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Registration Number: R165411A

Lecturer: MR.W. ZIMUNYA

Assignment 2: Due Date: APRIL 12, 2017

QUESTION: Modern planning needs to deal with heterogeneous

issues affecting society. Highlight five issues that are affecting
society and discuss how planning can contribute to solving these
issues . (50 marks)


The past half century has seen a growing and persisting demand towards developing more
integrated approaches to planning as a way to combat the notoriously complex and chronic rural
and urban problems. A set of globally agreed goals that aim to end poverty and build a more
sustainable world over the next 15 years were brought forth in an attempt to end the societal
problems which include conflicts, natural disasters, global warming, poverty, unemployment and
economic recession were agreed at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Some of these
differ whether the area is urban or rural and in this case, the most impacts is felt in the rural areas
where the poorest are usually found. Economic growth is thus an essential ingredient of societal
development. This essay is therefore a discussion of the different issues that are affecting
societies and how planning can contribute to solving these same issues.

To start with, conflicts have been a major problem affecting societies mainly in the developing
countries. Some of the conflicts include structural conflicts which are about the distribution of
resources and means of achieving objectives, and value conflicts including cultural, social,
traditional values. These conflicts are also land based where conflicts arise as to who is allowed
to use the land, boundaries, ownership, theft and access routes to plots. There is also armed
conflict most frequently related to the uneven geographical and social spread of development
inherent in modernization approaches, development which channels public resources extremely
unequally, usually reinforcing inequalities of natural resource endowments and history. These
conflicts are not only about the negative as they can be an important force for positive change
and can be managed to allow expression of views fully and peacefully. Underlying conflicts
should not be avoided. Complexity and diversity of each conflict differs and these conflicts lead
to underdevelopment of communities and hence should be avoided. Sources of conflict should
therefore be eliminated for development to take place. Institutional frameworks to deal with
conflicts should be set up and there should also be genuine engagement and respect between
stakeholders. Acknowledging differences, committing to achieving the common goals, fairness,
accountability and transparency is therefore pivotal.

Adding on, poverty is another contemporary issue affecting societies which is also a multi-
dimensional phenomenon (Chambers 1983). Aspects include material deprivation, isolation,
dependence and subordination over land ownership, absence from organizations, lack of assets,
vulnerability to natural disaster and insecurity. In Africa, while structural poverty has remained ,
conjunctural poverty has increased dramatically as a result of war, drought, famine, and the
failure of states to substitute effectively for traditional or pre-colonial institutions (Shepherd
1998). Socio-political explanations of poverty centre on the enormous growth of wealth and the
middle classes in post-colonial societies. This wealth has been frequently accumulated by people
with access to the state, which has provided cheap land, credit, technology and protection for big
business. Therefore both sustainable agriculture, through its greater share of income accruing to
labour and its greater labour intensity , and the affirmation and development of common property
and services, with equity considerations as part of the equation will alleviate poverty (Shepherd
1998). Policy needs to be supportive not only to the credit agency, but also to more general
poverty alleviation, income and employment objectives for credit based strategies to work.
Urban poverty can also be alleviated through reducing the cost of the land and giving more land
to urban agriculture in their land zoning.

Furthermore, natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, drought, landslides, war, bomb
blasts, chemical leaks are also affecting the present societies. Spatial levels and scope of disaster
striking differs from household, community, district up to the provincial levels. These lead loss
of houses and other buildings and loss of production. A lot of resources can be required to
contain an outbreak of diseases for example meningitis or Ebola. The poor are more vulnerable
to these disasters because they are less prepared for the specific event and this is critical in
relation to impact. The impacts of these disasters can be minimized through using the disaster
management cycle which includes the disaster phase where the event of the disaster takes places,
response phase which is that period immediately following the disaster occurrence, recovery or
rehabilitation phase where the immediate needs of the population are met, risk reduction or
mitigation phase where the population has returned to predisaster standards of living and lastly
the preparedness phase which involves the development of awareness among the population on
the general aspects of disaster and how to behave in the face of a future disaster. Early warning
systems can be put in place, which also have four interlocking parts, risk knowledge, monitoring,
response capability and warning communication.

Moving on, land degradation is another societal problem in the present century. This has led to a
lot of other global problems for example the ozone depletion. There is land degradation both in
the rural and urban areas where large pieces of land are cleared for agriculture in the rural areas
and construction in the urban areas. An estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost each year,
according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The global growth
of population, industrial production, and pollution in a limited world will steadily increase the
pressure for environmental innovation and the demand for corresponding processes and products
as observed by (Janicke et al 2000). The carbon footprint is increasing mainly in the developing
countries where there are large sums of ancient cars which leave nothing but pollution behind.
This is leading to the depletion of the ozone layer leading to global warming. The heavy
industries and poor farming methods practiced lead to land degradation as they are all not
sustainable. Some of this degradation is being caused by the increase in the human populations
worldwide. There is therefore need to gravitate towards sustainability, maintaining the quality of
the built and the natural environment. Legislation and other measures like educating the people
on the advantages of having sustainable environments and good stewardship should be
implemented to prevent the degradation of the natural environment. Public participation should
also take place as it is no longer possible to be nave about participation because it has become a
necessity in development especially in the rural areas.

Unemployment cannot be left out on the problems in the societies and is as a result of the
economic recession. This economic recession has made development aid to be difficult since
there are no funds to fund any development projects. A stagnant rural non-farm economy leads to
unemployment, out-migration, the urbanization of poverty and the breakup of families. The
people especially in the rural areas can therefore employ themselves as they can be involved in
resource management and many other agricultural activities. Planners in cities should spatially
reserve space for the vendors and accepting that vending has come to stay, taking Zimbabwean
cities for example. Capacity development, empowering the people in the rural areas for example
through the command agriculture and also dividing the land into A1 and A2 trying to develop an
economy for the rural areas.

After considering all these factors, it becomes clear that all these societal problems can hinder
development in either the rural and urban areas if not given the full attention and the solutions
needed. The solutions provided through planning should therefore be followed to have
sustainable development in these different societies.

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