Towards citywide participatory planning: emerging community-led practices in three African cities

Towards citywide participatory planning: emerging community-led practices in three African cities

In this working paper the authors seek to contribute to debates about the scaling up of citizen participation in towns and cities of the Global South through a focus on participatory planning. The contribution is three-fold. First, the authors discuss existing experiences of integrating participation into citywide planning and urban governance processes, highlighting that such efforts often do not adequately consider the views of low-income communities, and restrict participation to the level of the neighbourhood.

Second, drawing on these experiences, they outline what we mean, theoretically and practically, by scaling up participation and summarise the ways and extent to which the scaling up of participation has occurred as discussed in the literature, and the factors that emerge as significant to its progress. The authors consider government, academic and civil society-led efforts. Third, they identify factors perceived to be significant challenges and potential opportunities to scaling processes, focusing specifically on experiences in three African cities: Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Nairobi (Kenya). In the concluding section the authors summarise the implications for the next stage of an action research programme to advance our understanding of how to achieve citywide participatory planning.