The challenges of urbanization are often attributed to government systems. However, at the center of urban commerce, lifestyle and infrastructure, are everyday citizens. Creating opportunities for urban communities to lead the problem-solving process is not just theoretical; it has been field-tested in different cities across the globe, including here in Jakarta.
For some Jakartans, it is bothersome navigating the busy streets of the city, while for others the fast-paced bustle is the definition of a thriving city. From this, one can already deduce the complexities of various views and needs of urban dwellers, yet it is from these diverse perspectives that communities learn to identify and work together on common goals.
With more than fifty percent of the world’s population living in urban areas, designing solutions with communities, and enabling citizens to be involved in urban planning are good participatory ideals: but how exactly does a city go about it?
This guide to participatory approaches around the globe was developed to shape Pule Lab work and answer that question. It provides insights into how other cities have done, from initiating participatory urban data collection to realizing participatory urban design.
The Urban Vulnerability Mapping sample, which is in the guide, highlights how citizens’ involvement in North Jakarta has improved community-level data and informed development priorities. The approach relied on the use of simple, non-obscured technological tools, a step-by-step strategy, and — the leadership of citizens from that community.
The 24 samples contained in the guide are not instructional blueprints nonetheless, given their unique political, social, economic and other contexts. Still, they are useful for replicating active citizen and public participation in imagining urban change.
Urbanization has its ills, but with the number of urban dwellers globally expected to rise to 6.5 billion, each citizen has an active role to play in making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Fixing urban problems shouldn’t just rest with the government. They’re our communities, and we should shape them…