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2018 ZIRUP Annual School President’s Open Remarks
I welcome you all to this 38th Annual School for the Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners. I would Like to thank all our respective Employers for entrusting their faith and hope that by allowing us and believing that attending these Annual Schools we will add Value to the Planning Practice and Improve Planning Services Delivery.
All the Annual Schools, of cause punctuated by the much-needed holiday breaks from our busy office schedules, are in search of broadening our understanding and horizon of the practice through sharing of ideas and experiences to increase the depth of our handle of the ever-changing demands for planning services urbanization intensifies.
Although we may seem not to be making much progress in achieving the desired Planning Goals I am very happy that this has not been a reason to give up. I am encouraged by the zeal and resilience that we continue to show. I trust and believe that one day we will strike the right code and make the change and difference that all our communities desire to see and live in their new-found habitats.
The present state and conditions of most of our Human Settlements are not encouraging as they are negatively plagued and buffeted by pressures of intensifying Urbanization. They have so much regressed as to relapse to pre-urban living conditions as jungles of uncertainty, poverty, disorder, savagery and daily struggles for basic survival, to the point of being threatened by long forgotten unhygienic related living conditions and disease outbreaks. They have lost their glamour and glitter and the hope and promise of good lives which communities so much seek and desire when they move to these centres.
Whilst this is disheartening, this should not be the cause to give up but must instead challenge us to endeavor to do more and better in a different way than we have done before with the same results. Whatever the state and conditions of our human settlements, we remain the champions of modern human settlements through planning initiatives to better what would the situation without our intervention as a profession.
This reminds me of the Grade One Song and Chorus which we all joyfully and innocently chorused together, Try Try Try again. If at first do succeed try try try again
This was to provoke in us a never die or give up spirit against any odds, whether they be political interference, poor resourcing, lack of the necessary skills and competencies, or discouragement that we will never make the Grade.
Previous Annual Schools Themes
All the past Annual School Themes have been in search of a better understanding of the changing demands that growing human settlements are placing on Planning and the Local Planning Authorities.
This year we meet to revisit and discuss the Tools of our Trade and the institutional context of our practices. We need to interrogate these tools honestly and objectively so that by the end of this Annual School we will have honestly answered the following soul-searching questions to help face head on the challenges that we face with the aim of coming up with the context sensitive solutions to the planning needs of our communities.
1. Do we know and understand our tools, processes and procedures?
2. Are the tools adequate and suitable for our situation?
3. Are the tools fit for purpose?
4. Are we correctly interpreting and using these tools to meet the desired results?
5. Are the tools responsive to the very diverse, rapidly changing and complex environments?
6. Are tools ours or they are borrowed tools
7. Are we comfortable with these tools?
8. Are the tools understood and appreciated by those that we apply them to/on
9. How facilitative, restrictive or inhibitive are they to the successful achievement of our planning Goals.
10. Are properly positioned, inducted to use and handle these tools
Why are honest answers necessary at this particular point and moment in the History of Our Country?
Zimbabwe under the New Dispensation is in an Open for Business Mood as has been declared by the President.
For Us every Business requires and takes place in some form of Place or Space. Places and Spaces are the domain and creation of Planning an area which we preside in our different capacities and positing.
My Question to you all here today is how ready and how well positioned are we to deliver these Places and Spaces for the much needed.
My plea is, let us not be left out and/or once again be labelled as anti-establishment elements as has happened in most previous Government Programs where we have been perceived and labelled as uninterested and obstructive. Programs from which we have earned ourselves mistrust as a profession include the Land Reform Program
Whilst I know that it is against our professional commitment to go against what we believe to be the right thing to do may we please be involved by asking the right question in the right attitude for us not only to be relevant but also positively influence Policies and Programs by the progressive use of our tools.
I thank you.