- Participation Planning in Russia – in the Beginning    click here to open paper content179 kb
by    Antonov, Alexander | alexfusion@rambler.ru   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper ''Participation planning in Russia – in the beginning'' focuses on the experience of participation planning processes in Russia, both on its legal and informal aspects. The author concludes that current procedures of people's participation in urban development processes demand critical changes.
Participation planning is comparatively new for Russia. It was implemented by Current planning legislation in 2005. During the soviet period all urban and regional development plans were under the secret an available for public access.
According to the Urban planning Code participation processes (so called public hearings) are obligatory in case of development general plans and land use rules on city and rural municipal level and for local and site planning schemes. The procedure of public participation is not necessary in case of regional development schemes preparation on municipal (rayon) and regional (oblast, republic) scale.
The paper focuses on a few examples of public participation in different cities of Russia including Moscow. Public discussions observed vary from the city general plan to particular building reconstruction or site development.
The Paper defines following weakness of participation processes:
• Particular legal documents – not planning ideas or projects are the subject of discussion
• Participation starts in the end of planning process – people are not involved into creative processes or evaluation of alternatives of future development – they asked to adopt the result
• In most cases people are indifferent to planning proposals and city future in the whole
• People deny any new construction: no streets, no commercial objects, no housing.Of course not new industry! Only parks, green public spaces and preservation of historical buildings can gain active support and different level of acceptance
• It is very easy to organize “protest opinion” against anything and call for hundreds of negative voices
• Young people do not participate in discussions – the same for economically active population. 90% of active participants are young mothers, woman above 50 and pensioners.
The Paper concludes that current participation procedures calls for critical changes:
• Public discussion should start on the earlier stages of any project development and follow it’s lifecycle;
• Municipalities should be more open and honest with their citizens, not afraid of criticism:
• Special approaches to encourage creative – not conservative – participation are necessary;
• Wide planning “elementary education” for local communities should be provided
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