Planning is the body of scientific concepts, definitions, behavioral relationships, and assumptions that define the body of knowledge of urban planning. There are eight procedural theories of planning that remain the principal theories of planning procedure today: the rational-comprehensive approach, the incremental approach, the transactive approach, the communicative approach, the advocacy approach, the equity approach, the radical approach, and the humanist or phenomenological approach. Over the past two years, I have focused on the development of a particular area of planning which also links theory to practice. There are two aspects to my studies: placing power and conflict as inevitable and central to planning processes, and grounding planning ideas in an understanding of social diversity and difference. My focus is a response to the problem that most mainstream planning has been developed in the global North, and explicitly or implicitly claims universality, while in fact it is often not helpful to planning practitioners working in the rather different conditions of the global South and East.
Most planning educators in Africa are products of top rate schools in the global north of Europe and America. The received knowledge by these educators are mostly in contradistinction to the needs, aspirations and indeed, realities of African cities. The result is the transplanting of America and Europe knowledge of city plan to Africa. Yet, the form, functions and processes of these Africa cities are uncommonly different. Many of the attending problems of African cities are not the contending issues in the global north. No wonder African cities remain undeveloped but growing and its major problems remain unsolved. My practical concern with the future of African cities has directed my interest over the past tow years to planning practices on the continent, and how the next generation of professional planners is being education and produced. Hence my role in setting up a planning consulting firm and the various projects which I will be emerging through this network.
More recently I have developed an additional interest in the new economic forces re-shaping African cities, in particular the private-sector driven property development initiatives, often originating with international developers and built environment professionals. These new forces are likely to greatly exacerbate processes of marginalization and exclusion of the poor in cities of Africa.