*“With proper funding of Physical Planning activities, sustainable development can be achieved”*
Atypical Physical Planner wakes up with hundreds of mails, texts and missed calls from a wide range of developers across the town. Reads and responds to the mails and texts more often and hastens to attend routine meetings with various stakeholders in regards to proper development. The early morning calls to enforce illegal developers makes the greatest dissatisfaction of their longingly awaited jobs with corresponding field assaults, low budget facilitation and lack of life insurance.
Planning is such a field-based profession that brings more revenues to the city though it’s very unfortunate that less is injected back to support the activities of the Physical Planner. Surprisingly, the situation is worsened by the severe field starvation, longer walks, irritating developers and the ever-bouncing rays of the scorching sunlight that scuffles onto their dummy hairless ‘skulls’ as they maneuver through the towns.
The suffering Physical Planner uses his privately owned vehicle to traverse through the wicked urban and rural roads for routine inspections and never misses the garage at the weekend. To his dismay, there is an immense pressure exerted onto him by his superiors mounting from poor performance which asserts the lack of consciousness gained over time as he purchases his dream career.
The fact is, there has been adorably increased spending on medical care, defense and education but ultimate neglect sprinkled into Physical Planning operations. Moreover, Physical Planning has kept on the tongues of City leaders as a remedy to city wide challenges and hailing its ability to convey change irrespective of its underfunding and low budget.
However, when architects and engineers formerly initiated a “war” to uplift their fate, the government hastened to finance the National Building Review Board. This came with a gradual reduction in the funding of the National Physical Planning Board with deliberate fright that it could soon be added to the National Planning Authority during the next institutional reshuffle.
There is an accelerating phobia among legislators within the country that poor physical planning is affecting proper development and has taken the country into a land use tragedy. This prompted Hon. Isaac Musumba to promise to introduce the Urban Planning Police to help in dealing with urban challenges but hitherto, the tales have continued.
Selfishness has become a foundation stone for the community challenges faced where neither the rich nor the poor would rather remain with a completely unaccessed plot than cutting 5feets to open up a community road.
It is worse in towns that are politically impaired. The mayor and councilors always take it upon themselves to effect their interests using political power and hence jeopardizing the work of a local Physical Planner forgetting that it is only for a free and well facilitated Physical Planner that proper and orderly development can occur.
The struggle to implement decisions of a politically hungry leader who promised freedom and independence to the natives has left politicians beloved but verbal-some pillars of society that defies all means to proper development.
Conclusively, complaints about the quality of Physical Planners has been cracked by the enactment of the Physical Planners’ Registration Act 2022 with a clear path for the future of proper urban planning due to its ability to detect quack Planners and to oust them out of the profession, this should be followed by proper funding through direct grants to support this department in the preparation and implementation of modern land use plans.
The government should as well advise politicians to back off the decisions of Physical Planners if Uganda is to achieve sustainable urban environments.
The writer is an admin on “THE CITY POST” Facebook page of urban development. ([email protected])