PCR TOOL 7
Planning with the People
Working with affected communities to plan their rebuilding and co-ordinate the response effectively, according to the expressed needs of the communities, is one of the guiding principles of PCR outlined in Tool 1, People-centred reconstruction (PCR) : An Introduction. This tool looks at this element of people-centred reconstruction in more depth.
Participatory Planning outside disaster contexts
Ideas of participatory planning of urban areas date back to North America in the 1950s and 1960s. They were a response to a situation in which neighbourhoods were highly differentiated from each other in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic status. Each group needed, and was demanding, an opportunity to present its requirements to planners. Some level of public participation in planning became more common in Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s. The Planning for Real initiative, for example, was developed in the UK by Dr Tony Gibson and others in the 1970s, and disseminated through the Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation (see resource list). These practices, however, have taken far longer to be taken up by planners in developing countries. One notable exception was the Million Houses Programme in Sri Lanka (1984-1989). Here, facilitators were trained in micro-planning of new neighbourhoods with groups of 60-250 households. See Tool 5: Learning from the Housing Sector for more details, and also Goethert and Hamdi (1988). Participatory tools are commonly used by development practitioners worldwide today. Both communities and facilitators find they learn a lot through the process. Some of those useful in reconstruction situations are outlined
Levels of participation
There are different levels of participation by people in planning, representing different levels of engagement with the process (see Table below). Conventional urban planning often only involved participation up to level 2, ‘therapy’. Professional planners would draw up maps and models of proposed developments: a blueprint – so called because they were usually drawn up using blue ink. The plans were based on quantitative data, rather than talking with local people. If they were informed at all, it was after the plans were already approved. There was no scope for dialogue, and any complaints had to be pursued through the courts. Similarly, a lot of post-disaster reconstruction in the late 20th Century, has operated at levels 1-3 of the table below. Donor-driven approaches in which donors and governments work with large building contractors to rebuild settlements, and force people to relocate to them, operate at the level of ‘manipulation’. The problems with this approach were outlined in Tool 1, PCR: An Introduction.
Levels of Citizen Participation, Arnstein (1969)
photo © Practical Action / Lucy Stevens
1. Manipulation 2. Therapy 3. Informing 4. Consultation 5. Placation 6. Partnership 7. Delegated Power 8. Citizen Power True participation
With high levels of participation in planning, people can feel empowered and confident
in Tool 4: Assessment of Reconstruction Needs and Resources. Care needs to be taken with all participatory approaches that they are done well and in the right spirit. If development organisations do not commit enough time, use inexperienced staff as facilitators, or do not build the findings into their programmes, communities can become very disillusioned. Communities in developing countries, particularly in rural areas, already have long traditions of planning and carrying out work for the benefit of the community as a whole. This requires co-operation and agreement. It has been given a special word in some countries, for example damayan or bayanihan in the Philippines, Shramadana in Sri Lanka, or Gotong Rojong in Indonesia.
in Brazilian cities such as Curitiba); and citizen power where people take charge of their own resources, can be considered long-term objectives of development. Aiming for partnership among the reconstruction stakeholders including communities, NGOs, local authorities, the government’s reconstruction agency, architects, building materials suppliers etc. would make a real difference to the quality and sustainability of the reconstruction process.
What can be covered in CAP?
CAP can cover many of the key elements necessary for successful and sustainable postdisaster reconstruction. Its overall aim is to assist communities to plan their rebuilding, ensuring that the response from development agencies is in line with their expressed needs. Within this, it can: • Ensure the active participation of vulnerable groups, giving special attention to the disabled, and to those who were tenants or squatters. • Include a thorough assessment of risks, damage, needs and resources, as the basis on which plans can be built • Tackle the issue of relocation, ensuring affected communities have the final say about whether and where to relocate • Address the issue of future vulnerability to disasters through the reconstruction process, and through developing contingency and preparedness plans • Identify opportunities for rebuilding livelihoods and local markets • Prioritise environmental sustainability in recovery and reconstruction • Be the basis for participatory monitoring and evaluation, and allow for flexibility in the implementation of the plans
Community Action Planning
The best participatory tools for settlement development, and practices from experiences such as micro-planning and Planning for Real, have been brought together in the Community Action Planning (CAP) methodology. Much of this is available online on the communityplanning.net website and in the handbook (Wates, 2000) The application of CAP to post-disaster reconstruction dates largely from the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and even then it was not widely used. It has wide relevance at all stages of the reconstruction process, and can cover a broad range of issues including livelihoods, raising awareness of disaster risks, and disaster preparedness. The main differences in applying CAP in a disaster context (compared to ‘normal’ development contexts) are: • The existence of greater and more urgent needs. Instead of prioritising only 2-3 activities, as many as 10 might be given priority. • The difficulty of using participatory methods effectively, as the communities are often traumatised and need more time to re-establish their social relationships and networks. • The availability of more resources, so larger scale activities can be carried out • The presence of more development agencies in the area, which can make planning and coordination between all the stakeholders more complicated • That a higher priority may be given to disaster mitigation measures such as flood defences In terms of Arnstein’s levels of participation, CAP is usually around level 6: partnership. This is probably an appropriate level to aim for in terms of post-disaster reconstruction. The levels of delegated power (the best known example of which is participatory budgeting, used successfully
Principles for CAP
The basis of CAP is to achieve consensus about what needs to be done, and a sense of common purpose in implementing the plans. The planned actions need to be achievable with the resources available. Everyone needs to approach the process knowing they have something to contribute, and something to learn. If carried out in this spirit, it can be the basis for good collaboration and partnerships between communities, NGOs and local authorities. In applying the kinds of principles common to participatory approaches (see box page 3), it is important to recognise that inequalities can still distort the process. Those with most authority, power and resources can become dominant in driving the agenda and producing the outcomes most favourable for themselves. This can include
Principles to remember in CAP
About 50 principles relevant for CAP are given on the communityplanning.net website. They are simple and easy to understand. A few examples include: • Accept different agendas • Be visionary yet realistic • Go at the right pace • Involve all sections of the community • Process is as important as product • Respect local knowledge
Community representatives are trained before carrying out planning activities in Sri Lanka
donors and government agencies, NGOs and local authorities, as well as powerful local people. CAP processes include some safeguards to reduce the risks of this. However, the best safeguard is skilled facilitation which ensures that these groups or individuals are not able to exert undue influence.
How to apply CAP in reconstruction contexts
In post-disaster contexts, it is expected that CAP will follow a participatory assessment of needs and damage (see Tool 4: Assessment of Reconstruction Needs and Resources). It may lead to one or more community contracts for reconstruction. It can be used in the following contexts: • Reconstruction on the same site, with the same or similar plot sizes and boundaries as before the disaster • Reconstruction on the same site, but with significant changes in layout to improve and regularise plots and infrastructure • Reconstruction where people are being relocated to a new site A first step in the process is to define the boundaries of the community. A ‘community’ can consist of anything from ten to a few hundred households. Larger numbers can be included, but then the process becomes more difficult to manage. It helps if the people know each other and have some social ties. Where these are weak (perhaps in an urban context), it can still be used and can in fact help to build social cohesion for the future. A second step is the selection of community representatives to participate in the CAP. There should be at least 5 representatives. The upper limit can be flexible, but it can be difficult to run the workshop if there are more than about 30 community representatives. It is best if the community selects their own representatives, unless there are good reasons not to, for example
if it is known that a particular person will be disruptive. Care needs to be taken to achieve a balance of age and gender. It is important to select people who stand out as community leaders, but also those who are less dominant but may have important views. This could include, for example, those who showed an in-depth knowledge of what the settlement was like before the disaster during the needs assessment exercise. Where leaders are very dominant, it may be important to brief them about their responsibility as representatives before the main CAP workshop.
Organising the CAP workshop
Once these steps have been completed, the main CAP workshop can be organised. This involves: • Inviting participants. As well as the community representatives, other stakeholders should be invited. These will probably include staff from: NGOs, local authorities, the government’s reconstruction agency, and international donor and aid agencies active in the area. It is important that those who attend are not just junior staff without decision-making authority. There is a risk their managers will ignore or overrule them once the plans have been made. Professional town planners, engineers and architects from the public or private sector can also contribute usefully, especially in terms of designs, specification and quality. However, they need to be ready to listen: being ‘on tap’ rather than ‘on top’. • Pre-briefing of participants. If community representatives are not confident, they could observe another CAP workshop before taking part in their own. This could be through watching a DVD of a workshop if none is taking place close to their area. For professional staff not used to participatory methods, it is useful to
photo © Practical Action / Lucy Stevens
brief them in advance to explain their expected role in the workshop. • Time required. It is possible to complete a CAP workshop in one day, especially where communities are already quite well organised. This was the case in Sri Lanka, for example. If communities are less cohesive, two days may be required. • Venue. If the weather allows (without rain, high winds, high heat or scorching sun) the CAP can be held outdoors. Otherwise, a suitable building will be required which can comfortably hold 50-60 people. If schools and community halls have been too badly damaged, a tent or marquee might be needed. The comfort of the participants needs to be ensured for the whole day to allow them to participate freely. This means providing food, drink and washroom facilities, as well as places to sit. • Materials. Several flipcharts and a plentiful supply of pens, pencils, paper, scissors, tape or blue tack, and card of different colours will be needed. • Facilitator and Rapporteur. One facilitator and one rapporteur can run a workshop of up to about 25 people. Larger groups would need more facilitators. • Languages. Ensure that everyone can follow the CAP workshop and its important steps. If the community has different ethnic groups, ensure that translation is available and that minorities speaking other languages don’t feel excluded. The role of the facilitator is critical to the success of the workshop. They need to be impartial, and focused on guiding the process towards its goal of producing a plan of action. The facilitator’s role, therefore, is to introduce each part of the process, act as an information point about the process, keep an eye on the time and schedule, and ensure that discussions do not become too sidetracked. S/he will monitor the dynamism of the workshop and help re-energise participants. S/he also has a role in ensuring everyone is encouraged to participate, and to support those who are finding the process difficult or whose confidence fails them. It takes time and practice to become a skilled facilitator. Working as a rapporteur or assistant initially can help to develop the necessary skills. The role of the rapporteur is to ensure all the necessary materials are on hand and distributed when needed; to make notes about the discussion; to assist and encourage participants (especially community members) to take part; and collect and collate the written contributions, plans and drawings at the end of the workshop. They may also be responsible for compiling the report and draft plan.
Types of infrastructure that can be planned in a CAP workshop
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Housing Local roads Paths and tracks Harbours and jetties for small boats Boreholes and wells Water reticulation Sanitation Drains and culverts Slope stabilisation Electricity supply Fuel supply Schools Health centres Community buildings Space and services for small shops and stalls Wholesale and retail market buildings and warehouses • Disaster protection infrastructure e.g. sea walls and flood barriers • Tree planting • Improvements to agricultural land
Topics for which CAP is particularly useful
CAP workshops will usually help develop plans in the following areas: Layout of plots and infrastructure. This might be necessary if some land regularisation is going to take place, or if a new area of land is going to be developed. It can help to ensure that houses and other buildings can be better serviced by infrastructure such as roads, water reticulation and drainage. Some informal settlements can be particularly cluttered, and post-disaster reconstruction can provide an opportunity to rationalise. However, this should only be done if it is prioritised by residents themselves. There are often important cultural or livelihood reasons why settlements are organised in a particular way, and CAP can help to identify these. Professional engineers and planners need to learn to listen and respond to these reasons and not impose their idea of ‘order’. It can be a complex issue, and may add time to the workshop. Small or medium-scale infrastructure. Examples of the types of infrastructure that can be covered are given the box above. They generally cost well under $100,000 each, and cover users in a single or small number of neighbourhoods. They can be undertaken using community labour through
community contracts, or cash-for-work programmes. Larger-scale projects such as highways, airports and hospitals are too complex and affect too many people to be designed using this type of CAP.
Outline of a CAP workshop
Only a very brief outline of the process is presented here. For further information, please refer to the resources below, in particular the UN-Habitat People’s Process manual. The overall output of the 1-2 day workshop is a reconstruction and development plan for the neighbourhood containing drawings, models and decisions taken. The plan needs to be in a format that can be used by the Local Authorities and development agencies to draw up specifications and assign budgets. Workshop sessions can include: • Opening. Introductions of all participants and brief explanation about how the workshop will be conducted, and what it expects to achieve. • Social mapping showing the plan of the settlement before (from memory and old photographs if available) and after the disaster. The map can show who owned what, who lived where, and who did what where (livelihood activity). If the map was already done as part of an earlier needs assessment, then the information just needs to be clarified and confirmed. Satellite or aerial images, if available, can also help with this. • Problem identification. Small group discussions of the problems faced in building back from the disaster. The groups report back, and an overall list is made of problems, and for whom the problem is applicable. • Problem prioritisation. The whole group together discusses which problems should be prioritised and therefore included in the plan. • Identifying strategies to address the prioritised problems. Small groups suggest activities to address the problems. The objective is to brainstorm a large number of activities. • Options and trade-offs. To reduce the number activities, the whole group assesses each one in terms of how realistic it is given the time and resources available. • Planning for implementation. Each small group is given a set of activities, as agreed in the previous session. They discuss who does what, where and when. • Monitoring plan. The whole group together discuss how the implementation of the actions will be monitored, and by whom. • Settlement map. If desired, this is a good point in the process for participants to produce a final map of how the settlement will look after the agreed activities have been completed.
photo © Practical Action / Bangladesh
Social mapping exercise, Bangladesh
• Presentation to the wider community. The facilitator and community representatives explain to the wider community what they have done, what was agreed, how the list of agreed activities was decided, and what happens next. If the audience raise significant objections, or provide additional ideas, a shorter meeting of the workshop participants might be needed the following day to incorporate these ideas into the plan. As with all participatory processes, there is room for flexibility. In Planning for Real, participants build a scale model of the settlement using coloured cards. In the post-disaster situation this could show destroyed or damaged buildings and infrastructure. People then individually, or in small groups, place suggestion cards on the model of what they want to see improved at what place. People are encouraged to discuss these ideas as they work on the model and decide which ones to keep and which to discard. The agreed activities are divided into those which should be tackled now, with others tackled ‘soon’ or ‘later’. After the workshop, timely follow-up and communication is important. The community representatives need to act as a channel for information between communities and development agencies. They also need to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going if things seem to go quiet after the initial workshop. Messages posted on community noticeboards and short meetings can keep residents informed on progress. • Before construction work starts, other meetings can be held to explain to residents about the process for community contracting or cash-forwork. Community contracting works best where community groups are already well organised and have a diversity of skills. If this is not the case, cash-for-work is a better option. For more information on cash-for-work see Tool 6: Integrating Livelihoods.
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