1999 1.Education of Future Planners/EAROPH / RAPI Congress in Darwin

(EAROPH / RAPI Congress in Darwin, September, 1999)Education of Future PlannersHirohide Konami (Ph.D.)ProfessorToyo UniversityFaculty of Regional Development Studies

1 Introduction

The number of planners in Japan is not clear but can be estimated by the number of regular members of related associations. The City Planning Institute of Japan has about 5,000 members, central and local governments have about 20 thousand city planning officials, Planning Consultants Association of Japan has about 190 member companies with 20 thousand or more planning staff, and universities and colleges have 1000 or more teaching staff and professors in the planning field. Therefore, there may be about 50 thousand planners in Japan. If these professional planners can continue their job for 40 years, we need to educate 1,250 planners each year. This means that about 200 universities and colleges in Japan which have some planning program must produce 6 or 7 graduates each year in average. It is also expected that some graduates of high schools or vocational schools will intend to be planners. As a whole, it seems to be not so difficult to supply the needed number of planners as far as the statistical analysis shows.

2 How to educate future planners?

The name of degree to be a planner in Japan is not the degree of planning but the degree of architecture or civil engineering. In general, many lawyers and economists related to planning jobs cannot have the tittle of planners because of the traditional understanding as that planners should be engineers or architects. These engineers and architects are obliged to study law and economics in order to be planners after graduation if they have not studied those subjects in their schools.

Now, necessary basic knowledge to be a planner can be listed as follows.

(1) Law and Economics (2) Geography (3) History (4) Sociology (5) Statistics (6) Landscape (7) Basic knowledge of civil engineering, architecture, transportation planning, land use planning, energy supply, environmental study, information and communication system, sewage system, meteorology and disaster prevention.

It can be easily understood that it may be difficult for a young planner to master all of these subjects. As a result, many young planners are not the completed planner but the incomplete planner. In other words, they can propose some limited projects or the planning in some limited field and cannot propose total planning. These proposals are never useless but important for the improvement of the area. Therefore, future planners can be categorized as follows.

(1) Total planner (2) Transportation planner (3) Land use planner (4) Landscape planner (5) Environment planner (6) Urban facility planner (7) Development planner and (8) Urban management planner.

Education shall be focused to produce the planners from (2) to (8) and the planner (1) will be educated through job experience. Planner (1) must have wide knowledge and will be required to have outstanding eligibility. Planning category of (2) to (8) are not independent and related each other. Then, even the planner from (2) to (8) must have some basic knowledge of the other categories. If he studies those subjects and is eligible enough, he will be able to be a total planner some day.

3 What are the planning problems in the future?

The planning problems in Japan in the future can be prefigured through the careful analysis of the present problems such as; (1) mobility of aged people, (2) deterioration of down town, (3) decrease of urban public investment, (4) population decrease of local cities and towns, (5) abandoned houses, farms and forests in rural areas, and (6) global environment. Therefore, it is also needed to educate the planners to cope with these problems. Many young people are tend to be very much interested in the problem (6) but not so much in the other problems. This is probably caused by the influence from mass communications. It should be emphasized that the problems (1) to (5) are just around the corner and also important problems to be solved in the near future.

4 Short term strategy

The strategies to educate the future planners are considered as follows.

(1)To establish the professional status of planners,

(2)To make the educational institutes communicate each other and have the common understanding for the education of future planners, and

(3)To supply more teaching materials on the future planning problems to primary schools and junior high schools in order to get more attention of children,

5 Conclusion

The education of future planners should be promoted by some short-term strategy and also based on the correct understanding of the present planning problems. Education itself is not enough to grow total or integrated planners. Then, it is also needed to educate them through job experience. It is needless to say that the public involvement in the planning process becomes more important in the future and that the future planners are required to be more modest and patient for public.