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Q: What can planning professionals learn from the pandemic to change the way they work?

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A: I think that we are still too prescriptive in planning. We are still focusing on the same thing and we really need to let go. So many things have changed but we are fixated on particular aspects.

As you do more reading and fieldwork people will tell you that they want something that fixes problems. They are not looking at how you split hairs, how you look at a licence for this or special consent for that, and the definition of things.

This does not mean we do not have those but we need to be far more flexible and actually free our planners to have time to engage with some of the intimate issues we are speaking of. We have to look at how we engage with communities.



From when I was a young planner to now I still go to sites, engage with communities, do research and talk to people. This is important in terms of how we respond to this issue. A bigger issue is the home. How do we see a house and how do we not see the livelihoods? How are we still fixated on 20% of this and 50% of that?

We are past those kinds of challenges. And the way we see humanity is really different in different communities. So many notions of humanity have shifted yet we still have certain policies and tools based on what we think humanity is.

We need to start loosening ourselves from the very tools we have created that have locked us into thinking a certain way. – Soobs Moonsammy, town planner


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