In recent times, we have constantly emphasised on public participation in the planning process, which is why we as students also have to make it a point to interact with the people before formulating a plan. It is seen that people usually end up whining about issues they face. Not one person consulted has ever been inquisitive to know the measures that would be taken up to solve their problem, the time it would take for solution implementation, or any bit of theirs that could prove to be a solution. Not everybody can necessarily think of a solution, but we sure can visualize a final state that fulfils all our needs.
It has to be understood that democracy is not just casting a vote and considering the job as done. The British rule came to an end after a lot of struggle with first the moderates, trying to come up with a compromise by demanding a fair share of representation in the government and when it did not help, the extremists finally made it a point that Poorna Swaraj was the only way out and could achieve it only because we believed in it. We had finalised a destination and we struggled throughout the journey, to achieve it. Today democracy is taken for granted, but we must know that when we (our country, our leaders) opted for democracy, each of us made equally accountable and responsible.
The parties today are always highlighting our problems and make promises to show that they understand and win elections, but later, who are they to care when we do not? Has there ever been a sense of urgency or constant efforts to make sure that those promises are fulfilled? We are the ones who elected our representatives and now if they do not work as promised, we have the right to keep pressing and get things done. If results are not seen even then, we can throw them off the power. It is we who have the real power and we have to realise this. The slack is at our end.
Community participation is way more than highlighting our issues. We have to aspire for a community we want to live in, just like we aspire for personal growth and well-being and strive to achieve it; and the universe is going to bring in front of us, opportunities to achieve them. The condition is that we are on a constant lookout. We gradually manifest all that we believe we can achieve. It is for us to decide if we want our cities to develop as smart cities or cities that are smartly developed in order to cater to our traditional ways of life and make us feel more grounded and unique. We must aspire and believe, to see the manifestation.
So, it’s time for us to work on our imaginations and aspire for the most creative and satisfying cities!
School Of Planning And Architecture, Vijayawada