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Participatory Planning Practice in Nepal

Updated on May 17, 2010

Study of Participatory Planning As a Planning By Public


This paper is about the study of participatory planning as a planning by public. This paper describes about what the participatory planning is, its objectives, its methodology, tools of participatory planning, steps of participatory planning and different participatory planning in Nepal.

The public participation in Decision Making, Implementation, Monitoring and evaluation, Benefit Sharing is the planning by a public. Goal will achieve only after the meaningful participation of public from the involvement in low level to in the involvement in decision making approaches. The main theme of the paper is Planning should be for the people, with the people, by the people. Participatory planning encourages planning to be socially adaptable, culturally acceptable and environmentally viable. It also imparts sense of ownership and control to people, Management and skill transfer to people, Monitoring and evaluation with the people, Follow up and maintenance by the people

This paper discusses the need for a public approach in order to solve the problem of planning and participation should be taken at different level.

This paper Concludes that any failure in implementation of a project results in disinterest among the community which in turn shuts down any possibility of further participatory planning process with the community.


The main objective of this paper is to analyze the features of participatory planning


Participatory planning is a planning process in which community participation is characterized in a very stronger and committed manner. There had been several planning theories or traditions developed for the urban development like heuristic rubric of SITAR, as Synoptic, Incremental, Transactive, Advocacy, and Radial planning thoughts. As urban planning is for the people of urban area it has roots which tries to affect social justice and equitable allocation and giving comparative advantage of urban living to the weaker sections of the urban population. Whichever the process followed either synoptic or incremental, it has been found for not being able to accommodate such weaker sections who were politically weak and unable to stand by themselves.

In a synoptic or rational planning, though partial community participation has been found at a preliminary stage but later it is found to be ignored. A participatory approach has also been found in transactive planning or planning with the people in which approach to planning focuses on experience and the value of the target group. As per this theory planning should be social learning exercise or process in which people decide with their past experience and plan face to face with in the time frame.

Participatory Planning is an urban planning paradigm which emphasizes involving the entire community in the strategic and management processes of urban planning or community-level planning processes, urban or rural.

It is often considered as part of community development process.

It is an expression of views and collaboration by the public in the processes that lead to the formulation of aim, policies and proposals in a plan preparation is a public participation.

Participatory Planning is

Ø Decentralized (from the periphery to the center)

Ø Horizontal and agreed upon (from the bottom to the top)

Ø Dialogue-based (promoting discussion of different knowledge)

Ø Integral, considers the whole picture

Ø Long term (focused on building a vision of the future)

Ø Is seen as a real necessity (what matters is the content)

Ø Priorities social investment

Ø Assigns responsibilities and social commitment

Ø Recognizes diversity and respects differences

Ø Inclusive

Ø Democratic BringsState and Civil Society closer together

Ø Recognizes social actors as active subjects in their own development

Ø Encourages a facilitating State

Ø Is based on a knowledge of the concrete and particular conditions of that location

Ø Builds relationships of confidence

Ø Promotes tolerance and living together peacefully

Ø Recovers manageability

Public participation Is a political principle or practice, and may also recognized as a right (right to public participation). The terms may be used interchangeably with the concept or practice of stakeholder engagement and/or popular participation. Generally public participation seeks and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision. The principle of public participation holds that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process. Public participation implies that the public's contribution will influence the decision. Public participation may be regarded as a way of empowerment and as vital part of democratic governance.

Public Participation In

  1. Decision Making
  2. Implementation
  3. Monitoring and evaluation
  4. Benefit Sharing

Planning should be for the people, with the people, by the people. It encourages planning to be socially adaptable, culturally acceptable and environmentally viable. Imparts sense of ownership and control to people, Management and skill transfer to people, Monitoring and evaluation with the people, Follow up and maintenance by the people

Objective of participatory planning

The objective of participatory planning is to create a platform for learning rather than plunging directly into problem solving. The process is expected to enhance

1. Identification of the felt needs of the people

2. Bringing forth consensus

3. The empowerment of local disadvantaged groups

4. Integration of local knowledge systems into project design

5. Two way learning process between the project and local people

6. Political commitment and support

7. Accountability in local governance


1. Topic Selection

2. Literature Review

3. Interpretation

4. Analysis

5. Conclusion

Tools for Participatory Planning

1. Rapid Rural Appraisal methods (RRA)

RRA can be defined as a qualitative survey methodology using a multidiscipline team to formulate problems for research and development. It involves external experts teaming up with local community in a process of knowledge sharing.

  1. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)

It evolved from rapid rural appraisal a set of informal techniques used by development practitioners in rural areas to collect and analyze data. PRA is a label given to a growing family of participatory approaches and methods that emphasize local knowledge and enable local people to make their own appraisal, analysis, and plans. This tool is efficient in terms of both time and money. PRA work intends to gather enough information to make the necessary recommendations and decisions.

  1. Community-based planning (CBP)

Steps in Participatory planning

  1. Conduct local level meetings to identify the needs of the people

o Mobilization of people

o Adopting small group approach

o Preparation of a model agenda for meeting

o Adopt a Semi structured questionnaire approach derived from the PRA techniques for discussions

  1. Assessment of the local resources and problems and accordingly formulate development reports

o Generate a comprehensive database for every locality for local level planning

o Identification of significant ecological variations in the area through RRA and PRA

o Preparation of development reports that includes the information about the local economic, social, geographical and human resources information

  1. Preparation of project proposals through specific task forces

o Preparation of a common project format that clearly defines the objectives, beneficiaries, activities, organizations involved, financial analysis, assessment and monitoring arrangements

  1. Formulation of local plans by elected bodies

o Choice of the projects and programme to be included in the annual plans

o Design the structure of plan document and the procedures for its adoption by the decision makers

o Adoption of resolution by the elected representatives of the local bodies that enunciates the inter sectoral and the intra sectoral priorities

  1. Formulation of plans at the higher levels

o Higher levels have to coordinate, integrate, and fill in gaps of the local plans

o Integration of local level plans with the block or district level plans

  1. Appraisal and approval of plans by an expert committee

Participatory Planning In Nepal

The main participatory planning practice in Nepal is

  1. Integrated Action Plan

A community driven, participatory planning process to facilitate development through the identification of realistic and affordable projects, integrated within a MSIP to support the goals of PEDP.

During 1987 and 1991 structures plans for 33 municipalities were prepared by Department of Housing and Urban Development with the support of UNDP/ MSUD (Management Support for Urban Development)

  1. Periodic Plan

It is an extensive form of integrated action plan where the participation has multiple levels from ward to city and from stake holders to political figures. It has a legal binding for its preparation and implementation for all the municipalities as per the provisions in local self governance act. 2055 BS.

  1. Land Pooling Projects

Land readjustment technique like land pooling is entirely based on user’s participation where users are fully responsible for contribution and distribution criteria of the undeveloped and developed plots.

  1. Guided land development

This is entirely dependent on user’s consensus to widen an existing narrow access road contributing certain area for the widening of existing road.

  1. Public Private Partnership Programs

Public private partnership program has been introduced in Nepal with the concept of participation of private sectors in the developmental activities.

Various Build Operate and transfer Policies in Hydropower development projects and those in urban environment management are few examples of PPP programs in Nepal

  1. Construction works carried out by users committee in Municipalities

The trend in municipalities to carry out construction work by users committee has yielded positive results. The Quality of work and the ownership of the project towards the target group have been increased in many folds.


The major risk in participatory planning is that any failure in the implementation of a project results in disinterest among the community which in turn shuts down any possibility of further participatory planning process with the community. Hence, the participatory planning process should try to focus on those issues which can be solved with the available resources and gain the confidence of the community. Therefore, the key factor for successful participatory planning is to build a relationship of mutual trust and then start the planning process.

It is important to involve all sectors of the community related to demographics (age, sex, income level, etc.). For example, women, youth and children are often not well integrated into the decision-making process. Specific participants are often identified and invited to insure the success planning process.

  • Participatory planning may minimize dependency on states
  • Participatory planning is inevitable in this era of information revolution
  • Help avoid conflicts in plan and achieve local support.
  • Enhances transparency in the fiscal expenditures.


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    • profile image

      Govind P Dhakal 

      6 years ago

      yes the best one i s LSGA 1999 which elaborately discusses about the urban development projects and local people's participationAlso you can visit KVTDA ( kathmandu valley town development authority formerly committee.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      it is very effective but it would be more attractive and informative if some pictures were uploaded

    • profile image

      Shakil Regmi 

      6 years ago

      Hello! Is there any legislation in Nepal for Public Participation in Urbanization? If yes then do reply as soon as possible. Thank You.

    • Nirjal Dhakal profile imageAUTHOR

      Nirjal Dhakal 

      8 years ago from Kathmandu, Nepal

      :) thanks for the Comment :)

    • profile image

      Navaraj Nepali 

      8 years ago

      it is very essential for students like us and other respectives personalities

    • profile image

      navaraj nepai 

      8 years ago

      it is very essential for students like us and other respectives personalities


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