Institutional innovations in public participation in cities

Inclusive, well-structured, deliberative, effective public participation is critical in urban sustainability issues like mobility, street design, waste, greening etc in India. The stratified and complex socio-economic and political context in India, power imbalances, inadequate decentralised governance structures, and information for civic decision-making makes public engagement challenging.

In an article based on our action research in Pune, Prof Janette Hartz-Karp and I present a framework for good governance, of deliberative democracy initiatives (induced participation), inclusive civil society (organic & induced) participation, overseen by an independent third party. This can enable city governments to resolve complex urban sustainability challenges with more implementable decisions.

However, advancing deliberative democracy in urban India will require advocacy at multiple levels, ‘champions’ within political, administrative and civil society willing to pioneer deliberative democracy initiatives, professional capacity to conduct high quality deliberation, and to ensure such processes are influential. Good governance will rely on an ecosystem supporting such democratic renewal.

See more at Sustainable Earth 2019 2:6

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