622.4 Participatory planning at a metropolitan level: Can it work?

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 9:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Jupira MENDONCA , Urbanismo, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The most common experiences on social participation are in local level – see, for example, participatory planning and participatory budget practices in Brazil after the 1988 Federal Constitution. Some authors present the idea that in the local level people are pushed to get together and participate in government decisions in a more feasible way. The paper intends to discuss the perspectives of participatory planning in a wider level, that is, the metropolitan governance.

The discussion is to be built around the analysis of Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Area governance structure, which has been changed since 2004. One of the main shifts was the presence of two council members representing the civil society in the Metropolitan Deliberative Board. Also there is an informal Social Meeting consisted of various social sectors leaders, from popular to entrepreneurs, which supports those council members. This Social Meeting has been responsible for important decisions at the Board, and it has been working since 2007. Particularly in the recent Metropolitan Master Plan process it had an important role. Besides, during the Master Plan participatory process, a Metropolitan Citizen Forum was created by some of the participants, including those who were from the Social Meeting. This experience is to be analyzed, in order to contribute to the debate about possibilities and perspectives of participation at metropolitan level. Some questions will be raised concerning the Social Meeting organization and its actions regarding to the Metropolitan Deliberative Board, to discuss conflicts and limits. At what extent can it really push for an autonomous organization and make some difference in metropolitan governance? Considering the Metropolitan Citizen Forum experience, can we say that it is really representative? At what extent can State Govern control participation? Can autonomy be constructed at a wider territorial level?