DMPQ-Urban environmental management (UFM)

Historically, interaction between the various actors involved in UEM processes has been very weak and ineffective. While laws to effect such involvement existed, it was not exercised both on the part of local governments (adequate information was not provided), as well as other actors and citizens themselves (there was no commitment to participate). Information that was shared by the government was, in many cases, partial or selective. This put the entire decision-making process in the hands of the government as the main actor.

There has, however, been a growing awareness of environmental problems and its causes and effects. With a gradual increase in the transperancy and openness in the functional organization and operation of governments, legislation on information disclosure has been receiving considerable importance. Parallel to this has been a movement among the citizens to not only be aware of the processes of UEM within their community, but to also be involved in the design of decision making process itself. This calls for a major change in the basic understanding of citizens’ participation and the consequent needs of information for decision making processes from the points of view of all actors involved. With their direct involvement, the citizens of a community can be seen as major actors and partners in the process of planning. Such a give-and-take of information and decision support not only links the planning sector and the community, but also all sectors of the local government that affects the development of a region. Community involvement becomes all the more critical when the shortcomings and weaknesses of the local government to effectively deal with the range of problems are taken into account.

At the lowest level, community involvement can be seen as passive acceptance, where the community reorganizes and adjusts to the implemented public plans. Public sector plans then become a base on which private decisions are made. At higher levels of participation, however, the community is directly involved in the decision-making process at all levels. Thus matching and synchronizing public plans to private/individual plans become important, where public services are developed so that the private/individual plans can function and be implemented efficiently. It also calls for open and free participation at all stage of the process and with no restrictions or barriers.

Thus, interaction between the different actors at different levels of the planning processes and cycles becomes critical to respond to the increasingly complex policy and investment choices that urban communities face.

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