DECISION MAKERS & STAKEHOLDERS IN THE CITY
This is an area that needs serious thought. Why are the citizens the last ones who get to know about a decision that affects the city and their everyday lives?The backlash over the plans to revive Sector-17, the underpass between sectors 16&17 and the Tribune fly over are some of the recent examples in Chandigarh.
I do not intend to suggest that the consultation process is not happening in our city. We regularly come across SAMVAD sessions organized by the UT Administration, we are frequently asked to provide feedback to a certain notification, there are advisory councils and formal discussions that various departments regularly undertake….but how many people are able to understand and give feedback to a 68 page notification on a govt. website? How many get invited to the privileged meetings with the Transport Secretary or the SSP Traffic?
…and what comes out of these Samvad/ discussions is another story! More often than not, these face-to-face interactions run into chaos. More people-less time, ineffective or no moderator, unarticulated opinions- many a times contradicting others, describe the usual scene.As for feedbacks, we don’t normally hear back!Case in point- the feedback to the archaic Building Bye-laws of Chandigarh and the feedback to the Draft Notification for the relocation of vendors and the right to livelihood, to which we actually responded with a detailed report.
To me it appears we are stuck with some outdated means and methods even in the 21stcentury!The solutions to reach out to citizens need not be very complicated.How about putting up the ideas being considered for the city in the public places in form of an exhibition.The display can stay there for the city to look at and understand for a month or two, giving ample time to absorb and contribute meaningful suggestions and feedback. Week long public participation workshops can be organized by professionals to understand requirement and issues of a place and given due importance in the DESIGN BRIEF for the development of that area.
People need to be included meaningfully into the development of their own city and the methodology of communication needs to be upgraded.
Chandigarh, its time to ACT!Let’s ACT, Chandigarh!!
Author: Ar.Shilpa Das