Is Participatory Urban Planning Deepening Democracy: The Case of Haora City, West Bengal

  • Parama BannerjiEmail author
Part of the Contemporary South Asian Studies book series (CSAS)


Participation in decision making and planning is globally a prominent feature of contemporary urban governance and planning. However, there is an academic debate pertaining to the effectiveness of this approach. While some scholars point to the potentiality of this approach for reversing the problems of top-down processes of planning, such as non-transparency of the formal institutions, others consider it utopian. Participation in planning involves flexible and process-oriented methodologies which are designed to bring about community participation and give local people an appreciable control over the development programme. One such programme for urban areas in the state of West Bengal, which assured stakeholder participation in the planning stage, is the Kolkata Urban Services for the Poor (KUSP) programme, funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), UK. This project has attempted to ensure the stakeholders’ role from the grass-roots level in the preparation of the Draft Development Plan (DDP) for 40 Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) municipalities and non-KMA municipalities (Roy and Ganguly 2009). To understand participation in urban ct of participatory planning in urban areas. The city of Haora, which is demographically the second-largest city in West Bengal and experienced the preparation of the DDP between 2005 and 2006, was hence chosen as a case study to understand participatory planning in an urban setting as well as the nature, extent and factors affecting participation in planning. The evaluation of the case study was done through qualitative analyses of the data collected, content analyses of the plan documents, interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs). The study concludes that collective decisions may be produced in a democratic manner under participatory planning, although implementation depends on the monitoring mechanism of the planning process.


Draft development plan Participatory planning Urban governance Civil society Community participation 



It is a genuine pleasure to express my deep sense of gratitude to my supervisors, Dr. Keya Dasgupta, former faculty, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata and Dr. Sumona Bandopadhyay, Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, University of Calcutta. They were my mentors, philosophers and guides. Their advice and keen interest and, above all, their overwhelming attitude towards this study were responsible for accomplishing this task.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyVidyasagar CollegeKolkataIndia

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