Collective Planning

It is estimated that by 2050 over 7 billion will live in urban areas.. Ninety percent of this staggering urban growth is expected to take place in the next twenty years in the developing countries. It is important to note that there is a deep disconnect between the urban environmental needs and urban life styles and urban culture. Currently, one every twelve people live in urban areas and they are hardly able to come together to manage their environment, water, sanitation and public health. Compared to urban dwellers, the rural communities have evolved the culture of collective planning and action for community safety, management of natural resources and social governance.

Collective action involves different cultural entities, groups and individual identifying common needs and inevitability of coming together to address these needs.  The major factor that contributes lack of willingness for collective planning among urban dwellers is their indifference to collective needs, collective options and collective responsibilities. They are again due to absence of belongingness, inadequate social communication and prioritization of short term conveniences over long term sustainability of life and life styles.

As the strength of urban communities continue to swell, it’s absolutely important to promote a very strong culture of collective planning and development for creating safe environment where people have adequate protection from health hazards, industrial pollution and unsafe infrastructure development.  Centralized administration of urban societies is becoming increasingly impractical in view of the sheer weight and demands of urban dwellers. At the same time, sharing of resource governance comes hardly proactively from urban communities. In the absence of any traditional institutions with historical bonding among urban communities, the participation and ownership of urban societies need to be promoted by mandating community collective communities in the form of clubs, societies and associations and transferring rights, responsibilities and resources for local governance.

Key Message: Individual safety lies in safe environment and safe environment is a product of community action or inaction. Environmental protection and conservation thus requires collective planning and collective efforts.

Disclaimer: This article is a reflection of author’s personal thoughts, and all rights reserved by SAFE CITIZEN.ORG

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