Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Taru Silvonen, WISERD

Even though the idea of participation has been prominent in debates on international development and urban development for decades, it is still questionable what participation means in practice. Participatory approaches aim to address the general lack of inclusivity of local people in development projects. However, moving beyond consultations to partnerships and co-production continues to be a challenge. From empowerment to tyranny, participation is continuously redefined seeking for inclusive ways to move beyond top-down models of community engagement. Contributing to the debates of participation in urban development, this paper considers the outcomes of limited resident participation, showing why the challenges of participation continue to be relevant.

This paper draws on a completed doctoral research project which analysed informal social networks and the exchange of social support in a disadvantaged neighbourhood that was formed as an informal settlement. Completed as an ethnographic case study, over 6 months of fieldwork included interviews with local residents, some of whom also took part in focus groups. The qualitative data provide a detailed picture of the changing patterns of collaboration and residents’ social networks, alongside neighbourhood transformation.

Focusing on one of the key findings of the research project, this paper analyses resident involvement in the development of a disadvantaged neighbourhood in the eastern part of Mexico City. Residents’ collaborative processes during neighbourhood construction mainly in the 1980s are compared to the level of resident activity in the contemporary neighbourhood. Resident participation is analysed alongside neighbourhood development from an informal self-built settlement to a densely populated neighbourhood that has become consolidated as part of the broader megacity. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the findings in relation to residents’ role in sustainable urban development.

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