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Picture of Public Participation in Planning in India

Public Participation in Planning in India

Editor(s): Ashok Kumar, Poonam Prakash

Book Description

Mirroring the complexities of cities and neighborhoods, this volume makes a conscious departure from consensus-oriented public participation to conflict-resolving public participation. In India, planning practice generally involves citizens at different stages of plan-making with a clear purpose of securing a consensus aimed at legitimizing the policy content of a development plan. This book contests and challenges this consensus-oriented view of citizen participation in planning, arguing against the assertion that cities can be represented by a single public interest, for which consensus is sought by planners and policy makers. As such, it replaces consensus-centered rational planning models with Foucauldian and Lacanian models of planning to show that planning is riddled with a variety of spatial conflicts, most of which are resolvable. The book does not downplay differences of class and social and cultural identities of various kinds built on arbitrarily assumed public interest created erroneously by further assuming that the professionally trained planner is unbiased. It moves from theory to practice through case studies, which widens and deepens opportunities for public participation as new arenas beyond the processes of preparation of development plans are highlighted.

The book also argues that spaces of public participation in planning are shrinking. For example, city development plans promoted under the erstwhile JNNUM programme and several other neoliberal policy regime initiatives have reduced the quality, as well as the extent of participatory practices in planning. The end result of this is that legally mandated participatory spaces are being used by powerful interests to pursue the neoliberal agenda.

The volume is divided into three main parts. The first part deals with the theory and history of public participation and governance in planning in India, and the second presents real-life case studies related to planning at a regional level in order to describe and empirically explore some of the theoretical arguments made in the first. The third section provides analyses of selected case studies at a local level. An introduction and conclusions, along with insights for the future, provide a coherent envelope to the book.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9707-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9707-8
Date of Publication: 01/09/2016
Pages / Size: 368 / A5
Price: £57.99


Ashok Kumar has been working in the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India, as a Professor since 1993. His research interests include spatial justice, inclusive planning, and planning epistemologies. He has published 90 papers and 18 book chapters, and authored and edited eight books, including Urban and Regional Planning Education: Learning for India (2016).

Trained as an architect and a planner, Poonam Prakash is working as an Associate Professor at the Department of Physical Planning of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India, where she is also Coordinator of HUDCO Chair Activities. She received her PhD from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Her research interests are planning decisions, ethics, participatory planning and housing, with a particularly focus on low income housing.