Sun | Sep 23, 2018

More town planners needed- NEPA

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 11:30 PMJodi-Ann Gilpin

LEONARD FRANCIS, director of the Spatial Planning division at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has made an appeal for more persons to consider becoming town planners.

Francis told The Gleaner that while every aspect of development needs planners, students generally shy away from this area.
“Maybe it is not marketed enough or maybe other jobs sound more attractive, but planning is something that persons should become interested in and a lot more people are needed in this area,” he declared.

“It is an expensive job, but it is something that we have to do because every decision has planning and spatial implications. If more people for example, decide to go into small business, though persons might think it is simple, but depending on the type of business, as a planner, you will realise that this might not be feasible because it could result in residential communities experiencing a lot of noise, a lot of vehicles bombarding the area, among other serious implications,” Francis explained.

He added: “A lot of planners go into other fields. We find that individuals might do a masters (degree) in planning, but eventually go into other areas and so there is a lack of planners when it comes to planning and development.” 

Noting that the profession involves preservation of the environment, planning of cities and towns, among other infrastructural duties, he pointed out that more needs to be done at the college level to properly train and motivate students.
“I know that the University of Technology is producing a lot of planners and is doing some work in that area. As it stands now, there are a lot of bright people in the profession, but we have to ensure that we produce rounded students because there is a lot that is involved, people being an integral part of the process,” he noted.