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< prev - next > Social and economic development Social Development participatory_urban_planning_KnO 100615 (Printable PDF)
This brief looks at some of the issues of participatory planning in general and what
differences might be found between urban participatory planning and rural participatory
The urban poor in an increasingly urbanised world
In 2011 world population reached 7 billion people and is projected to surpass 9 billion by 2050
(UNDP 2009a.). With an urban population of 3.3 billion in 2008, the proportion of people living
in cities reached the 50% mark, and by 2030 the urban population is expected to expand to 5
billion. The towns and cities of the developing world are expected to contain up to 80 per cent of
the 5 billion urban population. In particular it is predicted that Africa and Asia will see their
urban populations double by 2030 (UNFPA 2007). Almost all of the world’s population growth
over the next 30 years is likely to be concentrated in urban areas (UNFPA 2008).
Urban environments present many opportunities on both an individual, and an institutional level
(Sattherthwaite 2007) in terms of improving livelihoods, as well as in the sustainable
distribution of and access to resources (Jenks et al 2000). However, the management of the
pattern of urbanization and the development of cities can have profound effects on how
equitably and sustainably these opportunities and resources may be shared, and how their
positive and negative effects impact on the population (Sattherthwaite 2007, Graham and
Marvin 2001, Castells 2009).
The urban poor remain a largely underrepresented and misunderstood section of the poor
community (Patel and Mitlin 2002, d’Cruz and Sattherthwaite 2005, Jones and Corbridge
2010), however their continued growth and potential to self-organise (d’Cruz and Sattherthwaite
2005) gives rise to the possibility that, if they were recognized in urban governance processes
they could lobby for more equitably distributed rights and access to the resources that urban
environments hold.
What does Participation
mean? Reengaging with
unjust systems of
Participation has been a popular
buzzword in development theory
and practice since the 1980s,
and continues to be so to this
day. The concept of
participation has its roots in
radical grass-roots movements,
with the original aim being the
transformation of marginalising
political and social structures
(Leal P.A. 2010). Since its
original introduction, the term
has grown in popularity in
Figure 1: Community Action Planning Event hosted by
Practical Action with Nyalenda, A Neighbourhood
Planning Association, Kisumu, Kenya.
Photo credit: Caroline Cage.
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK
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