- The One Foot Model…and a Giant Budhha – Exploring the potential of the democratic decentralisation of the urban planning process in Kolkata, India.    click here to open paper content47 kb
by    Chakrabarty, Antarin | chakraba@stud.ntnu.no   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Urban planning in India has always been top-down and bureacratic. The paper analyses the potential of the democratic decentralisation experiment in Kolkata to turn that prosaic process into a participatory and deliberative one.
The formal urban planning and development process in India has always been extremely centralised and bureaucratic. In most large cities of India, either the technocratic line departments or the special-purpose-vehicles, which lie outside local democratic control, have been controlling and steering the planning and development process. Such a structure of planning and development has been completely incapable of encouraging the active engagement and participation of the citizens in the planned development process. The decision to devolve planning and development responsibilities and powers to locally elected municipal councils and corporations came late in India in 1992. But it came with enormous promise. Development at the local level could finally get the environment of democracy at the local level.

But can it succed in overturning this traditionally top-down and prosaic development process into an activity of lively and spiralling citizen engagement and pro-people development ? Can the democratisation strategy create a completely alternative platform for enthusaistic participation and deliberation in planning ? Through an analysis of the decentralisation experiment in Kolkata, the paper tries to answer these questions and explores the potentials and the challenges the strategy has in creating an inclusive planning process in Indian cities.
Democratic decentralisation of the Urban Planning Process
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