Community Participation In Comprehensive Upgrading Programmes In Developing Countries
Free (open access)
499 - 510
S. Restrepo Rico
Urban life defines the character of communities and the life quality of urban dwellers. Urban expansion, unequal incomes and social conflicts create gaps of development, which lead cities towards intolerance and segregation, compromising the ability of low-income communities to participate in the improvement of their environment. Furthermore, the failure of governments to foresee the consequences of urban policy in weak economies denies the urban poor their rights as citizens. In consequence, the meaning of participation is distorted, development is achieved through top-down processes, negotiation and manipulation of communities.
Sustainable development in the global south relies on understanding the role of communities in urban expansion, along with the emergence, growth and consolidation of informal settlements. A framework for comprehensive upgrading programmes that supports community initiatives could become the basis for sustainable urban development. In this sense, it is essential to understand the main constituents of comprehensive upgrading and the requirements, in terms of spatial improvement, legitimacy, social development and governance. These programmes would not only become a holistic and effective strategy to react to existing problems in informal settlements, but also would prevent the proliferation, and improve the life quality of the urban poor. Comprehensive upgrading programmes address efficiently the needs of the poor and empower them to participate. Participative processes become catalysts for city-wide integral development, prevent the proliferation of informality and encourage social integration, which could diminish the gap throughout the different sectors of society.
community participation, comprehensive slum upgrading, informal settlements, sustainable urban development, governance