Global Development Institute Blog

Diana Mitlin, Professor of Global Urbanism, is leading new research which looks into the importance of participatory planning and the co-production of knowledge in urban transformation.

The latest paper, by sharing the experiences of the authors – as academics and professionals, highlights the importance of co-producing knowledge to improve urban development outcomes in the Global South.

The context of urban research and practice is one in which academic work impacts policy and programming; whilst professional knowledge, certified by academic institutions, forms the foundations to urban planning and management.

In light of this context, the paper highlights that unequal power relations underpin many of challenges faced and suggests several issues which need addressing in order to promote more equitable relations.

Urban development falls under the Global urban futures Research Group at the GDI. You can read the research above in full and more about participatory planning by visiting the Scaling up participation in urban planning project page which is generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Watch: participatory urban planning in action

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, local SDI groups have played a critical role in making participatory planning a reality.

Dialogue on Shelter, the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation, together with staff and students from the National University for Science and technology, and the Bulawayo city council have come together to map, plan and deliver improvements in 12 informal settlements.

They created this short video, outlining the process and experiences of participatory planning in action:

Photo by Aurélien Aries on Unsplash