- New Methodologies in Visioning & Dimensioning today’s urban Development Projects    click here to open paper content51 kb
by    Baral, Hari | haribaral@aol.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
To pursue a socially sustainable urban development project, we should have to work on a co-partner basis with all the urban actors right from the conceptual stage of the project. Thus it will be possible to avoid many fatal mistakes that we have committed in the past by imposing the ideas of a few on the majority of the population who and whose off-springs are going to receive their impacts.

Today’s urban development strategy is radically different from that of the of last century’s conception. The planning concept that were basically limited to land use and infrastructure plans conceived by the engineers, architects or planners according to their own ideas and visions have become outdated. Working on a multi-disciplinary platform of stakeholders, citizens and other urban actors were not a common practice. There existed no consideration for public consultation, resources consideration, impact analysis (social or environmental), cultural diversities and especially integration of all actors living within a community. Urban policies were essentially oriented to the satisfaction of demand and not on the consideration of resources, community capacity or environmental impact. As a result, most of those urban development projects were the stories of failure rather than success. During the last decade, the all out globalization movement associated with fast progress in ICT sector, has profoundly changed the distribution pattern of economic activities and population and consequently the structure of the contemporary urban society. In view of these changes, the elaboration of strategic urban projects, has taken a new approach. Today, it is essentially based upon the trilogy of (1) Demand, (2) Resources and (3) appropriate Execution strategy.

Therefore, the strategic urban development projects must satisfy the following criteria, namely (i) the development demand must be justified and appropriate in terms of the strategic needs of the community, (ii) the product aimed for must be compatible or balanced with available resources and the carrying capacity of the concerned beneficiaries, (iii) it will produce wastes within the management capacity of the community and especially with no risk (compatibility) to the local environmental ecology and (iv) the product must be maintainable within the institutional capacity of the community (governance).

Today, strategic urban development projects demand not only a close working relationship with the public and the beneficiaries and awareness to the outputs right from the conceptual stage of the project but also a wider visioning and understanding of the systemic relations of the urban parameters and a multi-spectral approach both at the conceptual as well as at the execution level of the project with a constant monitoring of the project impact on the critical urban and environmental parameters.

The executing authorities and agencies responsible for development projects are becoming more and more legally accountable for the consequences of the projects to life, society and environment and at the same time the citizens and their future generation will bear the fruits or the disaster of the project outputs. Therefore, participation, cooperation, coordination, resources and tasks sharing are some of the key actions for better visioning and dimensioning the outputs of strategic urban development projects.

Today, strategic planning methodology involves a multidisciplinary and a holistic approach to a multitude of urban, environmental, social and economic parameters; all are linked up by a systemic chain, which represents the total system of the space, whether urban, rural or natural. Any intervention to any link of this chain needs to ascertain its reaction with the total system to avoid any risk situation. Human activities are most important within this total system as they influence highly the sustainability of this chain. It is therefore most important to work with this element (human) prior to propose any strategic development or changes within this spatial system to maintain the total system in a sustainable condition.
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