Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Integrated Approach towards Participatory Development of Urban Neighborhood Spaces: Chennai, India

Written By

Abdul Razak Mohamed

Submitted: May 29th, 2019 Reviewed: December 11th, 2019 Published: May 14th, 2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.90832

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The social living of the urban households depends on the physical manifestation of spaces arranged to carry out their day-to-day activities of members including children, adult, women, men, old age, and differently able persons. Urban neighborhoods undergo changes in the spaces in house and building, places in a locality, and the overall built form. The city spaces experience transformation in the house spaces and common places, and the built form experienced the residential character change towards commercial and other nonresidential uses in the neighborhood. The impact of the spatial transformation demands to make redevelopment strategies to resolve the conflict between residential and commercial spaces in the neighborhood. So, the need for an integrated approach towards “Participatory Redevelopment” (PRD) of the urban neighborhood becomes a challenge for the city planners. The new planning model on PRD as an integrated approach developed by the author is followed in the redevelopment project hosted by the Corporation of Chennai. The PRD approach used “C-TC-C” model to follow participation as “Collective-Target Centered-Collective”. The PRD adopts the approach called the five-pillar system (FPS). These aspects are the main focus of this chapter within the context of T. Nagar, a residential neighborhood transforming into a busy retail commercial market area and residential living and parking spaces situated in the midst of Chennai City, the capital of the Tamil Nadu State in India.


  • participatory planning
  • urban neighborhoods
  • redevelopment
  • integrated approach
  • five-pillar system
  • collective and target-centered collective participation

1. Introduction

Sociologists deal with the society in three ways such as (a) how is the world come about, (b) what way people differ from one social setting to another, and (c) which direction the society move towards the future. The concern is towards the past, present, and future of the society which are very much important in terms of human settlement planning. Before the invention of various methods and approach to socioeconomic and physical planning, it was people-centered planning. Due to the advancement of education, science, and technology, the policy makers and planners while making plans for the socioeconomic or environmental development often ignore, neglect, and exclude the people. The advent of globalization and urbanization brought about change in the governance system of the local government transforming from people-centered planning and development (PCPD) to government-centered planning and development (GCPD). The necessity of people’s participation in the public spheres of life is an important agenda of spatial planners, academicians, politicians, and policy makers around the world.

The greater transformation is noticed that the public participation is institutionalized by various means such as inclusion of stake holders by conducting meetings and discussion during the planning process. This is evident from the preparation of regional plans, master plans, and urban area-level redevelopment projects by the state and district development agency and urban local government. This chapter highlights two aspects such as (a) theoretical understanding as well as (b) practical experience of the author while doing collaborative work such as (i) the expert from planning school in association with a corporate planning agency and the city local government in preparing redevelopment plan for a transforming retail commercial area from a planned residential area of a metropolitan city.

The chapter draws lessons gained from the practical experience based on the case study from the southern state of India which is Thyagaraya Nagar (T. Nagar) in Chennai City, Tamil Nadu State. The chapter also attempts to bring out the importance of coordination between the corporate sector, local government, and academic institution in preparation for an urban area-level redevelopment planning.


2. Participatory planning: an overview

Urbanization trend in India results in diverse problems experienced by urban dwellers such as crowd, congestion, lack of urban infrastructure, proliferation of informal settlements, and unsafe and unsecure living. The innovative method to address these issues that have been gaining popularity is “people participation” in the planning and development of towns and cities. It is appropriate to state that people’s participation in urban planning can empower communities which can lead to better planning of urban development programs and projects. This could result in planned development including redevelopment of specific areas of urban centers which leads to sustainable urban development. Sustainable urban development policies should consider (a) balanced development of small, medium, and big urban centers and (b) the cooperation between public and private sector. Future policies on sustainable development should include the aspects such as (a) the balanced development of (i) small and medium towns and (ii) small and large urban centers, (b) the cooperation between public and private sector, and (c) the development of local and community-based strategies. In India, sustainable development has also been widely recognized during 2015 and established institutions at national, state, and local levels. However, there is a need for an extensive research on the methods and approaches followed in different countries and it is essential to know the international experiences. This will be of a valuable tool for clarifying various issues/aspects related to sustainable development and subsequently developing appropriate guidelines.

Historically, in India there is lack of opportunities for the common people towards participation in plan preparation, including elected representatives, private sector and urban local communities in general. Urban local governments at various levels are institutionally disintegrated and fragmented, lacking capacity as well as resources. Some countries in the Asia have made progress with regard to participatory urban planning. In India, for example, the central and state governments have adopted a variety of measures to increase people participation and government responsiveness and accountability at different levels. However, in practice, local government autonomy in India is restricted by limited resources [1].

It is appropriate to state that in the Netherlands there has been an increase in the use of regional design-led practices in national indicative planning. However, the link between design and decision-making is not well understood, but to involve the expertise and add the interest of designers in planning have had unclear outcomes. Since decentralization and deregulation became issues in Dutch planning, design is also expected to be made with the political and organizational settings [2]. The debate about the new integrated Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet) in the Netherlands. Initially, the government proposed abolishing local land use plans and replacing them with a system of bylaws.

Participatory urban planning process is a viable urban management tool that focuses on (a) mutual partnership and continuous interactions between planners, government officials, elected representatives, and the community for incorporation and convergence of knowledge, skills, and resources to prepare a plan and (b) which people can relate to and can show their interest, can have the feeling of ownership, and can have concern for investment since the decisions directly benefit them. So, once the plans get implemented which are more sustainable and the process can help the government and people to reduce operation and maintenance costs as well as the local stakes generate ownership on the planning and development.

The growth and expansion of cities in India experienced an imbalance in the development of infrastructure in the periphery/peri-urban areas of the cities. Suburbanization of an urban area could generate migration between the city and its suburb. People’s migration decisions can be associated with migrant age, stage of life, economic condition, employment situation, race, sex, education, distance to the destination, and other variables [3]. There is a strong difference between the peri-urban areas of developing countries characterized by pollution of land and waterways, poverty, and informal settlement and those of developed nations of Europe characterized by low levels of mobility, economic performance, landscape integrity, and environmental quality. Within both the developed and developing world, one must recognize the different nature of the territory and the variety of peri-urban areas it contains [4]. Peri-urban areas have enormous potential to play a positive role in enhancing urban sustainability at different levels. This is because cities in all countries have to face the challenges posed by urban sprawl. As per the United Nations, the population growth and urbanization are projected to add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050, with nearly 90% of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa [5].

Participatory planning is largely being acknowledged by planners, practitioners, and academicians as the suitable planning approach to overcome the gaps in the existing “top-down” method of planning. Participatory planning is a process wherein the local communities address the professional urban planners about their developmental needs and about the potential resources of the region, which can be used. Planners work together to produce plans of the settlement that address the identified priorities of the people at local level.


3. Participatory planning and planning profession in India

In India, the practice of Master Plan Approach was generated during the Third Five Year Plan (1961–1966), when the central government provided full financial assistance to the state governments to set up town planning departments. The creation of town planning departments is meant for preparation of Comprehensive Master Plans for the fast-growing cities and towns. This was supported by a legislative framework based on the Model Law formulated by Town and Country Planning Organization (TCPO). The need for master plan has been clearly defined in various town planning acts of the states and other relevant legislations. Basically, it is a statutory instrument for controlling, directing, and promoting the sound and rational development and/or redevelopment of urban areas with a view to achieving maximum economic, social, and aesthetic benefits.

Urban planning conventionally has been viewed as land use planning through Master Plan Approach or Development Plan Approach following the zoning regulations, the development control regulations, and bylaws which are the legal tools of intervention in urban development, creating exclusions of the people and their needs and aspirations. In India the local governments gain importance when the country enacted the 73rd and the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA), in 1992. This amendment targeted at a redistribution of powers to enable local bodies which are closer to local issues to respond more quickly and efficiently. However, the practices in participatory planning in Indian cities become disjointed and failed to implement decentralization processes. The people involvement and participative planning in India is collaborative between the government and citizen towards the development of their local areas. According to the World Bank, participatory planning is “a process that convenes a broad base of key stakeholders, on an interactive basis, in order to generate a diagnosis of the existing situation and develop strategies to solve jointly identified problems.” Urban planning needs an overview of the situation and public interest that must lead the decision-making. It has been demonstrated that the state alone can deliver this and that markets cannot. In the past, the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu state has been at the forefront of the innovative planning ideas. It is the time city planners get proactive and regain their cutting-edge thinking [6].

The regional planning approach followed in Indian cities carry rich historical legacy and geographical diversity. They offer an array of economic and cultural profile. The urbanization process in India has resulted in the development of urban conurbations or polycentric urban agglomeration and metropolitization. The Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines of 2014 acknowledge the symbiotic relationship of the rural and urban areas and emphasize on the regional planning approaches as a guide for future development. This approach will maintain a rural-urban continuum and facilitate regional hierarchy by integrating and strengthening the urban centers and surrounding rural areas.

People participation in urban governance has become a concern for many in recent times in developing countries. Many examples and methodologies towards people participation in development and governance have been evolved and upscaled in the last two decades. However, most of the efforts have been used in the rural development planning contexts, whereas very few in urban contexts in India. The existing legal framework of urban planning and governance in small and medium municipalities does not support people participation. The efforts from civil society organizations to promote people participation in urban planning are also very limited due to a variety of reasons [7].

Participation has always been a concern in development practice, particularly since the 1960s. In the early years, many practitioners worked with communities at a local level as individuals or in small groups. During the 1980s, the focus on participation was upscaled. This was reflected in the introduction of decentralized planning and the creation of participatory institutionalized structures through the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992, along with other larger economic reforms initiated in the early 1990s [8].

Spatial planning is an important aspect of any planned development. It is vital for provision of serviced land and lying down of infrastructure further to which “development” takes place. Spatial plans are prepared in the form of Master Plans, Development Plans, Area Development Plans, and Comprehensive Development Plans in India. It is appreciated by many of the planning practitioners that urban areas and the rural settlements should be considered in totality for planning at the district and regional level. Several states in India also have their Town and Country Planning departments for undertaking spatial planning; such exercises for rural settlements have altogether been absent.

Out of about 7933 urban settlements in India, only 3892 qualify to be classified as census towns by the Census of India. From 2001 to 2011, the urban population of India has increased major contribution which was by inclusion of large rural settlements as urban settlements in 2011. Such census towns in India attract migration from surrounding villages, serving as nodal centers or market places and also as centers of socioeconomic activities. The gram panchayat areas surrounding the settlements are used for agriculture, grazing, mining, resource collection, and a variety of other uses. Environmental concerns are also rapidly gaining importance on account of increasing pressure on land and other resources. Planned development is intricately linked with socioeconomic development including poverty alleviation. The need for spatial planning in gram panchayat areas can therefore hardly be over emphasized.

While the Ministry of Urban Development has released the Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation Guidelines, similar guidelines for spatial planning in gram panchayat areas are lacking. The present document is prepared to serve as the guidelines for planned spatial development in gram panchayat areas.

The recent thrust of the Government of India to upgrade urban infrastructure and basic services through a comprehensive program (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns), by developing City Development Plans (CDPs) through a community consultative process, is step forward in endorsing and recognizing participatory method of urban planning as a precursor to any sustainable city development strategy.


4. Participatory planning: a collaborative venture

The driving force of town planning in India today is towards people and technology centered rather than the conventional government and finance centered. The transformation from centralized to decentralized system of town planning in India is institutionalized and demands more on objective learning environment rather than the subjective learning environment in the town planning schools. The innovation in education system is a must to cope with the tremendous change in the aspirations of modern society, greater access to better information and communication technology, and high-powered infrastructure facilities and services in cities. The provision approach (the government sector project planning) vs production approach (the private sector project implementation) towards building city infrastructure and rebuilding neighborhoods becomes evident in the city planning approaches in India.

Conventionally government-based town planning practices avail support of academics in making development plans/master plans for towns and cities. Later the practice changed into consultative groups making plans with management agenda. The shift was evident from the academic-based planning practice to corporate sector both as national- and international-based making of plans for cities and towns. But the implementation part of the plans is with the government. The planning education play an important role in importing knowledge, training, research, and consultancy work in the field of town and country planning and development. In practice, the emergence of local and multinational corporate sectors venture into preparation of development plans/master plans is due to the slow growth of academic and learning environment in planning schools in India. Also the organizational climate in planning schools in India both in terms of administrative and academic activities changes the planning practice as corporate and academic collaborative activities. The joint ventures, that is, the academics joint with the corporate sector and practice planning profession as consultative mode is more prevalent in India. This is evident from the program implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission such as preparation of city development plans and detailed project reports for many cities in India.

Participatory planning in the wake of globalization and invention of information and communication technology that facilitates the people involvement in planning is easy as well as saves time and cost. The creation of opportunity by the planning agencies and local government towards public participation is essential and important. In this process the planning education should integrate the people collaborative efforts in educational exercises as well as take actions towards local area development. In this regard the following sections state the practical experience in doing collaborative urban and regional planning exercises.


5. Collaborative planning project: T. Nagar redevelopment plan—experiences

Understanding society is an important step towards formulating and undertaking measures to direct growth and change in the physical form and social harmony. Consultative process recognizes the importance of creating opportunities and facilitates the people to involve and participate in the planning and development of their local area.

The urban redevelopment is a process of controlled development of urban activities in an area which is experiencing growth and change in a haphazard manner in terms of land use, infrastructure availability, vehicle movement, and community activities. The redevelopment strategies set for the area could follow either retaining the structure and functional character of the area or creating a multifunctional character which is set forth by the market force, planning and design norms, and community interest. The existing structure and functions of buildings and streets with the movement of people and vehicles where the residential buildings and roads and streets attract to house trade and commercial activities result in congestion, crowd, environmental destruction, social tensions, etc. The redevelopment efforts should focus on the physical form and patterns of the area, the social, economic, and environmental concern of the community living in it. So the consultative process is important and considered to understand the social acceptance and responsibility of the local community in the redevelopment.

5.1 Innovation in planning profession

The corporate sector and academic sector involvement in making a redevelopment plan for T. Nagar, Chennai, is a very new attempt and first of its kind in India. In academic language as per Anna University, Chennai, the university-industry collaboration in demanding and doing social-oriented innovative development plan for the redevelopment of an area in a city is a new chapter in the history of the university-industry collaborative planning. Here to mention that, my experience with the corporate sector JLL in association with TOWNLAND Consultants from Hong Kong is very unique and encouraged to initiate the participatory planning in preparing a redevelopment plan for T. Nagar as Social Development Expert. The motivating factor from my side and the JLL team regional head and other members are my students of M. Plan Housing and urban planning during 1994–1996 Session (from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, where I was a faculty member in the Urban Planning Dept from 1990 to 2003). As per the invitation from the team on seeking to work as a team member in the project, it was a unique experience in involving many stages of the project to specifically devise a new method of conducting the consultative meetings at various stages. It is by evolving “Makers-Users Centered Approach” (MUCA) to the consultative process [9].

5.2 T. Nagar: a residential area to retail business place in Chennai City

Until the early 1900s, the villages to the west of Mount Road of Chennai City formed a part of Chengalpattu District. A residential suburb was conceived in the middle of this reclaimed land by the Justice Party government of the Raja of Panagal; a park was developed at the center of this new locality and was named, in honor of the then Chief Minister, as Panagal Park. Soon afterwards, the Pondy Bazaar began to make its existence. The broad roads in this new locality were treelined, as were other parts of the city, and were named after stalwarts in the ruling Justice Party then. Nalli’s showroom was the first prominent shop to establish in the area during the year 1935. From the 1950s onwards, Thyagaraya Nagar has steadily risen as the most preferred shopping centers in Chennai city. The place is an important center for shopping and entertainment and also a major hub for the intracity bus service.

T. Nagar is a foremost commercial hub in the city of Chennai. Chennai City is the capital of the Tamil Nadu State (Figure 1). T. Nagar is located in the southern precincts of the city and has been named after a distinguished leader, P. Thyagaraya, of the Tamil Nadu State. The adjoining regions of T. Nagar include Teynampet, West Mambalam, and Azeez Nagar. In fact, the place has been referred by many as East Mambalam.

Figure 1.

Location of Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

T. Nagar provides some of the best shopping centers, business establishments, accommodation, and other commercial enterprises. The location of T. Nagar is shown in Figure 2. Apart from being an important center for shopping and entertainment, T. Nagar is also a major hub for the intracity bus service. Historically, it was planned as residential neighborhood with roads and streets radiating from Panagal Park for the movement of the residents and developed into an exclusive shopping area which attracts visitors from various parts of the country for shopping. T. Nagar has shed its original character and has huge stand-alone shopping centers as well as a sizeable informal business sector. This has paved way for the present traffic and congestion problems. Despite better bus and rail facilities, people see a lack of integration especially when the pedestrians face problems to move around. The shopping during festivals, like Deepavali (during November), Navaratri (during October), Ramzan, Bakrid, and Pongal (during January), brings additional traffic and people movement to the area due to the heavy discounts and reductions offered by dealers. So far, all development projects have looked primarily at traffic improvement and were implemented on a piecemeal basis.

Figure 2.

Location of T. Nagar in Chennai.

T. Nagar area have three major parks like Natesan Park, Panagal Park, and Jeeva Park as major green and lung spaces in the locality. Due to the vibrant residential and commercial activity in T. Nagar, there is a presence of good number of banks, healthcare units, and renowned schools.

5.3 T. Nagar redevelopment strategies

The redevelopment plan follows strictly the concept of inclusive planning, on land and building acquisition. Inclusive strategy is used to the redevelopment of buildings, streets, foot paths, parks, market streets, bus stand, flyover, and public places including the inclusion of street venders and business activities. Placemaking, walkability, a sense of open realm, and raising tress are considered as very important elements of redevelopment plan. The methodology followed in the preparation of redevelopment plan showing the different stages of consultation meeting conducted is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3.

The consultation stages in the overall methodology of the project.

Placemaking has been for years at the forefront of redevelopment projects in (sub) urban city centers, particularly the USA. The core objective of this planning principle is to create memorable public places that have character and spaces that make people want to stay and visit again and again. The public realm in many city centers had over the years been taken up by traffic and commercial uses and been efficiently designed around the flow of cars. Placemaking is not just about pedestrians staking back a claim on the public realm but moreover about how to create spaces that entice people to interact, to meet others, to enjoy the outdoors, and to feel part of a community. Different aspects of implementing placemaking are, e.g.: walkability—is ensured through the re-establishment of pedestrian-friendly pavements and public spaces, walkable block distance, and building orientation and landscaping to enhance shading and ensure comfort for the pedestrian. A safe, open realm—a well-lit, open public space is essential to reduce crime and further encourage the growth of a strong community. Introduction of more trees and low shrubs—a well-designed landscaped environment is envisaged to add to the physical beauty of the area and to extend the tree cover, which will encourage residents and visitors to walking instead of using motorized transportation.

Places for interaction through strategically placed points of convergence—the original urban design ensures that pedestrian pathways and key development nodes are laid out in such a way that will create a number of points of convergence, like the Panagal Park. These open spaces are not being used to their full potential at the moment. By improving their design, accessibility, and visibility, T. Nagar shall have a wider range of type of spaces and activities to offer to its residents and visitors alike.

5.4 Consultative process of T. Nagar redevelopment plan

Various stakeholders that play a key role in planning area have been identified. This has been done in consultation with TNUIFSL. Mapping of regional stakeholders and exploring potential of a collaborative effort in planning and development have ensured local ownership and sustenance of plan proposals. Consultations with the stakeholders have been carried out regarding each aspect of the study. The consultative process followed is shown in Figure 4. The stakeholders include TNUIFSL, the Corporation of Chennai, the CMDA, the MTC and traffic police, trade owners and T. Nagar area, street hawkers and shoppers of different categories, T. Nagar residents, and other establishment owners. There were three levels of meeting organization which were:

  1. Collective consultation (CC)—open consultative meeting to understand the problems and seek the concerns and corrective measures for reducing or solving the problems in general.

  2. Target-centered consultation (TOC)—closed to specific groups to address the problems and discuss suitable and alternative solutions and seek consensus.

  3. Road show (RS)—open meeting with the shoppers was undertaken on one-to-one basis to understand the problems and best corrective measures.

Figure 4.

“Makers-Users Centered Approach” to participatory planning process.

The consultative process followed in the redevelopment of T. Nagar is a “Makers-Users Centered Approach.” “Makers” include the policy makers, planners, and professionals, and the “Users” include the inhabitants; traders, formal and informal; the residents; the customers; the support service providers including tourists; etc. The consultation considered all the stakeholders in the processes of planning for the redevelopment plan in two types using three stages.

The two types of consultation are as follows:

  1. Collective consultation

  2. Target-centered consultation

The three stages of consultation can be classified as:

  1. First stage is collective consultation.

  2. Second stage is target-centered consultation or focused consultation.

  3. Third stage again is collective consultation.

The first stage of the collective consultation has been carried out with all the stakeholders including the makers and users in one platform after the inception stage of the plan. The participants of the meeting (Figure 5) and the group discussion taken are shown in Figure 6.

Figure 5.

Participants in the first consultation workshop.

Figure 6.

The group discussion during first consultation workshop on the way forward.

During the second stage, a series of target-centered consultation has been done (Figure 7) especially with four groups separately such as:

  • The residents.

  • The formal traders.

  • The informal traders or hawkers.

  • The social organization and political groups.

  • The customers including the support service providers and tourists. A road show was conducted to ascertain their preferences and recommendations.

Figure 7.

The participants discuss on the proposal for redevelopment in the target-based consultation meeting.

The third stage, a collective consultation that included all the stakeholders, has been carried out to discuss on the redevelopment proposals of T. Nagar with planning guidelines, bankable projects, and strategies for management to facilitate the final report submission.

These consultative meetings have been conducted during the processes of making the redevelopment proposals and incorporated in the final report submission of the project.

The activities during the collective consultative meeting included:

  1. Introduction to project by client

  2. Presenting aim and objectives of the project by consultant

  3. Expression of views by stakeholders on their issues and problems

  4. Possible strategies for redevelopment plan by consultant

  5. Group discussion on possible solution for different sectors such as housing, transportation, social and recreation, environment, and trade

The activities during the target-centered consultative meeting such as residents, formal traders, and informal traders were conducted separately to focus on their concerned areas, issues, and proposals. The target-based consultative meeting activities include:

  1. Presentation on the project with alternative scenario for the redevelopment possibilities

  2. Expression on the issues and problems by the participants

  3. Question and answer section to discuss the possible planning solutions and management of services

  4. Exhibitions with interactive discussions on the alternative planning and design solutions.

  5. A structured questionnaire (both in English and Tamil—the local language) was distributed, and the participants were asked to fill up their responses towards their profile, satisfaction level on infrastructure, and preferences on alternative solutions

The customer as target-centered consultation has been done by setting up roadside exhibits on the “T Nagar: Before and After” (Figure 8).

  1. Road show with help of a stall—under the bridge near Pothys

  2. Exhibits on T. Nagar—bus stand area, Panagal Park area, Pothys area, etc. depicting existing scenario and how it can be transformed in the future

  3. A structured questionnaire (both in English and Tamil language) was distributed, and the visitors were asked to fill the same on satisfaction level, preferences towards better facilities and services, etc.

Figure 8.

The road show under the flyover near Pothys.

The public consultative meetings of different types and various levels reveal, in true sense, democratic participation of the stakeholders not only as informed but also knowing in advance about the redevelopment initiatives. So this makes it as a participatory redevelopment. The outcome of the consultative meetings and activities helped in drawing attention to evolve the project areas for future development which includes planning and design of infrastructure, environmental improvement, designated space for formal and informal trades activities, improvement of street space, organized parking areas, locating public conveniences, pedestrian areas, public transport arrangement/augmentation, sanitation improvement and management of activities, etc.


6. Conclusions and future directions

Planning profession and education needs a paradigm shift from the conventional planning as government-centered delivery of services and facilities to people. It is essential to shift towards people-centered participatory planning and development. Planning profession needs to be seen from the perspective of people engagement in different stages of planning process. Planning education needs to create a teaching and learning environment which involves students and local communities in the planning and local area development.

The rich tradition of scholarly reflection and debate on the purpose and content of planning education [10] demonstrates educators’ concern about providing appropriate skills and knowledge. The theoretical and ideological evolution of the planning agenda—partly driven by practice and partly shaped by academia and research—is clearly reflected in planning education [11]. Most academicians consider the inclusion of new relevant topics that address societal developments vital for ensuring professional relevance and student employability (e.g., [12, 13]). The need for planning integrated with social and economic conditions has been perceived significant enough to spur proposals for a revised “core curriculum” in the USA [14, 15] and a comprehensive review of planning education in the UK (Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) 2003). It is not only education but also entrepreneurship skills and attitudes that could contribute to the profile of the profession and whether it would be valuable to include such skills in the planning curriculum, i.e., whether entrepreneurship skills represent indeed a missing element in planner’s education? Projects involving planning-oriented entrepreneurialism and community involvement are likely to motivate students and provide the excitement many of them seek from a university education [16].

Student-community engagement activity in community planning is essential. This is a subset of university-community engagement and is a point of overlap between such engagement and planning education. Community engagement activity enables students to learn in situ practical skills within live projects, while community partners may benefit from technical know-how and human capital input. Explores the pedagogical design helps to explore the underpinning community engagement activities involving students, as well as the various capacities in which the different participants where students, instructors and community members participate. An alignment of student engagement activities in the planning curriculum with emerging transformative co-learning models of university-community engagement could offer novel opportunities for the discipline of planning and their impact on communities as well as the fields standing in multiversities [17]. In designing teaching activities within the university, the community engagement with a view to understanding the impacts on community participants is important. As impact is unavoidable, it is essential to find out what these impacts are and how they happen, so that in designing teaching activities, harmful consequences are avoided as far as possible (e.g., [18, 19]).

The multicultural communities living in a “global neighborhood” is a prime example of a major new category that includes a significant presence of non-Hispanic whites and blacks along with newer Hispanic and Asian minorities [20, 21]. The spatial structure of change has implications for the role of spatial proximity and diffusion in contemporary neighborhood racial change. In planning a simple mapping of types of neighborhoods based on their racial/ethnic composition, it could help towards assessing the measures of centralization and adjacency in this metropolitan region. Residential mobility changes over time and brings changes to social structures and cultures of a city [22]. The spatial landscape of an urban area plays an important role in creating inequality among its residents [23].

It is important to consider that planning school is a community and it should promote holistic development and help the learners discover themselves and others as human beings, both graced with life and talents, and be responsible for freely, conscientiously, and creatively nurturing them. The education program should be willing and ready to collaborate with the other members of the planning school community (admin, teaching staff, children, parents, and the local community). The teacher, who is willing to focus on the key areas of approach to the curriculum: imitation, activities in nature, role plan, and planning games. Teachers should havea number of teaching hours (to different groups) as well as some in-school preparation time so that the contact hours with the learners are always moments of rich and creative learning.

In India the urban planning approach has experienced that besides top-down approaches, bottom-up perspective in decision-making processes is occurring. Given this fact, it is no longer the question whether the public should be involved but rather with which methods a broader spectrum of citizens can cooperate in planning processes. So, the participatory methods should be evolved aligned with the new characteristics of the contemporary urban settings and utilize the potentials offered by mobile technologies to enhance the citizen participation processes in urban planning.

Urban redevelopment planning should focus on making areas in the cities and towns into better places. The plan should envision a more livable and equitable future for the places where people live, work, play, and connect. The plan should consider what people love about their communities so that the next generation can also enjoy these places. The planners should work to build communities that have minimal impact on the natural environment and provide affordable housing opportunities for all people.

Urban redevelopment planning requires multiple perspectives, including system dynamics and institutional economics approaches as well as traditional urban land use planning. This requires new participatory techniques, and simulation, computation, and games can provide increased opportunities for more diverse inputs and analysis. The planning processes should view the redevelopment area as a complex system with many interconnected parts and consider using computation as a means to enable participation and integration [24].

Community consultation should not be decorative; it should be democratic in its true sense. Community consultation is nowadays just used as a word of fantasy wherein the community has no role to play. This encourages dissatisfaction among the people especially the urban poor, and they lack a feeling of responsibility or ownership of the plan. To support the participatory process, the government must carry out extensive education reforms and empowerment programs in India’s school curriculum. Training should be followed up in three levels: state, district, and local. A lot of problems and solutions are tied close to local activities, and the participation of locals becomes significant for its success. Local authorities form the governance closest to the people and play a key role in the promotion of sustainable development. The focus of public participation has thus changed from the implementation of decisions to the nature of decision-making itself [25].

Therefore, it is essential to develop a conceptual framework that allows to explore the formulation of priorities regarding strategic urban redevelopment planning in the context of both the operation of city governance and changes in the external environment. The framework needs to encompass global-local interaction. This involves a number of different stages of participation in urban redevelopment planning. An important dimension will be the interaction between different stakeholders at various stages and the collaborative as well as combined effects in the process of redevelopment planning processes.

Better planning with people makes better neighborhoods, cities and regions, and overall healthy families and communities. Also, participatory planning supports active people and democratic governance. One of the most important factors is to include people throughout planning and from the very beginning, be open enough to allow public debate to shape the plan. This approach allows people to contribute their ideas at the various stages of planning through participatory activities. Participatory planning requires planners to change the way to do urban redevelopment planning; it gives everyone the opportunity to become an agent of change in their living environment. At the outset, it will create better quality of life and sustainable living in cities, towns, and neighborhood spaces.

In conclusion, the author wanted to stress upon the new methods of participatory planning taking the lesson from the practical experience. The participatory planning at the redevelopment planning follow a collaborative venture and (b) what is followed in the redevelopment of T. Nagar Experience as corporate sector-state and local government-education institution-stakeholders (C-TC-C) model (Figure 9). This kind of collaboration is interconnecting the five pillars as called as five-pillar system (FPS). The FPS works while the planning education expert as the middle pillar connects with other four pillars to function technically and democratically to make development plans at various levels. Participatory planning is sharing ideas, resources, time, and suitable and sustainable development. Planning process at the urban redevelopment area should make a right choice of collaborative efforts to make livable houses and urban neighborhoods spaces in cities.

Figure 9.

Five-pillar system (FPS) of participatory planning—urban redevelopment.



The author extends his sincere thanks and gratitude to Anna University, Chennai, for providing the golden opportunity to work as a consultant to JLL India in the collaborative urban redevelopment planning for T. Nagar Project. The author expresses thanks and gratitude to the JLL India for appointing him as the Social Development Expert and to conduct the consultative meetings democratically and complete the project with great success.


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Written By

Abdul Razak Mohamed

Submitted: May 29th, 2019 Reviewed: December 11th, 2019 Published: May 14th, 2020