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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Responsive community planning in developing countries : the Kota Bharu, Buluh Kubu case study Raphael, Andrew Joel


This dissertation is an examination of what the elements of responsive planning are, how they can be applied, and why existing planning conditions at the time of this research prevented such an approach from realizing its full potential in community planning for Kota Bharu. The goal of the research was to determine whether community planning in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, could be made more responsive to the residential needs of low-income groups. As a participant-observer, I applied concepts from the planning literature on Third World urbanization, low-income housing and community development to the realities of the planning process I worked in. A survey framework was applied which sought low-income residents' participation in the planning process so that government efforts in urban renewal could be more responsive to community needs. Based on this information, two planning scenarios proposing redevelopment and rehabilitation strategies for the Buluh Kubu site were presented. For planning to be more responsive, it is my conclusion that a change in attitude, not technology, is what is demanded. Depressed neighbourhoods, such as Buluh Kubu, must be seen as organic parts of the total environment, not slums disassociated from the rest of the town. Indigenous planners must realize that substandard housing is only a symptom, not the cause, of the societal in- equality they can work towards solving. Necessary to such an understanding is a redefinition of commitment by indigenous planners regarding their responsibility to serve low-income groups through participatory planning. A major theme of this work, therefore, is that planners should reinforce, rather than destroy, attempts by low-income groups to house themselves. By concentrating on the delivery of communal infrastructure, planners can best utilize their efforts towards community development as a partner with low-income residents who, with the proper assistance, have the potential to provide their own shelter. In terms of Canada's global response to the problems of planning in developing nations, it is the conclusion of this study that foreign aid programs which only stress technological assistance tend to create Third World dependence, not development. It is recommended that more self-help, participatory planning programs be adopted by those concerned so that development responsive to the basic community needs of Third World Nations can be realistically achieved.

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