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Participatory planning:

Needs of the population ensured

A special program to commemorate World Town Planning day, presided by Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardhana was held recently at the Urban Development Authority auditorium at Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla. The program was organized jointly by the Urban Development Authority, the National Physical Planning Department and the Institute of Town Planners, Sri Lanka.

This was the 60th World Town Planning Day, which was commemorated on various themes in different countries. In our country the principle theme was 'Planning for the Community'. Participatory planning is necessary to ensure that city plans should be effective in dealing with the needs of the population. There have been occasions in the past in which new urban plans have been made which were ineffective and which failed to promote growth, urban development and sacred area development minister Dinesh Gunawardhana said.

The Minister paid tribute to the Institute Town Planners, whose efforts were at the heart of the recovery from the Tsunami. Unfortunately there has been a delay in implementing the Tsunami recovery plan for the North due to the recent conflict. Now that the terrorists have been defeated, the internally displaced population could return to their homes once the mines were cleared up.

The efforts of the town planners will be vital in the near future, as the planning for the development of the Northern cities gets under way.

La Trobe University Prof. Treyor Budge who participated at the event also discussed the Australian experience of community consultation in town planning. He said consulting the community was a relatively new idea not ingrained in tradition. It was introduced to Australia about 30 years ago and is now accepted as something that is necessary.

He emphasized that the process should be transparent and the participants should be aware of the aims, the ability to alter plans as a result of the consultation was vital. It was also essential that a system should be in place to manage the process ,with the administrative machinery and resources to handle the large amounts of information that were generated through this course of action.

The Minister presented the Ayagama Development Plan, which was formulated jointly by the Urban Development Authority and the Young Town Planners Association, to the Chairman of the Ayagama Pradeshiya Sabha, G.M Jayasundera.

Urban Development Authority Secretary Dr. Prathap Ramanujam, UDA Director General Prasanna Silva, National Physical Planning Department Director General Lakshman Jayasekara and Town Planners Institute President L. D. Dickman, also addressed the gathering.



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