Archive for category Town Planning

The Concept of “The Just City”

Urban Theory of Social Justice by Susan Fainstein

Susan Fainstein is a professor of urban planning at Harvard. She wanted to achieve social justice within the context of urban planning. She had a vision of creating a city where public investment and regulation would produce equitable outcomes rather than support the wealthy.

There were a lot of social theories that came round in 1970s. She says that there were excellent theories of justice but none of them talked about justice. One of the political philosophers she mentions is John Rawl. She got an opportunity to interview one of the philosophers and she asked her if the theories of social justice worked in the real world to which the philosopher replied that she was a philosopher and did not worry if the theory worked in the real world or not. So Fainstein says that she is an urban planner and would have to worry about the working of social theories in the real world.

Amsterdam - The Just City Model

Amsterdam – The Just City Model

This inspired her to come up with an urban theory of social justice. She coined the term “The Just City”. She says, the just city does not necessarily mean a good city because a good city would have many more attributes than just the three central principles proposed by her.

The three central concepts proposed by Fainstein that would constitute “The Just City” are:

  1. Equality
  2. Democracy
  3. Diversity

She conducted three casestudies namely New York, London and Amsterdam and studied them in detail with respect to these three central concepts. She was of the view that New York was very close to the third principle i.e. Diversity but was distant from the first two principles namely Equality and Democracy. London had Diversity and Democracy but lacked Equality. She was of the view that Amsterdam was the closest we could possibly get to an ideal just city. She says Amsterdam was a more equal city than it is now.


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Why is Transportation Planning important?

Transportation Planning

Introduction

Transportation planning’s related disciplines of land use planning, architecture, landscape design, urban economics and social policy have undergone major internal reform efforts over the past few decades but unfortunately, transport planning seems to be stuck in the 1950s mentality and believes that all the urban problems such as congestion, mobility and economic development has an engineering solution from an civil engineering recruitment agency.

Types of streets

Sustainable Urbanism has been identified as the most important environmental concern of the coming century by different experts from different fields whereas transportation planning remains isolated forming a large gap in the strategies of urban sustainability.

Importance of Transportation planning

Transportation is not an end in itself. Rather, it is an investment tool that cities use to help achieve their larger goals. Transportation planners and engineers always focus on the efficient movement of people and goods across the country. However, transportation touches all aspects of city life such as economic development, quality of life, social equity, public health and ecological sustainability.


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How is land divided in a town/city?

Distribution of Land uses in a town/city

Zoning is done at different levels. Macro level and micro level. Macro level zoning includes the representation of all the natural bodies such as sea, rivers, lakes, mountains, hills, valleys, large open areas and potential sites for building new towns and cities. Micro zoning includes the zoning of individual towns or cities. It consists of six distinct parts.

Conceptual town zoning

Conceptual town zoning

1. Town centre

This is the place where major commercial activity takes place. It indicates the central area containing commercial and administrative blocks, theatres, principal library, museum etc.

2. Residential area

It is evenly distributed across the town depending upon its suitability. This part is mainly used for providing residential accommodation to the inhabitants of the town. But it also contains small shops, primary schools, small service industries and gardens, that clearly need the best maintain, that’s why there are services as lawn care in Utah that provide this kind of services.

3. Commercial area

We have retail and wholesale commercial spaces across the town. Commercial area is the heart of any town or city. Without commerce, the town/city would not survive. Hence, it is very important to have commercial areas spread evenly across the town.


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Necessity of Town Planning

What is Zoning?

The local governments in developed countries designated permitted uses of land based on mapped zones. The mapped zones help in separating one set of land uses from another. This device of land use planning is called zoning.(1) Zoning is one of the principles of town planning.

Zoning is used to specify the use of land and is called functional zoning. It is also used to regulate the height of the buildings and density (ground coverage specifications).

A town/city is divided into different zones such as:

  1. Residential zone (housing)
  2. Commercial zone (retail/wholesales shops/malls – anything related to commerce)
  3. Industrial zone (Industries/factories)
  4. Recreational zone (Parks/Playgrounds/spaces for recreational activities)
  5. Mixed use zone (Commercial + Residential)

All of the above mentioned zones cater to their specify type of usage.

Why is Town planning important?

It is evident that a small house if well arranged and planned, looks far more better than a disordered big palace. In a similar way, a town which is properly planned provide people with more comfort and convenience.

The necessity of town planning can very well be appreciated by mentioning the evil situations which a town has to face in the absence of town planning. They are as follows:

1. Defective road system resulting in the formation of narrow streets and lanes;

Defective road system is a problem in most countries. It is due to the fact that towns and cities were never planned. They gradually grew with the help of the developers which resulted in bad road network giving rise to bad transportation network.


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