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< prev - next > Social and economic development Social Development participatory_urban_planning_KnO 100615 (Printable PDF)
Urban participatory planning
Practical Action
the heterogeneity of populations may mean that forming alliances can be complex, where they
are built the voice of people living in poor environments can potentially be much more powerful
and influential.
Institutional complexity: Sahley and Pratt (2003:32) identify some of the variety of institutions
that exist in urban environments: Community Based Organisations, workers’ cooperatives, trade
unions, Non-Governmental Organisations, the local state, the local government, public
institutions or quangos, political parties, and a host of other interest groups. Not to mention
private investors, local service providers and other international agencies etc. that may also be
very influential in urban environments. Thus there are a wide variety of institutions, public,
private and civil society, all with their own levels of influence, approaches and objectives. This
has led to a much more complex and politicised institutional environment in urban areas, with a
range of actors with varying levels of control over planning decisions. The overlapping of old and
new systems of governance has led to increased complexity in the policies and regulations that
regulate urban planning, so there may be a number of overlapping policies and underlying and
explicit influences that affect urban planning decisions.
Economic, livelihood and tenure
diversity: In comparison to
communities that largely rely on
agriculture in rural environments,
the diversity of employment
opportunities within urban
environments means that there is
also a range of levels of income
within communities, leading to
increased heterogeneity of urban
poor populations (Sahley and Pratt
2003). To further complicate this
diversity, the majority of urban
growth in developing countries is
also characterised by informality,
illegality and unplanned
Figure 4: Artisans Women’s Group, Nyalenda A, Kisumu,
Photo credit: Caroline Cage
settlements” (UN Habitat
2008:30) and thus in the majority
of cities there is a “continuum of
tenure categoriesfrom pavement
dwellers to freehold owners
(Payne, G. 2001:1) with
associated levels of relative
security. Particularly where a
settlement is well located there is
likely to be a large proportion of
slum tenants, often paying very
high rents proportionate to their
income. For example in a 2008
study of tenure in Nairobi’s slums
it was found that 92% of the
households are rent-paying tenants
(Gulyani and Talukdar
2008:1921). So within any one
poor neighbourhood there may be
pavement dwellers, tenants,
Figure 5: Risper Ongwang selling mandazi at the road
side in Manyatta A ward, Kisumu, Kenya
Photo credit: Caroline Cage.
structure owners, and landlords,
all with very different livelihood
opportunities, and all with very
different levels of assets. Thus it
becomes even more important that
participatory approaches in urban areas take into account the range of influences over potential
livelihood and shelter opportunities for the different sections of the urban poor, and how this