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Participatory Planning in African Cities

Learn more about participatory planning in African cities.

In this video, Alexandre Apsan Frediani discusses three types of participatory planning:

  • The model promoted by Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) in several countries based on community mobilisation through savings groups and enumerations
  • pro-poor private-public partnerships, for example, the delegated management model for water delivery to informal settlements in Kisumu (Kenya)
  • rights-based approaches through the use of the legal system and constitutional rights to obtain favourable legislation for the urban poor or the protection of their rights, for example in Durban (South Africa).

While participatory planning is a fundamental component to achieve more just African cities, Dr Frediani explains some limitations that are important to consider:

  • The ‘local’ scope of participatory planning initiatives is often unable to address wider structural spatial inequalities (see the example of Nairobi’s spatial injustice in week 1)
  • These approaches are based on identifying consensus amongst communities, which often means that the aspirations and needs of the most marginal groups may not be taken into account (the issue of social diversity presented by Julian Walker in week 1)

Finally, Dr Frediani suggests four ways to ensure participatory planning contributes to wider processes of urban transformation.

Looking forward

One of the forms of participatory planning mentioned by Dr Frediani is the result of the social mobilisation model of the Federations of the Urban and Rural Poor supported by Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI). This process is very developed in Freetown.

A more extensive summary of SDI’s approach and practices can be found in SDI’s Practices for Change document.

In previous weeks, we have listened to the voices of the chair and various members of the Sierra Leone Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor. This week we listen again to members of the Federation as well as people working with them about participatory planning.

Next week, we will learn about what the Federation working with universities and other actors has achieved in terms of building more resilient communities able to deal with different types of urban risks.

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Development and Planning in African Cities: Exploring theories, policies and practices from Sierra Leone

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