Plan what and for whom?

Image: Mustafa Ezz


There is no “planner”, as the activity of “looking and optimizing the future” is a collective and not an individual task

The basic characteristic of urban and regional planning is to provide urban centers and regions with services and activities that generate optimal conditions for collective coexistence and well-being of a given population and/or its economic and social activities. Apparently simple, these planning actions should not only be the responsibility of governments, but also of citizens, companies and the urban collective. Therefore, there is no “planner”, since the activity of “looking and optimizing the future” is a collective task and not an individual one, since the individual has limitations, while “seeing the future” will always be better left to a team well prepared.

The team will keep in mind which characteristics the object or circumstance should be planned: will they be close circumstances or a day, month or year ahead? How far apart in time and territory will the last objects to be planned be? Furthermore, are collectives malleable in terms of how you want them to remain or change to be better off in the future? It seems that it will not be easy to find an answer to these questions, especially in areas or territories where there has always been the faissez faire ou laissez passer or in our vernacular, let it be done or let it go, which are antagonistic to planning, because they surrender to improvisation, which is contrary to state planning.

Logically, not everything should be attributed to the State and its institutions, as a whole, are the providers of social well-being. This is also due to the fact that companies aim at profitability and the State does not look at profit, but only the means necessary for a given population to feel supported in what is essential in terms of health, safety and relief. what you do on a daily basis.

An example is what happened in those days with the populations of Syria and Turkey in terms of the seismic disaster that took so many adult lives, sparing many children, they say because of their reduced body volume. But the tragedy had international help, voluntary donors and governments in solidarity with the shock that came from the tectonic plates of the so-called "ring of fire" or ring of the fire, on all coastal fringes of the Pacific Ocean. These rifts run through not only eastern territories, but can be found on other continents, from California to North America, Canada, Japan, to Indonesia. Aware of the possible movements of tectonic plates, some countries reinforce the structures of bridges, roads and buildings, including office and residential buildings. The shocks, logically, do not announce when they may occur, but, aware of these unpredictable events, construction companies and governments take precautionary measures, as planning is not possible.

Those who live in areas of the belt of fire, at the slightest subterranean movement, remain vigilant, but they cannot remain calm, like ants or birds, before the almost imperceptible onset of earthquakes, like volcanic eruptions. I have already discussed, in this space, the lavas of Vesuvius that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, close to Naples. It took just 17 minutes to mow down the entire population in the year 79 AD According to media reports, it is the only volcano in Europe, now dormant, to have an eruption in a hundred years. An unannounced tragedy with no possibility of planning and brutal destructive capacity. Italy carried out excavations for years and, currently, the site of what happened is an object of tourist visitation. Many Brazilians have been in this sad scenario and return to relatives and friends about what they saw and heard from the narrators who guide visitors in this tragic territory.

If volcanic eruptions are unparalleled in Brazil, it could be an advantage as are tornadoes (except in Santa Catarina, where they have already occurred) they have already devastated states in the United States of America – Missouri, Indiana and Illinois – with many deaths . These events can be alerted by the meteorological services, giving the possibility of the residences to be protected in some way, being objects of films in which the inhabitants prepare for the storm by covering windows and doors with well nailed wood. What cannot be foreseen is the total destruction of entire neighborhoods through which the tornado passes until it loses its strength going to the interior of the continent.

* Aldo Paviani, geographer, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Brasília (UnB).


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