PRINCIPLES FOR PARTICIPATORY PLANNING

The principle underlying participatory planning has been explored over time and here, we will discuss them in brief. According to the Parish/Ward Planning Manual of Uganda the key principles that this approach to participatory bottom-up planning are based on include:
a) Inclusion of poor people and other vulnerable groups in the planning process and promote gender equity
b) Plans need to be realistic and the planning process must be for projects which can be implemented using available resources
c) Planning should not be a one-off exercise, but a continuous process
d) Plans should be people focused and empowering
e) Planning should start from vision and strength /opportunities not problems
f) Plans should be comprehensive covering all sectors (holistic) and integrated
g) Planning should promote mutual accountability between community and public officers
h) Plans should be flexible, simple and learning oriented
i) The scheduling of planning activities at the lower local council levels should put into consideration the recommended timeframe of the overall planning.
The key principles that this approach to participatory bottom-up planning are based on inclusion of poor people and other vulnerable groups in the planning process and promote gender equity in sharing of the benefits of planning and development. Plans need to be realistic for involving public and the planning process must be for projects which can be implemented using available resources and augmented by the local expertise. Planning is a continuous process and thus for a fruitful result participation starts. Participation of public will be greater if the plans are people focused and empowering in nature. Planning starts from vision and strength /opportunities of an area and them it tries to sort out the threats and weaknesses through the use of expertise and participation of the users. Plans that are comprehensive covering all sectors and integrated entails more public participation as people view this as an opportunity for their redemption. Planning which promote mutual accountability between community and public officers leads to increased participation of the stakeholders. Public participation is feasible where plans are flexible, simple and learning oriented. The scheduling of planning activities at the lower local levels should put into consideration the recommended timeframe of the overall master planning for the town. After understanding the principle underlying the public participation, it would be fruitful to see how planners and policy makers have used public participation in different forms like planning with people approach.

Shashikant Nishant Sharma

Urban Planner

{Courtesy: Sharma, S.N. (2012), Participatory Planning in Plan Preparation: A Case of Delhi, Graduate Thesis, Department of Physical Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi}

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