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Urban planning in the developing countries: the use of quantitative planning methods Kumapley, Frank Titus Kofi


The relevance of western planning models to urban processes in the developing countries is a topic which has engaged the attention of many planners. In this study, three commonly used quantitative planning methods are evaluated with respect to the circumstances under which they may be used, and what results may be expected from applying them to urban planning operations in the developing countries. The three methods evaluated are: the Cohort-Survival Method of population forecasting; the Urban Economic Base model; and the Gravity Models of Spatial Interaction. The study uses the structural analysis approach to model evaluation. In this approach, the decisive factor is the ability of the model being evaluated to adequately answer, or provide information on, relevant planning questions which are characteristic of cities in the developing countries. The author arrives at the following major findings and conclusions: i) that the main deterrent to any possible use of the Cohort-Survival model in the developing countries is the difficulty of estimating the migration vector; ii) that the structure and the relatively small base-ratios of urban economies in the developing countries greatly reduce the potential of the Economic Base model to the extent that it can be considered irrelevant to cities in these countries; iii) that instabilities in travel patterns, imperfections in urban housing markets and the existence of periodic systems of marketing in the developing countries create circumstances which are seemingly very difficult to handle within the presently known theoretical framework of the Gravity models of intra-urban trip distribution, residential location and retail location, respectively; iv) that, in view of the above findings, three main factors may be used to explain the difficulty of transferring western planning methods to the developing countries. These include: (a) differences in cultural and economic environments; (b) differences in rates of urban growth; and (c) differences in the degree of difficulty in obtaining the necessary data. To overcome the difficulties of using the three models evaluated in the developing countries, a number of both short- and long-term measures are suggested. The short-term measures, which are specific to each of the three models, concentrate on identifying alternative approaches and sources of information for use by planners faced with the problems of city development in the developing countries. Finally, the author contends that if long-run solutions are to be found to the problems of planning methodology transfer by evolving and using locally relevant planning techniques, then measures such as increased planning research closely matched by improvements in planning data base and administration are required.

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