First, throw your outdated urban planning handbook.

Second, (govt.) city planners embrace this new way of thinking and Jane Jacobs will smile to you all from heaven (I kinda imagine that she now live in heaven circa 2 dedicated for people who have tried and given their best to the goodness of the city)

Our urban planning approach is outdated. The needs to reform is unavoidable and necessary.

Some tips and a number of specific policy directions to achieve Urban Planning Reform:

(Summarized from UN Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements 2009: Planning Sustainable Cities – Policy Directions).

1. Government, both central and local, should increasingly take on a more central role in cities and towns in order to lead development initiatives and ensure the basic needs are met.

2. Reformed Urban Planning systems must fully and unequivocally address a number of major current and emerging urban challenges: especially climate change, rapid urbanization, poverty, informality and safety.

3. A particularly important precondition for the success of urban planning systems is that countries should develop a national perspective on the role of urban areas and challenges of urbanization, articulated in some forms of national urban policy.

4. Capacity to enforce urban planning regulations, which is seriously lacking in many developing countries, should be given very high priority and should be developed on the basics of realistic standards.

Specific Policy Directions:

Institutional and regulatory frameworks for planning:

1. In the design and reconfiguration of planning systems, careful attention should be given to identifying investment and livelihood opportunities that can be built on, as well as pressures that could lead to the subversion and corruption of planning institutions.

2. To command legitimacy, regulatory systems must adhere to the principle of equality under the law, and must be broadly perceived as doing so.

3. The protective as well as developmental roles of planning regulation must be recognized in redesigning urban planning systems.

Participation, Planning and Politics

1. Governments need to implement a number of minimum but critical measures with respect to the political and legal environment as well as financial and human resources, in order to ensure that participation is meaningful, socially inclusive and contributes to improving urban planning.

2. Governments, both national and local, together with non-governmental organizations, must facilitate the development of a vibrant civil society and ensure that effective participatory mechanisms are put in place.

Bridging the Green and Brown Agendas.

1. In order to integrate the green and brown agendas in cities, urban local authorities should implement a comprehensive set of green policies and strategies covering urban design, energy, infrastructure, transport, waste and slums

2. Many green innovations can, and should, becomprehensively integrated into statutory urbanplanning and development control systems, includingplanning standards and building regulations

Urban Planning and Informality

1. Governments and local authorities must, unequivocally,recognize the important role of the informal sector andensure that urban planning systems respond positivelyto this phenomenon, including through legislation

2. More specific innovative and tried approaches to landdevelopment and use of space should be adopted andimplemented if urban policy and planning are toeffectively respond to informality.

Planning, Spatial Structure of cities and provision of infrastructure

1. Strategic spatial plans linked to infrastructuredevelopment can promote more compact forms of urbanexpansion focused around accessibility and publictransport

2. To enhance the sustainable expansion of cities andfacilitate the delivery of urban services, urban localauthorities should formulate infrastructure plans as keyelements of strategic spatial plans

3. Regional governance structures are required to manageurban growth that spreads across administrativeboundaries, which is increasingly the case in all regionsof the world

To Monitoring and Evaluation of Urban Plans

1. Urban planning systems should integrate monitoring andevaluation as permanent features.

2. Traditional evaluation tools – such as cost–benefitanalysis, cost-effectiveness analysis and fiscal impactassessment – are still relevant, given the realities of localgovernment resource constraints.

3. All evaluations should involve extensive consultationwith, and contributions by, all plan stakeholders.

4. Most routine monitoring and evaluation should focus onthe implementation of site, subdivision and neighbourhoodplans.

Planning Education

1. There is a significant need for updating and reform ofcurricula in many urban planning schools, particularlyin many developing and transitional countries whereurban planning education has not kept up with currentchallenges and emerging issues.

2. Urban planning schools should educate students to workin different world contexts by adopting the ‘one-world’approach.

3. Finally, urban planning education should include tuitionin ethics and key social values, as planning is not ‘valueneutral’. Embrace multiculturalism!


Remember, bottom-up planning (community development)  is not a ‘foreign object’ ! Jakarta City Planning bureau (and all those govt city planning bureaus) need and must to adopt this thinking ASAP. Even Kobe city of Japan, has started to develop it back in 1960 !

To Jakarta Konsultindo (i.e. the consultation firm whose in charge for Jakarta’s 2030 spatial planning), please please Open Your Ears, Eyes and Hearts! And I’ve already sent you the copy of this latest UN Habitat Policy Directions in planning a sustainable cities via email ( Please read, contemplate and consider it.