- '' Participatory Planning in East Port of Spain, Trinidad : Leveraging international support for local change''   click here to open paper content125 kb
by    Mohammed, Asad | amohammd@eng.uwi.tt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This study reviews failures and successes in devolving planning and urban management in East Port of Spain, Trinidad and building coalitions between national, municipal and community stakeholders. In overcoming opposition from the local professional planning establishment, international partners are sought to provide financing, technical support but primarily international credibility to the process of change.
Despite public rhetoric on supporting the devolution of planning to municipal government and facilitating the participation of low income communities in Trinidad, the process has remained largely bureaucratic, technical and top-down. Agents of change have been countered by a resilient bureaucracy.
This case study examines attempts to devolve planning in East Port of Spain and build coalitions between national, municipal and community levels by evoking the credibility of international agencies.

The paper first examines the existing process of planning and municipal management and demonstrates the limited requirements of either consultation or participation in the system. It then reviews the process of planning for the City of Port of Spain especially East Port of Spain, a low income, depressed part of the city. The needs of the area and the concerns of its citizens are shown to be largely ignored by statutory Urban and Regional Planning.

Covering a process started in 1999 the paper then reviews attempts at reform focusing on the legal and administrative framework, the human and financial resource issues and the role of various key stakeholders. An alliance between municipal government and the affected communities supported by two external agencies is shown to be a positive agent of reform and devolution compared to the top-down process of change by the bureaucracy and the planning profession.

This case provides interesting insights on how planning reform is often initiated by the conditionalities of international financial organizations. It also demonstrates how actors of change within a developing country environment can build coalitions of support across international barriers, facilitated by growing global networks of information and interest groups. Finally it demonstrated how municipal government can be a more meaningful agent of community involvement in planning than the professional planning community.

The author has been involved in the process as the Chairman of a National Commission responsible for reforming and devolving planning. He has also been involved as a technical supporter along with students for the Graduate Programme in Planning and Development at the University of the West Indies.
participatory planning, East Port of Spain
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper