New self diagnostic tool designed to help planners around the world assess skills and capacity

Sharp increases in urbanisation will make it even tougher for the world's planners to provide for the basic needs of city dwellers, according to the Global Planners Network (GPN). The GPN is launching a tool designed to help planners around the world assess their capacity to cope and to make sure the most important requirements, like housing, clean water, sanitation and basic services can be provided.

For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population now live in a town or city. By 2050 a further 3 billion people will have joined them*. These people will need access to shelter, essential infrastructure like clean water and sanitation, and services like schools and clinics all of which need to be planned in a sustainable way.

A ‘Self-Diagnostic Tool to Assess Planning Capacity’ has been developed by the UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Commonwealth Association of Planners, to help planning organisations across the world to assess their capacity to respond to the challenges of urban growth. By assessing their skills-base, organisational capacity, leadership and working methods it is hoped planning organisations will find themselves better placed to cope with the challenges that lie ahead.

The Tool will also build a better picture of the way different countries plan their settlements and it is hoped this will help develop international support networks between planning organisations to share and transfer knowledge.

The ‘Self-Diagnostic Tool to Assess Planning Capacity’ is designed for global use. It will be made available online and in hard copy in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. It is tailored to fit the experiences of all types of planners working in public, private or voluntary sectors, and all organisations and institutions with responsibility for planning and managing where people live.

Will French, who is managing the project for the Global Planners Network said: 'Rapid urbanisation is a huge and growing challenge for cities world wide. Good planning is essential to provide housing and the essential infrastructure and services that make places fit for habitation. This diagnostic tool will help us all to understand better what skills and capacity exist, where possible gaps might be and how best to fill any identified.'

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