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CAP Young Planners at CAP Business Meeting and Planning - Africa 2018

20 November 2018

Cape Town and CAP’s involvement in the Planning Africa Conference was excellent. The CAP Business Meeting was interesting with the WUF and Commonwealth Summit in the next two years there is a lot of room to be expanding the Young Planners agenda, our activities and promoting the SDGs further in the Commonwealth context.

A key highlight was the launch of our Women in Planning Manifesto and the launch of our Young Planners Call for Practice, which aims to find ideas across the Commonwealth for engaging better with Young People . CAP was able to be a large part of the Planning Africa Conference, with a number of us speaking at a Plenary about Africa and the Commonwealth: The achievement of the New Urban Agenda, where we advocated for the localization of the SDGs, ensuring that they were seen positively and applied to local contexts. I was also proud to present the CAP Youth Manifesto to the Young Planners Colloquium trying to inspire Young Planners to move forward and change the status quo in the profession. It was also the inaugural CAP awards, which seen Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Enfocus, GNS Science & Integrity Professionals Limited in New Zealand win 1st prize for a project titled Innovative risk-based planning & engagement for Natural Hazards.

It was very much a different experience to the discussions we have in the UK around Planning. I felt that the discussions at the Planning Africa Conference were very much progressive, focussed on governance, partnerships and tackling some of the problems that have been passed down through a colonial planning system. Planners were passionate and were acting as activists, fighting for more social justice, environmental sustainability whilst trying to be progressive about economic development throughout Africa. Government from local, regional to national, had a strong role to play in the future of South Africa and that was very much apparent from the plenary and the attendance at the Conference. It valued Local Government and seen the benefits that it can have in making positive change for the people of Africa.

The issues still resonated to some level in the UK- housing, economic development and the need to deliver infrastructure across the Continent. Planners were felt to be empowered not only by their peers but by politician, NGOs and the wider built environment sector. They were told fight for a better system, one that represented Africa, and challenge politicians who do not listen to their views. Overall it was an experience I will not forget, one that allowed me to see different planning contexts, the practices that were taking place, the value others place on Governance/Government and how we could learn from other parts of the Commonwealth and apply them to our own context.

Joanna Patton (Canadian Institute of Planners) and Wessel Strydom (South African Planning Institute) our CAP Essay winners also attended the CAP biennial Business Meeting and Planning Africa 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa 14-17 October 2018. They have both provided their thoughts on the conference, what they learnt and provided some excellent insights about the profession as a whole in the Commonwealth: A copy of their article is available here:

For me it was a pleasure to meet both of these excellent town planners. We talked about each of our different planning regimes and talked about the importance of the Commonwealth in helping to deliver the SDGs. They both provided great insights into their planning careers in both South Africa and Canada and it was great to learn from them. I look forward to another 2 years of promoting Town Planning across the Commonwealth, and look forward to meeting more inspiring and enthusiastic Young Planners, like Joanna and Wessel, in the near future.

Viral Desai

CAP Young Planners Co-ordinator

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