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Studio on Participatory District Planning

15-19 March 2018

Xavier Center for Urban Management and Governance, Xavier University, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

Public participation in spatial planning is always needed, and often a challenge. Ganjam District in Odisha could benefit from a five-day student workshop focussing on participation methods within a multi-level approach. 20 Master Students of Urban Planning and Urban Management from three different Universities (Xavier University Bhubaneshwar, CEPT University Ahmedabad, CET College Bhubaneshwar) participated under the guidance of tutors from CEPT University, Xavier University and GIZ.

Local NGOs like the Urban Development Resource Centre (UDRC), Aaina (a voluntary organisation empowering women, children and persons with disabilities) as well as CBM International (a Christian development organisation committed to improving the quality of life of the disabled) contributed to the Studio by sharing their experiences of public participation. The students travelled to the district where they split into four working groups focussing on the municipality of Hinjilicut, the surrounding villages of Sompur and Sikiri as well as on the district as a whole by visiting the district collectorate in Chattrapur. The students interacted with the local people as well as village administrators, municipality officers and district level officers in order to prepare an assessment of the existing and desired land use. The results were presented in Bhubaneshwar and each working group prepared a spatial analysis of the respective area, complemented with statistical data in order to create proposal plans on the three levels (village, city, district). Throughout the Studio, small sessions by faculties and visits from officials of the state government enriched the learning experience. In order to achieve coherence in terms of form and content amongst the plans, a group was formed with one representative of each working group which defined a narrative for the proposed development of the district. New plans were prepared accordingly by the working groups and presented to the District Magistrate and other stakeholders at Ganjam District Headquarter, Chattrapur.

All in all, the Studio was a great success for all the actors involved: The state, district, municipal and village officials saw how their jurisdictions could be planned not only in budgetary terms but also spatially and how plans at different scales are interlinked. The students learned how to involve local stakeholders and citizens in the planning process, understand specific needs and include specific interests in the plan. Last but not least, the GIZ team learned about the aspirations and recommendations of the District Magistrate for Ganjam District development, to be incorporated as part of the demonstration plan under the LUPM project.

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