• Urban Environment: Engaging Through Travel

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page… Earnest Hemingway.

Today’s world is more like an amorphous form, a fabric; Interconnected by a fast medium called internet. Phenomena that gained traction since with the fall of the Berlin wall, unveiling the new era of Information Age. It’s an era that has brought fortunes to those who seek information, knowledge and take action. This brought with it change in the way people live, socialize, trade and engage other activities.

Urban environment is too more of a fabric. Much like ‘living organism’ that adapts everyday and very fast. It is important that urban designers be engaged in global aspects of the profession as the world dictates. This calls for seeking firsthand experiences in global trendsthrough travel. A professional trained excellently is needed to be conversant with dynamics of different cities, excellent urban environments across the globe. A brief mention is Bogota in Colombia, Curitiba in Brazil; a recently concluded world cup hosting city, Seoul, Munich, Kigali among others identified. Each of them has an outstanding character that glorifies its identity.

Travel introduces a different level of engagement for the designers involved. It’s learning by the ‘power of presence’ meaning some things can only be learnt by experiencing them. It involves engagement with the; administrations, city planners, the social experts as well as with other professionals and importantly the local people. As a travel enthusiast and consultant, it is this realization and passion that calls for engagement in the professional through organized and customized tours to different cities across the globe.

As for urban designers, mostly widely travelled will reveal that for our urban environment to be sustainable; a massive overhaul or constructive rebuilding should be undertaken. Mentioning Nairobi as the gateway to East Africa and a key one on the continent, its capacity is massively overwhelmed. Its sustainability is way below threshold to fulfillment of the countries Vision 2030. A modern urban environment is a system of systems incorporating mass transportation, mass housing, effective and efficient waste management, socialization platforms and agriculture. These key fibres of this fabric called urban environment have changed, and are changing face both underground and over ground.

It’s this engagement through travel that advocates for all urban stakeholders to actively engage with authority and all other stakeholders to position our urban centers on the global map of efficiencies. With urbanization inevitable, for our urban environments to absorb the pressure from population growth, a reorganization of the systems and even regulations is much needed.

A 21st century city without a mass transport system and a platform to habit its people is on a dangerous trend and risks being chocked by the rapid urbanization. It can only be through active engagement of our urban designers to seek firsthand experience globally by taking that travel opportunity, consulting and taking action, that will help the situation. The proposed cities and their realization will be a big achievement for our urban designers among other consultants.

As it is, we are in the information age: travel more; engage more; see and experience more and as such only more will you have to give to the environment….

Humphrey Mumita is a graduate Architect, travel enthusiast and consultant at Africair Travelmumitahn@gmail.com

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