- Participatory Approach/ Community Involvement in Planning    click here to open paper content121 kb
by    Kaur, Guneet | guneetk@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper investigates issues of community participation, how development outcomes are affected by differing levels of community consultation and highlights process, benefits, obstacles involved, by comparing examples of developing and developed countries.
Town/City planning is a profession which aims to utilize land and resources to best advantage for the use of people. Consultations with local communities are therefore an equally important aspect of development as is the co-ordination between the plan maker and the governing authority. Developed countries have realized this important fact and are working towards the same. However developing countries present examples of lack of adequate community consultation. Development plans are imposed on the people, quoting excuses like ‘we don’t have enough time’, ‘it costs too much’, ‘people won’t understand the complex issues involved’, etc. The important fact that the end user of the plan is the community and the success/ failure of planning proposal is dependent on the community is often ignored. Community consultation is used as a word of fantasy wherein the community has no role to play unless and until a comprehensive detailed plan is prepared by the development authority. Suggestions are generally invited at final stages leaving not much scope of incorporation in the scheme due exhaustion of allocated budgets and time constraints. The plan is publicly notified by incorporating some minor suggestions. This encourages dissatisfaction’ amongst the people and they lack a feeling of responsibility /ownership of the plan. The success or failure of plans is thus a big question mark.

On the contrary, developed countries have realized the importance of Community Consultation in plan/policy making process. And consider consultation and engagement as building blocks for good governance. Several initiatives have been taken by the state and local governments to encourage community participation. Attempts are being made by the authorities to involve the community from initial stages of the project inception. Community is often involved from visioning to development stage, fostering levels of satisfaction and sense of community ownership of the plan. This increases rate of success and also enables governments to govern better.

The paper discusses the process, obstacles and outcomes of participatory approach by taking a case example of Indian state of Delhi and Australian State of New South Wales
The paper highlights the issues relating to
1) Should the community be involved in formulating the vision of an area and what should be the level of involvement?
2) Benefits of community involvement like improved coordination, reduced complexity, better communication & participation, effective land use controls.
3) Policy and government intervention- how it can assist in making the consultation work ensuring desired outcomes
4) Obstacles inherent to a strategic planning process - conflicting values amongst participants, uncertainty about outcomes, land use management
5) Limits and Risks involved
6) Guidelines for successful community consultation

community,participatory approach, planning
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