Session 3


Planning for Rapid Urbanisation in a Post-COVID19 World

held on

Wednesday 08 July 2020 at 13:00 CAT, 12:00 BST, 11:00 UTC


The programme of events associated with a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth was launched on Wednesday 24 June 2020 under the leadership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, with support from The Prince’s Foundation, the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government.

This event was co-hosted by the Commonwealth Association of Planners and The Prince’s Foundation and considered the need for greater collaboration and innovative responses to address the challenges of rapid urbanisation and climate change in order to achieve cities and towns that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The session focused on the urgent need for capacity building and on planning responses which engage more effectively with real-world issues such as informality and vulnerability.

The event was chaired by Ms Dyan Currie AM, President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners and brought together planners, local government representatives and academia from different regions across the Commonwealth. Introductory presentations were made by:

  • Ben Bolgar, Senior Director, The Prince’s Foundation
  • Haja Halimah Lukay, Development Planning Officer, Bo City Council, Sierra Leone
  • Patrick Lamson-Hall & Maria Monica Salaza, Research Scholars, New York University Marron Institute of Urban Management

And a panel discussion ensued with:

  • Shipra Narang Suri, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division, UN-Habitat
  • Ihsan Zainal Mokhtar, President, Malaysian Institute of Planners
  • Dr Clifford Amoako, Senior Lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Vice President of the Ghana Institute of Planners
  • Prof Carol Archer, University of Technology, Jamaica and the Caribbean Planners Association
  • Bryce Julyan, Senior Techincal Director, Beca, NZ 

The event attracted over 150 attendees from 32 Commonwealth countries with a further 30 watching the livestream. Questions to the panel together with expressions of support came from variety of sources including the Young Planners Network and OneWorld Link. Such was the level of interest that the event was extended by a further 30 minutes. The live recording of this session is available to watch by clicking on the image at the top of this webpage.

key messages

  • Recognising of the importance, urgency and scale of the issues
  • The crucial importance of community engagement in planning processes
  • The role of leadership in community engagement
  • The need for more effective rapid planning tools to deal with rapid urbanisation
  • The need for rapid planning assessments as well as strategic planning
  • Not allowing perfection to become the enemy of the good
  • The need for better planning in rural communities to help slow the rural to urban migration
  • The serious challenges we face in the absence of capacity building 
  • The importance of collaboration to deal with rapid urbanisation and climate change
  • The need to approach goals, such as fixing the economy post COVID-19, achieving the SDGs or building inclusive functioning cities, in an integrated way 


A copy of the Rapid Planning Toolkit can be found here.
A copy of the presentation delivered by New York University Marron Institute can be found here.
A copy of the presentation delivered by Ben Bolgar, Prince’s Foundation and Haja Halimah Lukay, Bo City Council, can be found here.

further information

If you are interested in the issues raised in the programme and/or would like to become involved in a Call to Action, then please contact us at