The Spatial Dimension of Development Planning

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Bashir, Fathi
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Scholars often express concern about the problems of development in Sudan and relate them largely to the inadequacy of planning. Planning in Sudan is characterized by a disintegrated nature which ignores the interaction between economic, social and spatial components of the development process. This reflects a narrow centralist policy approach and the lack of broad vision of comprehensive development. The research investigates development policy at national, regional and the local levels. The analysis shows the failure of centralist policy to achieve a widely distributed development. This results from the inability to realize the obvious fact that most of Sudan's conflicts came as a result of ignoring the interaction of development and spatial forces, and to appreciate the problems of the persisting concentration on economic growth and development of few primate cities. It is clear that the failure in achieving balanced development makes it inevitable to replace the centralist policy approach with the broader vision of comprehensive development, which cannot be implemented by fractional approaches from disintegrated planning activities. This calls for a new planning approach and makes the proposed concept of integrated planning more crucial, particularly in this critical period of selfdetermination in the history of Sudan, than in any time before. Integrated planning approach as presented in this research, is based on full understanding of the interrelationship between development process and the spatial form. For the achievement of integrated planning the research presents 'the spatially integrated development model', which is based on both theoretical and empirical knowledge. The formulation of the model involves the application of Christaller's central place theory, in addition to empirical data drawn from a case study conducted in Al Gezira State, the republic of Sudan. The model presents a revised spatial organization of functionally integrated settlement system, which is consistent with the task of stimulating development process. In the final conclusions the research recommendations incorporate making provisions for planning reform which enables the transformation of the concepts and mechanism of planning in Sudan. The reform is guided by the cause of comprehensive development, while the reformed planning takes the shape which is suited for producing the spatially integrated development