Numerous studies and research have been conducted in the recent past to assess and explore how urban space and urban life have changed over the years. With continuous increase in population in most urban centers, towns and cities, it has compelled those in charge of urban planning to restructure, strategize and redesign policies and rules that guided urban development. As a result, it has led to formation of new policies, rules and guidelines that tries to address current and present differences that have resulted due to the increased population, which has in turn increased demand for social amenities that serve and take care of the interests of the people. Urban space has been on the decrease for many years because of the rise in number of population and also vehicle traffic. Therefore, in urban planning, all these interests have to be taken care of and a comprehensive plan realized that address most of the stated issues if not all of them. Urban life has been determined and controlled in one way or the other by urban space. However, my goal in this paper is to show the importance and relevancy of planning in utilizing urban space in the contemporary society that has in turn impacted on urban lifestyle.
Urban life has been described as the life and culture of towns and cities. It is basically associated with cities and major towns and it may include things such as heavy traffic, several types of pollution and high cost of living (Prakash &Kruse 2). Planning is a key and important part not only in utilizing urban space, but also in other sectors of planning. Personal life needs planning too. It is argued out that planning is critical to realization of any vision and ideologies, and therefore as the old adage that says failing to plan is planning to fail, seems more than correct and true. Technology and innovation has played a decisive part in shaping the current the current lifestyle not only in the urban spaces but also rural areas (9). However, it is imperative to note that mostly it has affected urban regions such as towns and cities. Planning enables one to see and predict the future in relation to a concerned issue or subject. This has enabled many urban centers such as towns and cities to incorporate planning departments in their organizational structures and designs (Algreen-Ussing 12). As a result, most of the municipal governments have established planning sectors that take care of all matters relating to planning of urban centers and utilizing urban space.
With proper planning, urban lifestyle is definitely improved. This is because communication, transportation, security, and health among other many fundamental issues that touch on our lives are taken care of in the process of planning. It is noted that for urban life and urban space to be utilized to the greatest potential, that will result in maximum benefits to the concerned authorities and all stakeholders, a thorough research has to be conducted that will determine the population trends and cultures of the people and region, so that proper planning that will result in desired benefits can be achieved by incorporating the findings from the research. Scholars and researchers in issues of urban space have pointed out that urban life and utilization of urban space has been improved in areas that have planned well their developments (Prakash &Kruse 14). For instance, they position out young towns and cities that were crafted in the recent times that have grown tremendously in size and population, simply because of proper planning, that have grown to bigger cities and towns with high quality lifestyle being realized by those living in the area. Such kind of planning has taken care of issues that relate to pollution that is mostly realized in most urban places.
Pollution is one element that has affected urban residence and people negatively. Air, land and water pollution have caused problems that are health related such as diseases to people in such areas. And this lowers quality of urban lifestyle. Therefore, planners have to address such issues so that the negative effects that result from them can be avoided and hence improve quality of life in urban places such as cities and towns. There has to be proper guidelines and rules that will shape how solid waste has to be managed in the urban places. It has been asserted that the greatest hindrance to quality lives in most urban centers has been pollution, especially of solid waste. Solid wastes have contributed to environmental pollution and degradation in most cities and towns in the world, and therefore, taking care and control of wastes in urban places is seen as an important step to improving lifestyles in urban places (Algreen-Ussing 37).
There has been observed increase in demand for space in most urban areas. With increased populations in number of people and vehicles, it has compelled city planners and organizers to embrace the concept and ideology of maximizing on space in already existing facilities. As a result, structures and buildings in modern towns and cities have been build in such a manner that exploits and maximizes on the available space, that hosts the highest number of people possible, and utilize less space as possible. Due to this, buildings both for commercial and residence have been raised in the present times that host hundreds of thousands of people. This has improved urban lifestyle since it has enabled many people to be accommodated, and get the opportunity in life to exploit the chances in urban centers and places. However, on the contrary this has been argued to reduce private space and lifestyle that result due to overpopulation in such areas (Algreen-Ussing 28).
Traffic has been another great challenge to most people in the urban lifestyles and set up. A lot of time has been spent on traffic jams, and this has affected people in the urban places in many ways. Economists have pointed out that time wasted in traffic jams in urban places affected most economies negatively. This has also affected urban lives and discouraged many from visiting and living in urban places. Nevertheless, planners have to consider this in their plans, and design out options that can address the issue. In the recent times, roads have been designed that allows free flow of traffic and have eliminated the traffic jam that has been witnessed in most parts and times in the past. Planning therefore has proved to be an important part that shapes the lives experienced in urban places (Prakash &Kruse 62).
In urban areas, there has been observed increase in the number of crimes, unlike rural areas. Crime in general has made life difficult and challenging to most urban residences. Criminals exploit challenges that are caused by high population in urban areas, such as increased demand for services in many sectors and lack of adequate space. However with proper planning, such kind of acts are drastically reduced, and it is observed in the recent times that city and town planners have embraced technology, and in the recent times are installing cameras at strategic places that will help them and the authority in law enforcement to combat and unearth crime, that has been noted to be on the increase in most urban places. Buildings both in commercial places and residential places in most urban areas have been installed with cameras that monitor developments in surrounding areas. This has aided a great deal in combating problem of insecurity in most urban places, and hence improved life in urban places (Prakash &Kruse 56). Planning, therefore has determined the kind of life that urban residence live in one way or the other. It has shaped a lot of factors experienced in modern settings that have impacted on the kind of lives lived in urban areas.
Most of the population in the urban places and in many urban areas such as cities and towns, there are constructed social amenities such as stadium, large shopping malls, parks, cinema halls among many others, that have been designed and constructed purposely to make life enjoyable to people in such places. Even political institutions of most governments such as parliaments and houses, have been constructed in urban centers. Such kind of social amenities have made life more enjoyable to urban residence and at the same time have created economic opportunity for people, where businesses have taken over management of such places creating jobs and incomes for the people in urban places. With proper planning, such kind of facilities are placed at the right places that utilizes less space and are designed in a manner that attracts highest number of people to realize maximum profits and benefits that helps the society to grow, and hence improve lives at urban areas (Algreen-Ussing 75).
With increased number of urban places, it has raised a lot of concern to environmentalists and related groups and organizations. This is because of the high levels of pollution that have resulted due to high number of population in cities and towns. To mitigate the concerns, urban planners have incorporated such unease in their designs of towns and cities, and this has resulted to improved environmental care and increase in renewable and green energy in most urban areas. There is a continuous increase in design of most urban centers that are environmental conscious, for instance, there is observed increase of solar products and use in most urban areas (Algreen-Ussing 42). Negative effects resulting from environmental pollution such as global warming and climate change affects both the population in urban and rural areas, and therefore, it compels everybody to act and take action that will reduce such effects to the environment. Through proper planning, the above can be achieved with a lot of ease.
Ancient urban areas and buildings that played a part in shaping the development of current society, in some instances have been preserved and turned to tourist sites, that has enabled people to earn income, and act as educational facilities that help people understand better the history behind such cases. Urban space in general has contributed to large extent in shaping the kind of lifestyles experienced in urban areas. It has provided places for recreation where by urban residence have used, for instance parks and gardens in most urban places have been visited. Beauty from urban buildings and spaces has been appreciated by many and it has provided scenic sites.
In winding up, planning has proved to be an important component and step that has to be followed in planning and developing urban centers. Urban life is mostly shaped and determined by how urban places were designed and the number of populations that it projected to be served by the urban areas. Urban space is and continues to be limited each time, and therefore planning has to be done by those responsible so that urban lives can be enjoyed to the fullest, giving each residence an opportunity to realize full potential in life.
Algreen-Ussing, Gregers. Urban Space and Urban Conservation As an Aesthetic Problem: Lectures Presented at the International Conference in Rome 23rd-26th October 1997. Rome: "L'Erma" di Bretschneider, 2011. Print.
Prakash, Gyan, and Kevin M. Kruse. The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. Print.