Understanding the Social Context of the community
In many cases, the government fails to understand the social context of the community. The social structure of a society is an aspect that majority of the governmental agencies fails to unearth as it portrays the vulnerability and level of rot within the government. Often, the society is usually composed of few individuals controlling the production at a higher level while others are perishing in poverty. Through public involvement in projects that benefits the entire community, such kind of issues may be addressed. Equity can never groom poverty, and that’s the interest of the public. Social aspects of gender equity, proper resource allocation and employment are likely to be administered without favoritism under public domain. In the germination of Leicester City from scratch, the public was involved right from planning, funding, and allocation of the necessary tools, an act that assisted greatly in ensuring equity.
Furthermore, apart from understanding the social stratification, the government is likely to note the demographic changes within the community. It is essential for purposes of planning administrative responsibilities such as the proper number of schools, medical institutions, recreational facilities, higher learning institutions and many other essentials of a community which cannot take place without public involvement. Leicester for example; the government had to assess the population and give an estimate of the demographic structure so as to fill the necessary elements. Mostly, planners tend to focus on space forgetting the importance of social context making the government less informed and therefore not updating the records. Conversely, Beebeejaun and Grimshaw(2010, p.1997) focuses on social exclusion mainly about the case of New Deal for Communities (NDC) about women’s position in governance, gender and ethnicity (Beebeejaun & Grimshaw, 2010, p. 1997). They emphasize on the need for equality especially in leadership and fairness in the representation of the minor ethnic communities. According to them, the positions of authority have been used to exclude the weaker gender and smaller ethnic group and therefore the need for democracy where all people can be treated equally.
The importance of public involvement in government
Most of the decisions made by the governmental agencies and private sectors are frequently half-baked. Individuals who regularly participate in such kinds of forums are there because of academic qualification but not facts. In a community set-up, for quality decisions to be made regarding any development program, the public is to be involved. The public is composed of a variety of people having different opinions in theory and practice. Through their involvement, the quality of the final decision is likely to be high compared to that made by few individuals in a panel (Lasker & Guidry, 2009, p. 24). Consider Leicester City, for example, the initial need for the project emerged from the public. The government had to chip in so as to support that which the public pointed to be of help to the community. Decisions made did not entirely emanated from the government, its role and which is appreciated up to now is the fact that its agencies got most of the funds and sources from outside investments.
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The premise is an aspect implying that the various ideas from the public can be summarized to make a sophisticated, high design. Configuring the society and the natural resources, it is the community members who should dominate all the decision-making process pertaining the resource (Burningham, Barnett &Walker, 2015, p. 247). If the government is given the entire responsibility, that which belongs to the public may end up in the hands of a few. For the projects conducted to be efficient, public involvement is paramount as it enhances transparency and trust among the community, partners and the government.
Building confidence and maintaining political legitimacy
Public participation is critical especially in decision-making and this assists in building confidence among the people and companies. Many at times, the government usually makes the decision pertaining projects that are to be done in individual communities forgetting that there is need to make the public aware. Aspects of transparency, trust, and credibility can only be reflected through openness and clear agreements between the government and the community members (Cowie & Davoudi, 2015, p. 169). The majority of the projects usually fail because of lack of accountability on the part of the organization conducting the projects.
In this case, for example, Leicester project since the late 1990s to date is not complete, yet there are no complaints. It shows that the public is aware of the actual duration that the project was to take and also of the agreed evident milestone that indicates the nature of the work going on. Furthermore, being that majority of the people involved in the project are community members, transparency and level of trust are likely to be portrayed. The notion of legitimacy is very critical yet misunderstood by many in the society (Connelly, 2011, p. 932). There is need of reintroducing activism for the sake of political legitimacy and assist the smaller projects about the community-based organization in one of the northern cities in the United Kingdom as Connelly posts. By incorporating the public into the affairs of these community-based organizations, they are bound to operate freely without much intervention from law firms. Also, some fees and restriction from the attorney and other local authorities may seize to apply. It is because the operations of the organizations are legitimate and fully supported by the public.
Most of the projects conducted within the community are for the benefit of the public, and therefore they are usually the key supporters. It is the public that can determine whether a given project should continue or not depending on the nature of ingredient they are offering. It is, therefore, essential for the government, individual or any other private body carrying out a given project to inform the community members about their requirements and time of operation. The motive here is to be able to secure enough support for the remaining period without failure which may result to collapse of the intended projects (Healey, 2015, p. 11).
As earlier on stated, the project of constructing Leicester city is still in progress even after being in operation for more than 15 years. It means that the community and entire concerned public were aware. The project is continuing, and the support to make it achieve the goal of unsustainability is in progress. Tracing through the impacts of Asset Based Community Development project (ABCD) in United States, United Kingdom and Scotland (Macleod &Emajulu, 2014, p. 435), the approach can be the best to ensure long-term support from the side of the public. It is based on the view that, every community member is an asset which can be used to mitigate poverty, achieve democracy and equality within the society. One of the pillars centers in being self-reliant. Similar to Leicester City project, the baseline is to assist the community, but it is better off as it makes the citizens not to rely on government in any major. Community problems like poverty may be curbed as individuals regardless of their conditions are taught ways of earning a living.
Prioritizing public value choices
It is illegitimate, wrong and corrupt for the organization to plan projects on behalf of the community. Proper planning should occur with a participation of the community members so as to enable them to prioritize their choices (Beebeejaun & Grimshaw, 2010, p. 1997). A good example is Leicester city in the United Kingdom, the community themselves made a selection of a city because they were aware that it was going to reduce the unemployment rates, boost their economic stability, avail schools, hospitals and other essential social amenities. It was their best choice being that it solved many community problems. If it were the government’s decision, it would have focused on good roads or maybe schools alone, an act that was going to be the public choice hence more likely to fail.
Another example is the Cowley Road in Oxford (Brownil ;Carpenter, 2007, p. 402), in this project, at an early stage, the city council had to engage the public. The motive was to get as much information from the people so as to identify priorities and know major problems that people face. The challenge faced by the project unlike what witnessed in the case of Leicester city is the engagement of micro-politics and need for power that was very problematic. Whenever an element of power chips in a project, evil motives are likely to blind the people and therefore limiting the sovereignty of the public to dominate the project.
Involving individuals in the activities of the community is paramount to their growth. The planning process is usually educative, and therefore the people are likely to acquire skills and knowledge that can assist them shortly. The act of inquiring information from the people makes them feel appreciated and better citizens who can place a mark on the development of the community. The essence of this is acknowledgment and acceptance of the fact that whatever happens is for their on the gain. Being a plan that is likely to sustain their current and future demands, individuals are likely to air the best view that they hold. Considering the model of Community Land Trust, in Granby neighborhood in Liverpool, the project has been of great assistance to the community as they were initially deprived (Thompson, 2015, p. 1022). The community has united to reclaim the buildings, improve their conditions and use the funds for the benefit of the society. This strategy ensures that the community controls itself without much government intervention.