qualified civil or structural engineer registered to practice in Nigeria and as specified in the building plan regulations made by the Ogun State Urban and Regional Planning Law
– Detailed information about construction works, provision of services are provided as may be specified by the commissioner

– All architectural drawings are prepared and signed by a registered architect
– The development plan application is accompanied by a survey plan prepared and signed by a registered surveyor. The record copy of which should have been lodged with the Ogun State’s surveyor-general

Other Development Permit Resourceful Documents

Development Permits – City of Edmonton View
Development Permits – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo View
What is the Difference Between a Development Permit and a Building Permit View
Development Permits on Property and Development View
Development Permit Guide – City of Richmond View
Development Permit General Information View

Sustainable Physical Planning Challenges and Development

All efforts towards sustainable development globally are examined upon which suggestions are presented on how sustainable physical development can be achieved in developing. Sustainable physical planning concept is a shift from sustained growth of a society to the level whereby such growth does not jeopardize the need of the future generation. Sustainable development is predicated on the articulation and incorporation of environmental and human needs in the pursuit of economic growth and development objectives. Sustainable physical development came into the debate. in 1990 on the need to create “green cities”

Some definitions linked social and economic development to environmental development, the World Health Organisation in1992 opinion was that sustainable urban development should be concerned with the achievement of more productive, stable and innovative economies at low resource use.
World Commission on Environment and Development definition in 1987) emphasized meeting the “needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs became the popularly embraced definition.

Sustainable Physical Planning and Human Settlement

Sustainable Physical Planning - Sustainable Physical Planning Challenges and Development

The concept of sustainable physical planning is an attempt to articulate and incorporate environmental and human needs in the pursuit of economic growth and development. It is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, investments, application of technology and institutional change are in harmony and enhances both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), in 1987) known as “Our Common Future” defines sustainable physical planning as one that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.

More prominence was given to the concept of sustainable physical planning due to its emergence as one of the key resolutions of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 held at Rio de Janeiro and seconded by the Habitat Conference at Istanbul, 1996, whose emphasis were on the need for sound environmental management in order to achieve the objectives of sustainable development.

At the global level Agenda, 21 of the Earth Summit concern for the sustainability of cities is at two levels, first at the global level, it involves a range of issues concerning long term sustainability of the earth. Secondly, at the local level, it involves the possibility that urban life may be undermined from within because of congestion, pollution, waste generation and they’re accompanying social and economic consequences.

Sustainability in the broad area of physical development particularly, human settlements goes beyond conventional concerns as better social conditions, equity and better environmental standards, to issues such as concern for the impact of city-based production and consumption activities within and outside of the city.

In the area of human settlement basic yardsticks of sustainability as established by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) in 1996 are quality of life of inhabitants, scale of non-renewable resource use, the extent of recycling and re-use, the scale and nature of renewable resource use, waste emanating from production and consumption activities as well as the impact of these wastes on environmental health and ecological systems.

The place of Physical Development in the attainment of Sustainable Physical Planning

Physical planning like other areas of human endeavour has a credible role to play if sustainable physical planning is to be achieved in any society. Urban planning has a central role in achieving sustainability. Though, urban planning is a service and does not necessarily result directly into goods. urban planning is judged by its product through the outcome of the implementation of the planning provisions and programmes.

It provides a plan-document to be used for the physical development of the human habitat. By implication, urban planning provides the led system for “building” the environment which is fundamental for the attainment of sustained control and development of the environment. Physical planning documents are vehicles for environmental development in the immediate term and set the direction of future growth.

This is achieved through the use of a plan diagram backed-up with many legislative guidelines and administrative reports. Therefore sustainable physical planning and management of human settlement hinges greatly on the effectiveness of physical development plans. This involve the reconciliation of land uses, provision of the right site for the right use, control of development, provision of facilities, services and public goods, preservation, protection and conservation of resources, preservation of heritage among others.

Culled from Semantic Scholar | Challenges of Sustainable Physical Planning and Development in Metropolitan Lagos

Physical Planning and Environmental Degradation

Physical planning is the key component of the urban development initiatives and sets the boundaries that any detailed project must adhere to through the legal and technical guidelines that should be followed. Urban transformation and renewal must be developed as a proactive element of physical planning as it provides a practical and sustainable means of preparing for future urbanisation. In a broader sense, physical planning can be described as the set of actions aimed at improving the Physical, Social and Economic welfare of a place and its dwellers.

This entails the organization of land uses so that people enjoy the highest achievable degree of efficiency in resource utilization, the functionality of places and aesthetic quality. What are the main concerns of Urban Planning, therefore, include spatial orderliness, aesthetics of the urban places, the efficiency of operations in the social, economic and another arena, and most importantly, man’s well being?

Environmental degradation can be described as the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. Environmental degradation can also be defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable

One major component of environmental degradation is the depletion of the resource of fresh water on Earth. Approximately only 2.5g% of all of the water on Earth is fresh water, with the rest being salt water. 69% of fresh water is frozen in ice caps located on Antarctica and Greenland, so only 30% of the 2.5% of fresh water is available for consumption. Fresh water is an exceptionally important resource, since life on Earth is ultimately dependent on it. Water transports nutrients, minerals and chemicals within the biosphere to all forms of life, sustains both plants and animals, and moulds the surface of the Earth with transportation and deposition of materials.

Factors Leading to Environmental Degradation


With the turn of the century there has been a surge to living in urban areas. This has resulted in rapid deforestation all over the world. The demand for more space to provide housing accommodation, to build roads and railways, to harness forest resources, to clear land for pasture and mechanized farming.

The increase demand for wood being used for timber and for various other reasons. Deforestation causes major environmental problems the most important being the carbon -oxygen balance of the atmosphere. The roots of trees hold on to the soil and prevents soil erosion. Deforestation results in loss of top soil.

Gas Exhaust from factories and auto-emissions

One of the foremost reason that causes pollution is the exhaust gas emitted from factories. The main air pollutants are sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone and lead. The highest concentration of lead in the environment come from a variety of chemicals including gasoline, paints, ceramics, batteries etc.

Carbon monoxide emission from automobiles has caused hazard to human health. Human beings are faced with health challenges as they breathe air in their living environment. The breathing in of carbon monoxide has caused reduction of oxygen in take by man; because when carbon monoxide is breathed into the lungs, it sticks to the haemoglobin thereby preventing oxygen flow.

This affects the transportation of oxygen by the blood which causes suffocation in man. The cluster of automobiles on roads and streets globally has posed health challenge. Hence this research is focused on finding solution to the effect of carbon monoxide CO on human health.


Technocentrism is the concentration of all activities on technology including industries. Around 1760 the world entered into a new era of industrialization. Environmentalists are of the opinion that the rapid pollution of air, water and land is the result of this rapid industry oriented lifestyle.

Technocentrism 1 - Physical Planning and Environmental Degradation

Most of industries like mining, paint and chemical industries are more prone to affect the environment because they release particulate matter, which is known as Respirable Particulate Matter (RPM); these particulate matter not only pollute the air but is inhaled by city dwellers. This air when inhaled affect the lungs and harm the entire respiratory system.

This is the main causative factor of asthma and lung cancer among the urban population. Even new born are vulnerable to this. The electric powerhouses emit fly ash which causes lung congestion and pollutes water bodies. This causes the most direct harm to humans. particulate matter can come from indoor pollution, aerosol and cooking on the roadside in open ‘choolahs’. Cottage industries like making leather bags also cause pollution by releasing chemical waste in the neighborhood.


There has been a tremendous surge in private vehicles in recent times. The more cars the more the rate of pollution causing smog. This is a health hazard affecting the eyes and causing conjunctivitis. Smog is the result of vehicular pollution, and Hydro-Carbons released from engines are the cause of lower level ozone that is harmful to humans.

Environmental impact of transport on environmental degradation is significant because transport is a major user of energy, and burns most of the world’s petroleum. This creates air pollution, including nitrous oxides and particulates, and is a significant contributor to global warming through emission of carbon dioxide. Within the transport sector, road transport is the largest contributor to global warming.

Environmental regulations in developed countries have reduced the individual vehicle’s emission. However, this has been offset by an increase in the number of vehicles, and increased use of each vehicle. Some pathways to reduce the carbon emissions of road vehicles considerably have been studied. Energy use and emissions vary largely between modes, causing environmentalists to call for a transition from air and road to rail and human-powered transport, and increase transport electrification and energy efficiency.

Unplanned Construction

With the influx of population from the rural areas to the urban a new activity called real estate has come up. Their only intention is to convert any available space to high rises. To maximize their profit, they are carrying out unprecedented construction activities that are being carried out right now. Wetlands are being filled up disturbing the ecology of the city and its fringes.

This has created the urban heat island effect, making the urban areas warmer that the outskirts, trapping solar radiation by concrete and cement, and concentrating pollutants. As most of the vegetative cover is removed to make space for construction, exchange of heat is not possible. The constricted circulation of air, traps pollutants increasing the rate of air pollutants.

Population Explosion

The global population has experienced an unprecedented growth from 1 billion in 1800 to 7 billion in 2012. Life expectancy has increased with advanced medical science and so the population is expected to keep growing, and experts have anticipated the total population at 8.4 billion by mid-2030.

This sudden sharp increase in the relative numbers of a population is referred to as the population boom. It has created a number of environmental issues including food and lodging but alarmingly increase in the amount of waste that is generated every day.

Arbitrary Landuse Policies

Proper use of land resources can mitigate a number of environmental issues, failure to execute land management policies can lead to land pollution and degradation of the worst kind. Extraction from the land as in mining leaves them unusable for habitation and cultivation. Exhausted mines prove that the natural resources are fast dwindling and leaving a piece of land that has been polluted beyond repair. Read more

Physical Planning and Government Intervention

Both State and Federal Government level in Nigeria has been called on to pay more attention to physical planning as it is the bedrock of any meaningful physical and economic development of a community, city, or nation. Globally, world town planning day creates an opportunity for professional planners and the general public to come together and dialogue on necessary steps to be taking in pursuit of achieving an environment which is beautiful, safe, economical, sustainable and convenient for habitation.

Nigeria is yet to enjoy an environment of these characteristics but “as an Institute, The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Lagos State Chapter are optimistic that with continuous dialogue like this as well as involvement of Town Planners in policy formulation and implementation, Nigeria would be an envy of other countries in the world.

The bulk of the activity of town planners is plan preparation. Urban and regional planners, as it is formally called, develop plans and programmes for the use of land. These plans help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, countries, and metropolitan areas.

The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has prepared model city plans for almost all the local government areas within the state. In a bid to improve the physical planning process, the government through the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority has created the electronic Planning Permit process, which is quite commendable.

Creation of a full fleshed Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development at the federal level with the great importance attached to Town Planning globally, it is not wise for physical planning and urban development to be operating as a department under a ministry in the country.

What obtains today in Nigeria is that physical planning is under the ministry of Power, Works and housing. This should not be. The country is in urgent need of proper physical planning. As such, a ministry should be created for this purpose.

The ineffectiveness of town planning administration and activities at the federal level at the moment is as a result of this. The truth is if physical planning and urban development at the federal level is less functional, we shouldn’t expect functionality from the states. This can be done by the implementation of Land use Plan and Analysis report. How will it operate? The Ministry or agency in charge of development permit in all states will mandate it by regulation that all development proposals should be accompanied with the report.

The town planner who prepares the report for that project would therefore be commissioned to ensure that the development when approved does not contravene the approval granted. The town planner in charge due to the knowledge already gathered as a result of the survey carried out within the location would be able to monitor development also within the area. With this, the running cost of the agency would be reduced because officials may not have to be visiting the site again.

Also, jobs would be created for town planners. Once the federal government of Nigeria can lay this template, state governments would be encouraged to reproduce same in their states. Achieving this may be difficult if physical planning and urban development is not accorded the necessary attention and allowed to exist as a ministry”.

Culled from NITP Website | ‘Govt Should Pay More Attention To Physical Planning’ – TPL Adebisi Adedire