Urban planning education is a discipline that has its roots in Nigeria’s pre-colonial history which came into existence due to the industrial revolution. The origin of planning education in Nigeria is tied to the major stages in human and environmental development. Urban planning is a discipline that deals with the spatial arrangement of human societies, the activities of planning majorly concerned with the spatial ordering of land use both in the rural and urban settlements for the purpose of creating a functionally efficient, and aesthetically pleasing physical environment for living, circulation, and recreation.
Though, the perspective of the social scientists are differed and takes cognizance of the dynamism of human environments. According to Losch in 1954, urban planning is defined as an art and science concerned with the balanced opportunities between a various section of the population and the space available with a view to matching suitable locations with the right events. Another scholar expressed urban planning as a set of procedures in making choices among alternatives and determining future actions.
According to Oyesiku in 1992, see urban planning as making choices among the options that appear open for future and then securing the implementation and management of physical environment according to predetermine policies through a scientific approach. The views mentioned above focused on decision making on the land use at present and determining appropriate future action in human settlements with a view of satisfying the needs and welfare of individuals.
Urban Planning Educational System Evolution in Nigeria
The Nigerian urban planning educational systems have been designed to enable self-reliance, there are in-house training of technicians and town planning assistance, sub-professionals educational programmes in Polytechnics and Universities, the full professional programmes and the continuing professional development training programmes. Prior to the commencement of polling education in Nigeria in 1962, all Nigerian desirous of planning education was travelling mostly to Britain, Canada, America, and Australia for training.
The Ibadan Technical College (now The Polytechnic Ibadan) started the sub-professional diploma programmes in Nigeria. The Polytechnic was also the first to commence the full professional diploma programme. By 1975, more tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria started offering planning courses, and since then, the number of people being trained in Nigeria has been on the increase. The advantages of planning education now are the relevance to the local situation since the local expenses are now inculcated in the course curricula.
Two main bodies that are responsible for the urban planning education in Nigeria are the Regular Conventional Schools (The Polytechnic and Universities) and the Regulatory and Registration bodies (The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC). NITP undertakes training on a full-time basis while the TOPREC examines and provides the logistics and organises qualifying examinations necessary for physical registration.
Recommendation for Urban Planners in Nigeria
Urban planners have much to do in the area of assuring qualitative environment, the societal requirements are increasingly sophisticated and time demanding. Urban planners need to respond to the emerging area of need in the society, they need to put into action some certain policies that will not only guarantee the production of a large number of qualitative professionals but equally, these that can respond to the need in a dynamics human environment.
Finally, the urban planning education in Nigeria has been making steady progress since its inception in the country. With the effort of the regulatory bodies in the country, the quality of urban planning education is in the upward grade. However, the curriculum needs to be revealed promptly in order to factor in the self-reliant component being dictated by the ever dynamism in global educational agenda.