Nihal Perera is Professor of Urban Planning at Ball State University, as well as the founder and Director of the CapAsia immersive field-semester in Asia. In addition to the USA, he has taught in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The two-time Fulbright Scholar awardee: to China (2006–07) and Myanmar (2015-16) was also Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore (2010) and has received three Fulbright-Hays awards. Perera‘s research, as a leading scholar of social space, focuses on how ordinary people create and negotiate their own spaces. His publications include articles on feminizing the city, competing modernities in Chandigarh, competing visions for Dharavi and books entitled Decolonizing Ceylon (OUP 1999), Transforming Asian Cities (Routledge 2013; Co-eds with Tang), and People’s Spaces (Routledge 2016).
City and regional planning serves the public. Beyond the provision of public goods, an economically limited concept, planning also supports the functioning and the reproduction of the capitalist economy, intervenes into the market when economically weaker social groups fall off the market, guides planned growth, and responds to - unplanned‖ growth. This - modern planning practice‖ largely - not totally - assumes that societies are economies: Even when education and health care are at a high level as Sri Lanka and Kerala in the 1940s through the 1970s, hardly any development specialist claimed the country was developed. If the GNP goes up, even the people have become poorer, as in post-1970s Sri Lanka, the experts would take note of it. This development discourse is followed by professionals and academics across the world, particularly since the mid-twentieth century. Myanmar where I put this issue together had been closed to Western influence for about six decades and does not have a fully established planning system, but it still follows the same modern planning ethos.