In a State of Flux: Urban Planning Programmes in Asia and Africa

Geetika Anand, Nandini Dutta | 2022


The appropriateness of planning programmes in the Global South, heavily influenced by their colonial pasts and the content developed and taught in universities of the Global North, has been widely questioned. In recent years, contemporary urban challenges, as also highlightedNational Institute of Urban Affairs by the New Urban Agenda, demand that planning education step up and be a core lever of urban transformation. Grappling with legacies from the colonial past on one hand, and looking towards achieving sustainable change in future, where does planning education in post-colonial contexts currently stand? Taking seriously the intent of the programmes, this paper asks two interrelated questions of ten Master’s level planning programmes across Africa and Asia: Who is the programme intended for, and to what end? What are the various forms of knowledge the programme intends to impart, and how? This comparative, qualitative review of planning programmes from across the two regions highlights the similarities and variations in how planning and its education are viewed and approached by different institutions. With the planning discipline currently in a state of flux in post-colonial contexts, this discussion presents an opportunity for learning and innovation through South-South exchanges and partnerships—a critical, yet under-explored area for collaboration when compared with existing North–South knowledge exchange partnerships.