FIG Commission 8 - Spatial planning and development

Term 2011-2014

Highlights Commission Chair 2011-2014
The activities of Commission 8 in the years 2011–2014 have involved all levels of physical planning, which enable environmentally sustainable development to occur. There have been four Working Groups: Mr. Wafula Nabutola, Kenya
  • WG 8.1 – Planning Strategy for Urban Development and Regeneration
  • WG 8.2 – Informal Settlements Issues in Spatial Development Planning and Governance;
  • WG 8.3 – Re-engineering of Mega Cities
  • WG 8.4 – Land Policies; Land Use Planning Control and Implementation.

Regarding Spatial Planning, Commission 8 continued to assist in building the capacity of knowledge and skills via case studies, workshops, collaboration and consultation; Contributing to environmentally sustainable development; and Humans Living conditions in a changing globalised world. At the FIG Congress 2014 in Kuala Lumpur the commission was involved in 19 technical sessions and 100 papers. Emerging issues for the commission are Rural Urban Migration and the Impact on Rural Economy and Urban economy; Rapid Urbanization where urban policies are needed; Infrastructure is overwhelmed – Water, Sewers, waste water, solid waste, liquid waste, energy, food security in both urban and rural, conflict over resources; and the role of PPP in meeting these pressing needs.

Work Plan

Terms of reference

  • Regional and local structure planning
  • Urban and rural land use planning and control
  • Planning policies and environmental improvement
  • Land use planning and implementation and control
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Informal settlement issues in spatial development,
  • Spatial planning and good governance
  • Re-engineering mega cities
  • Strategy for environmentally sustainable development
  • Disaster risk management and land use planning
  • Inter-relationship between Commissions

Mission statement

The activities of Commission 8 in the years 2011–2014 will involve all levels of physical planning, which enable environmentally sustainable development to occur.

Spatial Planning

Spatial Planning is all about governments (federal, central, state and local) using a series of techniques to influence optimum distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales. It encompasses all levels of land policies formulation, land use planning including urban planning, regional planning, environmental planning, national spatial plans and, in Africa and in the EU, international levels. In Africa the COMESA, IGAD, EAC nations are coming together to design, develop and implement cross-border corridors of infrastructure (roads, railways, oil pipelines, fibre-optic cabling) all running beyond nations and beyond regions.

Regional/xpatial planning gives geographical expression to the economic, social, cultural and ecological policies of society. It is at the same time a scientific discipline, an administrative technique and a policy developed as an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach directed towards a balanced regional development and the physical organization of space according to an overall strategy.

Physical planning establishes the ‘ground rules’ for environmentally sustainable development at all planning levels, including all actors (government, private sector and public/private partnerships). Traditionally the surveyors? role is most visible in implementation of plans and therefore Commission 8 will have more focus on issues that are closely related to the core disciplines of the profession.

Commission 8 will continue to assist in building the capacity of knowledge and skills via case studies, workshops, collaboration and consultation thus contributing, in a positive way, to environmentally sustainable development and living conditions of humans in a changing globalised world.

The challenge this presents is to protect our national heritage while permitting appropriate growth. This is sometimes referred to as ?smart growth,’ carefully planned growth to preserve the past for future generations. Yet, it seems, one person?s notion of ?smart growth’ may be, to another person, restraint of trade.

Throughout the world small communities are facing challenges from developers – both builders and land owners looking to make an honest profit – who seek to create commercial, industrial, and residential projects on water masses, former farms, pastureland, and forests.

Urban Development

The process of improving raw land to support construction or other improvement. It may include planning, acquisition of government permits, subdivision, construction of access roads, installation of utilities, landscaping, and drainage or the process of improving a large tract of land; includes clearing, grading, and the installation of sewers and utilities such as water, gas, telecommunications and electricity. .
Surveyors have a key professional role in the application and implementation of planning and development for optimum community living. The strategy today incorporates the importance of the environment and the requirement for environmentally sustainable developments (ESD) to be foundations of the habitat for future generations. This planning strategy for urban and rural transformation provides opportunities for surveyors.

The re-engineering of mega cities as places for people and the provision and location of infrastructure services involves all levels of Government and Private Sector to collaborate and deliver desired public policy outcomes.

The challenges of containing and eventually eliminating informal settlements ought to benefit from surveyors’ input in the aspects of planning and good governance.

In the period of 2011–2014 the focus of Commission 8 will be:

  • On all parties involved in environmentally sustainable planning and implementation;
  • To develop guidelines, methods, governances and good practice at the global level;
  • To reflect holistic skills in planning and development of the built environment, including informal settlements wherever they are to be found;
  • To emphasise that we, as surveyors and built environment experts have a leadership role in the collective responsibility for well-functioning mega cities; including integrated disaster risk management as a discipline
  • The Commission recognises the three pillars of ESD, i.e. balancing the competing development demands associated with economic, social and environmental aspirations.

Further, the integrating activities of FIG allow for adoption of a holistic approach to problem solving in the built environment be it rural, peri-urban or urban; – Focussing on surveyors’ role in the implementation of plans and the interaction between planning and real estate economics. Analyze success stories like Sao Paulo’s, Buenos Aires’s, New York City’s tackling of informal settlements and Norway’s prevention of the same.


Work Plan

Key Documents




Working Groups

Working Group 8.1 - Planning Strategy for Urban Development and Regeneration

Policy Issues

  • Planning urban development and renewal and their economic and social impacts
  • The role of partnerships and urbanization process is a role for surveyors in moving towards sustainability in urban development/community living for people and places.


Frank Friesecke,
e-mail: frank.friesecke[at]

Working Group 8.2 - Informal Settlements Issues in Spatial Development Planning and Governance

Policy Issues

  • Commission 8 contributions to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals, all of which have been set to be substantially realized by 2015. Evaluate progress thus far and suggest ways to improve the policies, laws, systems and procedures for their execution
  • to investigate initiatives that deliver land for housing and associated financial mechanisms that enable peoples’ settlements upgrading through participatory approaches to planning and development.

Provisional Terms of Reference

  • Build negotiation mechanisms with Traditional Leaders to enable the expansion of urban areas onto customary owned land by identifying ways in which Customary ownership could be realistically converted to release land for formalised housing, (in collaboration with Commission 7).
  • Explore rapid, new approaches to forward planning and upgrading initiatives that provide places for the poor by partnering with sister organisations of like minds.
  • Deliver environmental sustainable house plots by working with partnership forums to find ways to upgrade infrastructure achieving this by addressing both physical and financial mechanisms.


Eugene Silayo
E-mail silayo[at]

Working Group 8.3 - Re-engineering Mega Cities

Policy Issues

  • To provide opportunities for surveyors to play a key role in solving problems and implementing infrastructure in environmentally sustainable projects/developments in mega cities (large sprawling habitats with two distinct types being economically wealthy and dramatically poor).


Enrico Rispoli,
Email: e.rispoli[at]

Working Group 8.4 - Land Policies; Land Use Planning Control and Implementation

Policy Issues
  • To increase Surveyors‘ contribution to formulation and implementation of land policies in the world in general and in Africa in particular; land use planning and better integrate surveyors expertise in implementation of these policies, plans, implementation processes and agreements and real estate management
  • To increase surveyors’ and planners’ awareness on sustainable planning and implementation of plans based on modern knowledge, technical solutions, rules and legislation, traditions, equity and development and implementation processes in different countries.


Mr. Ibrahim Mwathane,
Email: mwathane[at]