Participatory Processes: Making Bottom-up Development Work

February 2016 — The failure of many urban development initiatives has been attributed to a top-down approach. More recently, activists have called for impacted groups to be seen as stakeholders and decision-makers in the process to improve their conditions. Inputs from communities and affected groups will help to create more appropriate solutions that meet the needs on-the-ground and, importantly, be more sustainable. Cities around the world have been experimenting with participatory process – in slum redevelopment, city planning and ensuring women’s safety, for example. This month on, our community managers will share what's worked, and, in some cases, what hasn't, all to bringing to a better understanding of not just what the 21st century city should look like, but what's the best way to get there.

Governance accountability through citizen’s engagement

Lagos, 12 February 2016 — For a country that had undergone several coups and long years of military dictatorship, the idea of citizen engagement and governance accountability are quite novel. The Lagos state government in the light of fulfilling its campaign promises of promoting public accountability and inclusiveness has continued to engage citizens through periodic town hall meetings and stakeholder’s engagement. See more.

Administração Pública Deliberativa em Curitiba

Curitiba, 11 febrero 2016 — Neste artigo, conheça o modelo de gestão administrativa da Prefeitura de Curitiba, que há três anos tem aberto espaço e criado zonas de convivência para aumentar a participação popular na tomada de decisões de interesse público. Leia mais.

المنهج التشاركي لبرنامج الإتحاد من أجل المتوسط للتنمية العمرانية في منطقة إمبابة

Cairo, 10 February 2016 — تَبنى الاتحاد من أجل المتوسط مشروعا ضخما بالتعاون مع جهات حكومية مصرية لتطوير منطقة إمبابة حضريا باعتماد منهج تشاركي فعال يدعم تفاعل السكان وتعاون منظمات المجتمع المدني لتحسين المنطقة. اقرأ المزيد عن ذلك

Participatory aquifer mapping: Giving citizens the knowledge for action

Bangalore, 9 February 2016 — Forty percent of Bengaluru’s population is dependent on groundwater. The groundwater table and water quality is declining, but an appropriate groundwater management response is not yet in sight. The Participatory Aquifer Mapping project attempts to understand the aquifers at a micro-level, include citizens in the process, and develop "actionable knowledge" that encourages practices for sustainable groundwater management. See more.

Wadah aspirasi kelompok LGBTI mendorong penegakan HAM

Jakarta, 8 February 2016 — Kelompok marjinal perkotaan yang sering terabaikan dalam pembangunan salah satunya adalah kelompok LGBTI. Keberadaan mereka kerap dianggap sebelah mata oleh masyarakat dan Negara sehingga mereka rentan terhadap perilaku kekerasan dan diskriminasi. Lahirnya Forum LGBTIQ Nasional menjadi harapan mereka untuk menyampaikan aspirasi terutama kepada pemerintah. Baca lebih lanjut.

Muungano Support Trust (MuST): Pioneering community-led approaches

Nairobi, 5 February 2016 — The Muungano Support Trust (MuST) serves as the secretariat of Kenya’s branch of the Slum Dweller’s Federation known as Muugano wa Wanavijiji, and is working to mobilize participatory and community-led enumeration to improve the conditions in which its members live. MuST represents over 64,000 members from 300 informal settlements across 15 counties in Kenya. See more.

What does participatory urban design look like?

Johannesburg, 4 February 2016 — As Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure – the "Corridors of Freedom" – continues to be rolled out across Johannesburg, plans are underway for existing proximate social facilities to be supported by new developments to form neighbourhood "social clusters," which can potentially serve communities in ways that the BRT itself cannot. Critical, then, is the level of local engagement, inclusion, and ownership that these local developments build. See more.

Planning the revolution to stop violence against women

Dar es Salaam, 3 February 2016 — Participatory processes provide an opportunity for a more just and inclusive city. However, planning a movement in a city is no easy task. Using the example of planning the One Billion Rising movement, this article asks: "With increasing opportunities to connect in cities, what tools can be used to aid participation?" See more.

Community-driven initiatives to reduce gender-based violence

Mumbai, 2 February 2016 — Women experience urban areas differently from men, yet Indian planning methods have yet to integrate gendered perspectives. In Mumbai, initiatives like SNEHA's Little Sister Project and Safe City crowd source data on gender based violence to work on community interventions to reduce crimes against women. See more.

Pesquisa pioneira sobre vida nas ruas é feita por população de rua

São Paulo, 1 fevereiro 2016 — Primeira Pesquisa Social Participativa da População de Rua, feita pelos próprios sem-teto, chega ao fim após um ano com resultados que servirão de base para elaboração do Plano Municipal da População de Rua. Para saber como é a vida nas ruas e em equipamentos públicos de assistência social, foram feitas quase 170 entrevistas e mais de 500 conversas informais. O relatório final deve ser entregue este mês, mas o adianta algumas conclusões da pesquisa. Leia mais.


Join the discussion on Participatory Processes: Making Bottom-up Development Work in the comments below.

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Dear Gemma,
As usual great article with great approach. Thanks for letting us know about OBR. As you know in our continent violence is highly and continuously practiced against women. In Egypt and rest of Middle East, it is also characterized by "religious" and patriarchal trait and attitude. OBR is great approach to have a collective activism. I wonder if the government has any negative stance toward OBR in Dar elsalam? In our countries, there is a thin line between mess and activism, collective movements and political transformation. So how the government addressing the OBR participatory approach and how it sees it?

widya anggraini's picture

Hi Gemma, apparently your topic is similar to what is hot event now in Indonesia. We do the campaign in many different ways including dance every thursday in Jakarta, workshop, dialog, media engagement, garage sale and many other creative activities. These activities tried to engage more men in women movement. which is i think interesting because more people aware about the campaign the easier the message come to audiences. So far, indonesia has a strong feminist movement, but lack of participation from men.

hi Felipe,
i am also very interesting in your article. it's good and very important issue that we always forget when we do social research. It is important to make definition of homelessness or poverty according their point of view as later on the result and maybe the recommendation will actually reflect what they need. Quick question, how did the government react to this kind of activity? will they use or adopt the result as well?

Hi Hilary,

It was interesting to understand the participatory mapping approach specifically for and by the informal food vendors. From what I understand, the participatory mapping exercises do help in empowering the community as well as assert their rights. I get a good understanding of the process and outcome of this exercise. I was also wondering what has been the State's response to this? Your last point about inability to address the larger realities makes me wonder would a street vending policy would be of any help. The Indian Street Vending Act, 2014 doesn't really address this larger issue but only recognizes their presence and gives them legitimacy. And also, I do not quite get understand this statement- "Vending within informal settlements means that customers’ incomes are minimal". Do these vendors sell only within their boundaries/fences?


Hi Widya,

It's great to see more people come together to support LGBTI rights and the forum seems like a safe platform and conduit for tolerance. I was wondering how the plans, advocacy strategies, dialogues, and partnerships work on the local level? On the ground level and in cities, who are the agents who can incite change and raise awareness?


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