Wednesday, April 3, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Participatory Planning and Management

Dear All, 

Participation and Integrated planning & Management
Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

So far we have seen targets related to Housing and Transport under SDG 11. The next target is all about having participatory, integrated and sustainable planning and management of human settlements. 

In the city planning and management, participatory approach is easier SAID than DONE. I feel there is a need to define 'inclusive participation' so as to ensure participation from all the strata of the society. However only a few people get the privilege to participate in any decision making, planning process and management. During our survey we found that there is something called as participatory budget, however very few people are aware of such an initiative. This is also due to lack of empathy among citizens towards their city's overall growth. However, its time we start getting aware of our surroundings and make ourselves sustainable.

Lets us see what the citizens have to say about their participation in the overall planning and management of the city.

Individual Level: 

  • Be aware of your rights and duties as a citizen of the city.
  • Use RTI as a tool for enabling the rights of a citizen.
  • Participate in the city's planning and management systems.
  • Check if we have any ward level meetings in our ward. 
  • Need for empathy towards our society. 

Community Level: 

  • Mohalla committee's are good examples of community participation, more and more people should involve themselves in this system for ensuring their area development. 
  • Lets understand the functioning of similar systems like area sabhas and advocate for the same. 
  • Lets keep track of upcoming policies and schemes and how they affect our area 
  • Lets raise voice in case of poor provision of basic service in your area and work cohesively with the local bodies in order to ensure services are in place.

Governance Level: 
  • Ensure use of scientific sampling techniques for collecting feedback proactively from a well chosen sample cross section of the city's society on various schemes and policies (rather than expecting people from all strata of society to respond to generic requests for comments). 
  • Involve local citizen groups, civil society organizations, Mohalla committee groups, Resident welfare associations, differently abled individuals etc. in governance-focused public discussions to make governance inclusive. 
  • Need to have an active feedback mechanism in order to track success and failure of any policy. 
  • Need to have a mechanism to reward or highlight community best practices that ensure success of any scheme or policy. 
  • Enforce wardwise community meetings ensuring involvement of all irrespective of caste, creed, gender or income level. 
  • Ensure transparency and accessibility of information to all in existing/current schemes/policies on urban development.

These are a few key inputs given by 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter a better Action Agenda. 
Email me at OR like, share and comment on our FB page  @

Pournima Agarkar.

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