11th November 2017 –
Please RSVP: bit.ly/CAFB11NOV
Dr. Seema Iyer, an American Urban Planner and 2017 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, hosted by IIMB, Center for Public Policy, Bengaluru, during her stay in this city, has been on a mission to study how Bengaluru manages its planning process in the scenario of the explosive growth it is trying to cope with. And after speaking with Govt officials, policy makers, consultants, citizens, etc., she presents her learnings, and also her point of view on the direction we must head in, to ensure a sustainable city that works for all of us!
While the 74th amendment to the Indian constitution passed nearly a quarter of a century ago aimed to herald greater recognition and autonomy to the metropolitan regions of India, its implementation has been significantly hampered by the lack of political will to allow for the devolution of power on the one hand and due to the increasingly complex issues that impact urban areas on the other. In the State of Karnataka, the current status quo is further compounded by legal ambiguity between the intent of 74th amendment and a long-standing preceding State Town Planning Act act that established a metropolitan planning authority (Bangalore Development Authority--BDA) to prepare the Master Plan for Bangalore, the State’s largest metropolitan region. In his final book, Governance of Megacities, K.C. Sivaramakrishnan even argues for the abandonment of the main provision of the constitutional amendment which calls for the establishment of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) for every metro region.
In the face of this struggle to create organizational coherence at the metropolitan level, residents and civic organizations are becoming creative in large part due to their frustration with the opaque nature of governance. From public interest litigation (PIL) to large-scale citizen protests to small-scale demonstration projects, the horizontal network of civil society actors have produced meaningful outcomes towards local self-governance. The question is how can these efforts collectively lead to sustainable outcomes for Bangalore. As Judith Innes and David Booher write, there must be a value placed on “collaborative rationality” that comes from the interactions between multi-sector stakeholders -- technocratic planning schemes within planning agencies, which tend to rely on ever-clarifying rules and regulations, are not the only form of “rational” decision-making and often do not address fundamentally complex urban problems.
This proposal aims to offer a pathway towards collaborative planning processes at the ward level with the ultimate goal that these processes can be brought to the metropolitan scale. The point is that, in the absence of clear metropolitan level direction, local areas within Bangalore are searching for ways that that their efforts will not only make a difference today, but have long lasting emergent changes into the future. Research findings from the 2017 Fulbright-Nehru project will be presented.