Urban Environment: Engaging Through Travel
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page… Earnest Hemmingway.
Today’s world is more like an amorphousform, afabric; interconnected by a fast medium called the internet. This is a phenomenonthat gained traction since the fall of the Berlinwall, unveiling the new era of Information Age, an era that has brought fortunes to those who seek information, knowledge and take action. This brought with it change in the way people live, socialise, tradeand engage other activities.
Urban environment toois more of a fabric. Much likea ‘living organism’ that adapts every day, very fast. It is important that urban designers be engaged in global aspects of the profession as the world dictates. This calls for seeking firsthand experiences in global trends through travel. Anexcellently trainedprofessional needs to be conversant with the dynamics of different cities that showcase excellent urban environments across the globe. A brief mention is Bogota in Colombia, Curitiba in Brazil, Seoul,Munich, Kigali among others. Each of them has an outstanding character that glorifies its identity.
Travelintroduces a different level of engagement for the designers involved. It is learning by the ‘power of presence’,meaning some things can only be learnt by experiencing them. It involves engagement with administrators, city planners and socialexperts as well as with other professionals and importantly, the local community. As a travel enthusiast and consultant, it is this realisation and passion that calls for engagement of the professional through organised and customised group tours to different cities across the globe.
Mostwidely-travelled urban designers will reveal that for our urban environment to be sustainable, a massive overhaul of constructive rebuilding should been undertaken. Mention Nairobi, the gateway to East Africa and a prominent city on the continent, itscapacityto cope with the daily demands on it is massively overwhelmed. Itssustainability is way belowthe threshold needed to remain on the course towards the fulfilment of the country’sVision 2030. A modern urban environment is a system of systemsincorporating mass transportation, masshousing, effective and efficient waste management, socialisationplatforms and agriculture. These key fibres of this fabric called urban environment have changed, and continue to change their face both underground and over ground.
All urban stakeholders need to actively engage withauthorityand all other stakeholders to position our urban centres on the global map of efficiency. With urbanisation unevitable, for our urban environment to absorb the pressure from population growth, a reorganisation of the systems and even regulations is much needed.
A 21stcentury city without a mass transport system is on a dangerouspath and risks being chocked by rapid urbanisation. It can only be through active engagement of our urban designers, seeking firsthand experience globally by taking that travel opportunity, consultations and taking action that will help the situation. Proposed cities, such as Konza City will remain a pipedream andits realisation a mirageto urban designers and all consultants unless we grapple with what ails neighbouring cities such as Nairobi.
As it is, we are in information Age. Travelmore; engagemore; see and experience more and you will have moreto give to our society…Let’s Travel.For Students in Construction industry,taking part in this year’s Dubai & Abu Dhabi travel is a big step towards equipping yourself adequately for the industry.
Humphrey Mumita is a graduate Architect, travel enthusiast and consultant at Africair Travel.firstname.lastname@example.org