Town or city & regional planning is concerned with different ways to organise space through the planning and management of land, land use, urban form, resource distribution and socio-economic interactions. A well-functioning city can make it much easier for the urban inhabitants to move around the city to various destinations, including places of residence, work, education and entertainment. Good planning in different parts of the city, including smaller precincts and neighbourhoods, allow local communities to gain access to schools, shops, libraries and parks. However, planning also entails the development of plans and policies for an entire metropolitan area such as Johannesburg or Cape Town or larger regions, such as Gauteng.

Everyone would like to live in a town or city where you can access a number of facilities and services and move around in a high-quality environment in various ways. Place-making or spatial organization is, however, not only important to increase people’s comfort, but also to ensure the establishment of just and equitable cities that offers opportunities for everyone. This is very important in South Africa, where the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality continues to contribute to segregated and fragmented cities. 

For everyone that is interested in contributing to the public good and assisting to create more livable and well-functioning cities in the country, planning offers the opportunity to make a difference in South Africa. Yet, some may think that they cannot make difference. The consider the following African proverb:

“If you think that you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”.

I therefore call on all those with the intention to make a difference to consider planning and joining our department at the University of Pretoria. The department has a long and proud history of educating well-rounded and versatile planners that can work in many places in both the public and private sectors. You can specialise in land use management, regional, environmental and transport planning or move towards urban design. You can focus on integrated development planning and spatial development frameworks at various scales or focus on land development. Whether you aspire to work for local authorities or national departments focusing on human settlements, land reform or agriculture, a planning education offers you many great opportunities. Therefore, consider joining our planning family at UP for a stimulating undergraduate or Masters Programme. We offer engaging modules, riveting discussions and stimulating practical studios to make your experience at UP something to remember and be proud of. These discussions are based on leading research and constant engagement with government and other industry stakeholders to bring every student a timeous and relevant education that offers the best of both international and local knowledge and experience.

At UP and in the department, we believe in preparing young and more advanced minds to be ready to improve cities and regions in South Africa and beyond. We do this from a spirit of unity, working together to ensure that those who complete their degrees can go far together. Let’s move forward together.


Prof Karina Landman


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