Development Control Regulations (DCR)

Development Control Regulations are a set of rules that are planned to ensure the proper and effective development of a city, as well as the general welfare of the public. Regulation is necessary to ensure planned development. It depends on a “plan-led system” whereas development plans are made and the public is consulted. DCR govern the urbanization of a city and ensure efficient growth and the general welfare of the public. These regulations aim to provide basic needs to the public such as health, safety, convenience, economy and amenity. 

It is a mechanism that controls the development and use of land. This involves the construction of new buildings, the extension of the existing ones, reducing the misuse of land and the change of use of the building or land to another use. Developing new houses/industrial buildings/shops are important for supporting economic progress. At the same time, it is also necessary to protect or improve the quality of towns, villages, countryside, etc. 

Objectives of the Development Control Regulations 

  • To stop the unfavorable demand and misuse of land. 
  • To assist private interest along with public interest in all phases of development. 
  • Development control is legal in nature and the planning authority has the power to punish the defaulters. 
  • To control and limit overcrowding on land. 
  • To control the private development as per the required rules in connection to public safety, health, and convenience. 

Types of Development Control Regulation (DCR) 

1. Town and country planning act 

It involves the creation and implementation of strategies to provide better infrastructure for people. 

2. Zoning regulations act 

It deals with the allocation of land for specific purposes and keeping a check on the use of land and the construction norms.

3. Slum clearance act 

The major focus is on reducing the number of slums and ensuring the rehabilitation of inhabitants. 

4. Building bye-laws 

These are a set of regulations imposed on developers, which must be mandatorily met during construction. 

5. Periphery control act 

The purpose is to protect peripheral land that comes under the jurisdiction of a State from all sorts of encroachments and illegal use. 

6. Land acquisition act 

Acquiring land for governmental projects and compensating the landowners appropriately. 

Controllable Factors under DCR 

1. Floor Space Index (FSI) 

It is the ratio of the covered area of a building or the built-up area to the area of the plot on which the building is meant to be built. Floor Space Index is the total area (including all floors) that can be built upon a plot, leaving the remaining as open space. It is authorized by the government for a particular locality. It is sometimes termed as Floor Space Compensation Ratio (FSR), Floor Area Ratio (FAR), site ratio or plot ratio. FSI rules are usually based on the National Building Code. 

As per the new rules, balconies, flower beds, voids and niches are calculated in FSI, and to compensate for the loss, the government has permitted fungible FSI up to 35 percent for residential and 20 percent for commercial developments. 

2. Parking space 

There is a specified space for parking in residential, commercial and educational institutions as per the defined rules in different States. However, as per the norms, parking size should be a minimum of 2.5 m x 5.5 m (motor vehicle), 1.2-3 sq m (two wheeler), 3.75 m x 7.5 m (transport vehicle)

3. Size of plots 

As per the DCR, the size of plots appropriate for residential development ranges according to the income level of occupants. The ideal size requirements under DCR are -

  • Low-Income Group (LIG) – 135 sq m to 180 sq m
  • Mid-Income Group (MIG) - 216 sq m to 360 sq m
  • High-Income Group (HIG) - 486 sq m to 972 sq m 

4. Lifts 

A building with a height of more than 13 m must have a lift from the ground floor. The minimum capacity of the lift should be six persons. 

5. Fire Safety 

Buildings exceeding three floors need a certificate of approval from the Fire Department. Moreover, every floor with more than 150 sq m of floor area and a capacity of over 20 people should have at least two doorways, along with a staircase for the fire exit. 

6. Structural design and services 

The architectural design should be made as per the prescribed norms of the National Building Code (NBC) of India. The building must possess plumbing facilities, protection from lightning, electrical installation and air-conditioning, to name a few. 

Development Control Regulations in India’s Top Cities 

1. Development Control Rules, Mumbai 

In January 2012, the Maharashtra Government had announced amendments to the Development Control Rules for Mumbai with the prime objective of bringing in transparency and reducing temporary and discretional decision-making at different levels. The new rules mean pricing based on maximum available FSI, reducing the risk that was largely accepted earlier with regard to excessive saleable area.

Under the new DCR, areas for balcony, flower-beds, stairs, terraces, corners, voids would be counted in the FSI but these were not considered in FSI calculation earlier. 

With the new rule, plots measuring over 2,125 sq.m.(22,873 sq.ft.) will now be permitted to build more, vertically. As per the new regulation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will calculate the development potential of a plot on its gross area, without decreasing the area reserved for recreational purposes. The developers will now be able to build more apartments in a building with a proportionate increase in the open spaces in the building. 

Every plot, where a residential structure is coming up will have to reserve 15% of land for open spaces known as recreational ground. Earlier, according to the 1967 and 1991 DCR, when the BMC calculated the development potential of a plot, the reserved 15% plot was deducted. This resulted in a lesser number of flats being constructed. However, the BMC will determine the development potential including the reserved space now with the new rule. Resulting in permitting builders to develop more in the specified Floor Space Index or FSI. 

2. Development Control Rules, Chennai 

The State government has issued a Government Order, revising the 2nd Master Plan of the Chennai Metropolitan Area and the Development Control Regulations in other parts of the State. This is only for residential buildings that will reduce the cost of housing for low-income groups. 

The Tamil Nadu government has increased the maximum Floor Space Index (FSI) for multistoried residential buildings from 2.5 to 3.25. 

According to the amended terms on ‘premium FSI’, a multistoried residential building will get the maximum FSI of 3.62 on the payment of premium charges. The maximum FSI for specific buildings in the residential category and ordinary residential buildings will be 2. 

The Development Control Regulations 26 of the Chennai Metropolitan Area has been revised to change the FSI for special buildings also from 1.5 to 2 for continuous building areas. 

Likewise, the Development Regulations 27(3)D of the Chennai Metropolitan Area has been revised. 

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will also allow premium FSI over and above the usually permissible FSI subject to a maximum of 1.62. Now, the maximum FSI for a multistoried building will be 3.62 using premium FSI.

For a road width of 18 meters, the premium FSI permissible will be 50%. For roads with a width of 12-18 meters, the premium FSI permissible will be 40% and for roads with a width of 9-12 meters, it will be 30%. 

Factors contributing to non−compliance of the development control regulations in India 

  1. Failure of planning process to take account of ground realities and reset the planning guidelines, thus resulting in supply side shortages in terms of legitimate spaces for various land uses. 
  2. Weak enforcement machinery is responsible for the non-implementation of building laws and regulations. Implementation of development policies has been characterized by delays and poor execution of projects and programmes by nodal service providing agencies, lack of institutional and inter-sectoral coordination framework for development planning and the inadequate participation by the beneficiary population. 
  3. Unrealistic and cumbersome regulations including complex development control norms and building byelaws along with long drawn approval. 
  4. Absence of proper standing of institutional mechanism for seeking justifiable modifications/ relaxations in the existing building code and land use regulations. In recent years, there has been considerable debate and criticism leveled at the management of local government and legal system as it does not provide for quick and apt resolutions of building violation issues, which result in delays and misuse of the system. 

Ways to improve the enforcement of development regulations 

  • Simplification of development control requirements by simplifying procedures and introducing appropriate policies/ zoning regulations while safeguarding the health and environment and not damaging the economic base of the activities concerned. 
  • Revisiting the principles on which development control is based. As in case of zoning systems, certainty for developers is achieved at the cost of inflexibility for unforeseen demands and needs; while in discretionary systems flexibility to accommodate rapid and unforeseen changes comes at the cost of uncertainty and greater opportunities for corruption. It has been recommended that a system needs to be evolved to achieve a workable compromise between these principles.
  • Strengthening the enforcement capacity to monitor and take action on illegal developments and violations of development controls. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development controls, it is important that rather than devoting resources to improving the quality of urban spatial plans and development regulations, urban managers should concentrate on governance. It is necessary to make the whole system of plan formulation and implementation more dynamic and responsive to changes. For this, the planning legislation will have to be modified, updated and made more citizens friendly.


Methods Of Making A Base Map

There’s a couple of ways you can make a base map: 

1. Trilateration – the most low tech, effective solution 

2. Tracing an aerial photo at scale 

3. Using software to make a digital base map 

1) Using Trilateration to Make a Base Map 

Trilateration is the process of determining the locations of points by measurement of distances, using the geometry of circles and triangles. Trilateration is an easy way to survey a small block of land or a back yard. It does not require special training and only requires a few inexpensive tools. Tools which will need for trilateration: 

In the field: 

1. A tape measure (20 m long is usually enough) 

2. A sketch pad or grid paper for recording your measurements 

3. Some drafting pencil or pens. 

Back inside 

1. A nice large sheet of paper to make your base map on 

2. Some drafting pencil or pens. 

3. A drawing compass (Preferably with an extension arm) 

4. A scale rule 

2) Tracing an Aerial Photo at Scale 

It is one of the quickest ways is to project a satellite image or aerial photo onto your paper and trace it. To do this: 

  • Choose an image with a scale bar visible e.g. in the bottom right 
  • Choose the scale by adjusting the zoom of the projector (or moving it closer or further from the wall) until the site fits on the page and the scale bar measures true on a scale ruler 
  • Read the scale off the ruler (e.g. 1:50) 
  • Trace the major features off the projection onto the page. 

3) Creating a Digital Base Map 

Another way is to use software on a computer to create a digital base map from a satellite image or aerial photo. 

Base map is a layer with geographic information that serves as a background. A base map provides context for additional layers that are overlaid on top of the base map. Base maps usually provide location references for features that do not change often like boundaries, rivers, lakes, roads, and highways. Even on base maps, these different categories of information are in layers. Usually a base map contains this basic data and then extra layers with a particular theme or from a particular discipline, are overlaid on the base map layers for the sake of analysis. 

Some base maps look like Vector Layers but are actually tiled Raster layers. Tiled images are used because they display faster and deliver a good combination of layers for providing context and orientation. If your base map has raster layers, you cannot turn the layers off and on. For example, if you wanted to show all the different types of endangered plants within a region, you would use a base map showing roads, provincial and state boundaries, waterways and elevation. Onto this base map, you could add layers that show the location of different categories of endangered plants. One added layer could be trees, another layer could be mosses and lichens, another layer could be grasses.


Base Map Preparation Process -2

Natural and cultural features that are relatable to a cadastral parcel form the next most important levels of base map data. One of these levels includes all streets, roads, railroads and airports, with their associated names. Another level includes all permanent buildings and other structures greater than a specified size. A third level includes all water features such as perennial and intermittent streams, natural and man-made lakes and ponds, reservoirs, canals and aqueducts and their associated names. A fourth level includes boundaries of civil (Governmental) jurisdictions at all levels: state, county, city and township. Other secondary levels of natural and cultural features, such as contours. floodplains, wetlands, vegetation cover, land use, and utility lines, may be included selectively in the base-map composite. 

Use of a number of different levels or overlays of base map data is essential to provide flexibility in meeting the different requirements of different map users. Drafted overlays must be precisely registered in position to each other as illustrated in Fig. A planner may desire, for example, to use as a working base a composite of the land use, floodplain and base map overlays. The greatest flexibility in base map content, to satisfy user requirements, is in digital mapping. Map information can be separated digitally into a maximum number of data levels, updated most efficiently, and plotted precisely on a single base sheet using any specified number of data levels as required. At the same time, standards and procedures must yet be established to control the level of map content detail as map scale is changed over wide ranges. 

Overall, the base map that supports a multipurpose cadastre must provide as a minimum enough planimetric detail for locating ownership boundaries referenced to natural features, such as stream and lake shorelines or to man-made features not as yet tied to the coordinate system, such as highways and railroads. Desirably, it should show all objects related to the location of real property boundaries, such as fences or driveways, at reasonably frequent intervals.

Fig  A registered overlay system

Accuracy of the horizontal and vertical position information on the base map is fundamentally a function of the map scale and contour interval, respectively. National Map Accuracy Standards have long been used as the primary standard to control the accuracy of plotted map information. For scales larger than 1:20,000, which include essentially all base maps that would be used to support a cadastral overlay, standards for horizontal accuracy specify that 90% of the points tested shall be plotted on the map within 1/30 inch of their true position. Standards for vertical accuracy specify that 90 % of the points tested shall be shown in elevation within one half of the contour interval used on the map.

The Photogrammetry for Highways Committee of the American Society of Photogrammetry has prepared specifications for large-scale mapping for highways, with a horizontal accuracy requirement that 90% of all planimetric features be plotted within 1/40 inch of their true position. This is a more stringent requirement than the comparable 1/30 inch required by National Map Accuracy Standards and has also been suggested by the Task Committee for Photogrammetric Standards of the American Society of Photogrammetry in their recently proposed accuracy specifications for large scale line maps. Either the 1/30 inch or 1/40 inch requirements have been adopted by nearly all users in their base mapping specifications for large scale property ownership maps. 

The requirement that the base map of a local record system be compiled according to National Map Accuracy Standards is primarily due to the need for the base map to satisfy the engineering needs of public works departments. When accurate information is necessary, specific boundary lengths would come from a recorded plat, boundary description or other report of survey, not from scaling the cadastral overlay on the base map. A new Engineering Map Accuracy Standard has been proposed by the Committee on Cartographic Surveying of the Surveying and Mapping Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). These standards are intended to provide a clearer communication of accuracy requirements between those having the need for the map and those preparing the map. Also included are specific field testing procedures to assess the compliance of the map with the standards. 

The scale of the cadastral map system is principally a function of the size of the predominant land parcel. This criterion generally corresponds to the level of land value or degree of urbanization. Listed in Table 1 are the scales that have been selected almost universally for each type of area. Contours may only need to be included on the base map for specific users with a requirement for topographic detail. The added expense is substantial. Contour interval would be selected in conjunction with the map scale, the terrain relief, and the elevation information requirements. Typical combinations are listed in Table 2.

Table 1 Suggested base map scale

Table 2 Appropriate contour intervals for suggested map scale

Necessities of a Base Map 

  • To give a place to record our observations and interpretations of the site
  • To give us a canvas for drawing our concept, schematic and detailed designs
  • To reduce the time we have to spend redrawing the permanent elements of the site 
  • To provide consistency between the different plans & drawings we are going to present to other people It gives us a not quite “blank canvas” that we can quickly duplicate
  • Because we can easily make many copies, it frees up our creativity to experiment and not care so much if we make a mistake

Choosing a Scale 

A scale drawing shows a real place with accurate sizes reduced by a factor (called the scale), to allow us to represent real objects and features on a piece of paper. Scale depends on the size of area, size of paper, amount of detail to draw. Use the equation 

Desired Scale = Width of area in centimetres/Width of paper in centimetres 

Then round the scale to the nearest 1,000. 

Changing Scale of Base Maps 

If enlarging by photocopy machine: – enlarging by 200% doubles the size of the map and halves the scale. Calculate with this equation 

 Percent enlargement = (Scale of original/Target scale) x 100%


Base Map Preparation Process -1

Preparation of master plan starts with base map preparation before which relevant data of all the necessary information, which is to be presented via base, map is collected. For base map preparation, National Urban Information System (NUIS) Scheme has prepared maps on 1:10,000 scale and made available on NRSC/ISRO Geoportal Bhuvan for Urban Local Bodies for 152 towns. Bhuvan NUIS GIS database comprises 

1)Base layers

Road, Rail, Canal, Transportation nodes, Drainage, Surface water Bodies. 

2)Thematic layers

Urban Land use / Cover, Geomorphology, Lithology, Geological structures, Physiography 

3)Administrative Layers

State, District, Village, City/Town boundaries and Ward Boundaries. Attribute data has spatial layers as, administrative boundaries, forest boundary, settlement and village locations / names and city / town boundaries and non‐spatial data. Other sources of licensed/authentic versions of interpreted satellite imageries can also be used for preparation of base map. 

The Thematic GIS databases available on Bhuvan range from a scale of 1:10,000, to 1:250,000. The important Satellite data and thematic GIS data resources available for utilization for various planning and development are listed below.

Table Bhuvan Satellite data and thematic GIS data resources available

Table Base and Thematic GIS data services

Once the base and thematic layers from the satellite imagery are prepared, other city/town specific information such as, cadastral maps, revenue records, and plans of government agencies and attribute information from Industrial Development Corporations, Public Work Department, Railways, National Highway Authority could be integrated for preparation comprehensive GIS database as required for development plan/ master plan preparation. 

The satellite imageries, Resources at LISS‐4 and Cartosat PAN, can be overlaid on cadastral maps to prepare base map. These satellite images depict field bunds, cart tracks, settlements, tanks and other cultural features like roads, railway network and canals. These features facilitate identification of Ground Control Points (GCP) for tie down satellite image and cadastral map. For overlaying cadastral map with satellite image it is required that cadastral map be generated in vector mode. In this process the main tasks are acquisition of cadastral maps, scanning and digitization of cadastral maps and generation of vector data. Once the cadastral maps in vector mode are available, the geo‐referencing of these maps can be done. The geo‐referencing of digital cadastral maps and overlaying with satellite image consists of the following steps:
  • Acquisition of GCP’s 
  • Transformation model development and assessment 
  • Geo‐referencing of cadastral maps 
  • Validation of Geo‐referenced map, in isolation 
  • Validation of Geo‐referenced map, with neighbourhood 
  • Mosaic generation at Revenue Inspector (RI), Taluk and district level
Good planning and engineering practice dictate the preparation of large-scale maps as a basis for sound community development and redevelopment. In urban areas. and particularly ingrowing urban areas, such large scale maps are currently being compiled at an unprecedented rate by photogrammetric methods. Relatively simple changes in the specifications governing these photogrammetric mapping operations can make the resulting maps not only more effective planning and engineering tools but can, at relatively little additional cost, lay the foundation for the eventual creation of a multipurpose cadastre. 

Design of the base mapping data content and structure must be flexible enough to allow a variety of users to relate the cadastral parcels to specific types of base information. This objective can readily be achieved by creating and maintaining the base mapping data in a coordinated series of different levels or overlays. Photographic and orthophotographic base maps at a minimum contain the complete photographic image of the terrain surface covered to which other levels or overlays may be added to create the complete base map. The primary base map datum is the geodetic reference framework used to establish the location of all other features. The following reference systems are in current use throughout the United States: 
  1. Geographic Coordinates (latitude and longitude) 
  2. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) rectangular coordinates 
  3. State Plane Coordinates  
Geographic coordinates provide the principal system used for computation of geodetic control point positions. The UTM rectangular coordinate system is a metric worldwide system of predominate use in federal mapping environments. State plane coordinates are most commonly used at the state and local levels, currently defined in English units but with metric units also widely available. Because of the greater familiarity with their use at the local level, State Plane Coordinates are normally used as the geodetic reference framework in current implementation projects and are recommended for local multipurpose cadastres.


Base Maps

A base map is a map which shows the existing physical pattern of the land upon which survey info analysis or planning proposal can be superimposed. The information required for base map varies from map to map because it largely depends upon its scale, the area covered and the level of planning details. The base map, with its corresponding representation of the topography of the territory, shows the physical reality of the area where the new city plan is to be implemented. This physical reality is expressed through cartography, an absolutely essential component and probably the most important of all those comprising the information necessary for carrying out urban planning. 

A base map is the graphic representation at a specified scale of selected fundamental map information; used as a framework upon which additional data of a specialized nature may be compiled. Within the multipurpose cadastre, the base map provides a primary medium by which the locations of cadastral parcels can be related to the geodetic reference framework; to major natural and man-made features such as bodies of water. roads, buildings, and fences; and to municipal and political boundaries. The base map also provides the means by which all land related information may be related graphically to cadastral parcels. Details to be shown on different level of base map:

For different levels of maps, information in base map is different. 

1) For Regional Level Base Map 

  1. Boundary The boundaries that can be shown at this level are national boundary, state boundaries, district boundaries, Taluk boundaries and village boundaries. 
  2. Road National highway, state highway, major district roads, other district roads and fair weather roads. 
  3. Railway lines Broad gauge and meter gauge lines, bridges are also to be included. 
  4. Topography The major forestland, major hilly areas, rivers and streams, lakes, swamps, marshy lands etc. 
  5. Settlements The urban settlements, rural settlements and important headquarters. 
  6. Contours The contour interval in the base map at the regional level is 100m. 

2) For City Level Base Map 

  1. Planning and administrative boundaries Planning area boundary (if identified), metropolitan boundary, urban area boundary, municipal corporation boundaries and zonal boundaries, census ward, administrative sub-division limits (if any), urban village or rural settlement within the municipal limits or on the fringe of the municipal boundary, cantonment area boundary (if any), grids (artificial or latitudes and longitudes). 
  2. Roads National highways, state highways, major district roads, arterial road, sub arterial road, collector roads, and local roads. 
  3. Topography Hills, water bodies, Rivers and streams, canals, lakes, swamps, marshy lands etc. 
  4. Religious places Religious places such as temples, mosques, churches, and tombs are shown. 
  5. Contours The contour interval shown in the base map at this level generally ranges between 3m to 5m depending upon physiography of town and scale of map. 
  6. Apart from these, all major places of archeological interests, public and semi-public building (important landmark), major agricultural and city forest, district parks, gardens, green belts, floodable areas, Utilities and services lines are also shown in the base map at this level. 

3) The Site Planning Level Base Map 

  1. All accesses to the site
  2. Vegetation such as trees, bushes etc. 
  3. Water bodies 
  4. High tension lines, overhead electric lines, water supply lines including hydrants, sluice valve, sewer lines including man-holes, vent pipes etc. with slope diameter of lines. 
  5. Already existing features like well, brick kilns, quarries etc. 
  6. Contours are drawn at an interval of 500mm. 

Base Map Features 

Before taking up any urban development plan exercise the first task, both from planning point of view and as statutory requirement, is to prepare or obtain reliable, accurate and up‐to‐date base map for the respective town or city for which the plan is being prepared. The amount of information to be represented on the map varies from map to map because information depiction depends on: 

  • Purpose of map 
  • Scale 
  • Projection 
  • Method of map‐making 
  • Draughting skill 

Uniformity of base map with regard to presentation of features, scale, size and notations, facilitates the readability of these maps and comparison of one map with another. Mapping software of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System are capable of generating maps with uniformity as well as processing data from different platform.  


Design and Implementation of a Public Participation Process

A public participation process is designed and implemented in four discreet stages, as outlined below.

1) Preliminary Design 

  • Situation analysis 
  • Decision process 
  • Information exchange 
  • Public and stake-holders 
  • Planning team 
  • Approvals 

2) Developing the Plan 

  • Establish objectives
  • Identify and address major issues 
  • Identify and involve the stakeholders 
  • Choose techniques 
  • Prepare to provide and receive information 
  • Develop critical path 
  • Budget, staff, resources, logistics, roles and responsibilities 
  • Prepare to give and get feedback

3) Implementation 

  • Follow the critical path 
  • Apply techniques 
  • Provide and receive information 
  • Monitor the process 

4) Feedback 

  • Report to decision makers 
  • Report to participants 
  • Evaluate the overall process


A number of emerging public participation techniques provide the opportunity for shared engagement, which has been difficult to achieve with traditional techniques. Traditional techniques include print publications, public meetings, open houses, advisory committees, workshops, bilateral meetings, and focus groups. Emerging techniques include open space technology, future search conferences, policy dialogue, and a suite of electronic techniques. In general, emerging techniques offer more in-depth opportunities for dialogue and collaboration, with emphasis on value exploration and reaching consensus on shared outcomes in complex situations. It should be noted that public servants and community groups have numerous opportunities to interact with each other, exchange information and gain a better understanding of each other’s views and interests. 

Citizen participation is mainly seen as an instrument to strengthen and support the way representative democracy is functioning now. The local or national government should take and keep the initiative in policy-making. Initiatives ought to be taken from above. The process of involving citizens in politics and policy-making should not lead to the erosion of the primacy of the representative institutions. The central focus of thought is not on citizens, but on the government. The role of participation is mainly an instrumental one. That is, its main objective is to give citizens and their organizations a say in the official political process. Participation is not regarded as a value in itself, but is merely aimed at producing a government. 


Importance of Participation

The planning system is meant to reflect the general wishes of the local community and there is a need on the local authority to consult widely during the formulation of a local plan and in the operation of the development. The fact that the council is made up of elected members ensures a certain level of representation, but wider public consultation is required. When a planning application is submitted the local authority publishes details in the local newspaper and, in some circumstances, a notice is displayed adjacent to the site. In cases of special sensitivity, individual households in an affected area might be asked for their opinions or there may be a small public exhibition. 

However, in most cases, if members of the public wish to find out what is proposed they have to visit the planning department, request the material that has been submitted and examine it on the premises. They can then write to the planning committee if they have any objections. No matter what the scale of proposal, development control can be thought of as a process of negotiation: at its simplest, between the applicant and the local authority, with only rudimentary involvement by the public. 

Characteristics of Participation 

Although any given participation process does not automatically ensure success, it can be claimed that the process will minimize failure. It is a source of wisdom and information about local conditions, needs and attitudes, and therefore improves the effectiveness of decision making. It is a means of defending the interests of groups of people and of individuals, and a tool for studying their needs, which are often ignored and dominated by large organizations, institutions and their bureaucracies. With the goal of achieving agreement about what the future should bring. 

Determination of Goals and Objectives 

The planning that accompanies the design of any participation program should first include a determination of participation goals and objectives. Participation goals will differ from time to time and from issue to issue. Participation is likely to be perceived differently depending on the type of issue, people involved and political setting in which it takes place. If differences in expectations and perception are not identified at the outset, and realistic goals are not made clear, the expectations of those involved in the participation program will likely not be met, and people will become disenchanted. To address participation effectively, the task should conceptualize what the objective is for involving citizens. For example, is the participation intended to; 

  • Generate ideas 
  • Identify attitudes 
  • Disseminate information 
  • Resolve some identified conflict 
  • Measure opinions 
  • Review a proposal 
  • Provide a forum to express general feelings 

Planning for Participation 

Once planners have identified the overall goals and objectives for the participation process, Planning for participation requires the following steps; 

  1. Identify the individuals or groups that should be involved in the participation actively being planned 
  2. Decide where in the process the participants should be involved, from development to implementation to evaluation 
  3. Articulate the participation objectives in relation to all participants who will be involved 
  4. Identify and match alternative participation methods to objectives in terms of the resources available 
  5. Select an appropriate method to be used to achieve specific objectives 
  6. Implement chosen participation activities
  7. Evaluate the implemented methods to see to what extent they achieved the desired goals and objectives 
All Individuals and interest groups should come together in an open forum. In this setting, people can openly express their opinions, make necessary compromises, and arrive at decisions acceptable to all concerned. By involving as many interests as possible, the product is strengthened by the wealth of the input. In turn, learning more about itself strengthens the citizens group. The Process is continuous and ever changing. The product is not the end of the process. It must be managed, re-evaluated, and adapted to changing needs. Those most directly involved with the product; the users, are best to assume those tasks. The professionals role is to facilitate the citizen groups ability to reach decisions through an easily understood process. Most often this will take the form of making people aware of the alternatives. This role also includes helping people develop their resources in ways that will benefit themselves and others. 

A wide range of techniques are available to designers and planners. Some of these techniques have become standard for use in participatory processes, such as interactive group decision making techniques that take place in workshops. At the same time, designers and planners have effectively used field techniques, such as questionnaires, interviewing, focus groups, and group mapping, to acquire information. In general, many of the techniques facilitate citizens awareness of environmental situations and help activate creative thinking. The techniques can be classified as awareness methods, group interaction methods and indirect methods.

Methods of Data Collection 

  • Interviews 
  • Surveys 
  • Reviews and Structured Observation 
  • Case Studies 
  • Small Group Methods (Focus group, Delphi, Charette, etc.) 
  • Secondary data, (e.g., Agency data) 
  • Reviews of Studies 
  • Content Analyses 
  • Diary Methods 
  • Ethnographic Methods (Field Studies, Participant Observation, Tester Audits)