Urban Policy and Planning: Theoritical Observation

Policy and policy making proccess

Discussing about urban policy from it’s origin until the implementation let us try to see policy in our city, Denpasar City, which faces many new challenges time over time. The challenges that we face today in context of Denpasar is how to manage the growth of the city, because unmanaged growth can caused many new problems, including increase of unemployment rate, sporadic development, environmental degradation, land conversion from agriculture land to built up area, sprawl and slums[1]. A decision should be made to tackle all urban challenges for a better future life. Jan Pronk[2] in the first series of speeches in Urban Meeting said that every decision is a policy. Thus to make decisions, all stakeholders, and mostly key actors, must involved in the policy making process, which is very rare in our city. Substantial benefits should be obtained through building transparent, accountable and participatory decision making processes[3]

We need a good policy to arrange our city to become a better place to living in. There is no blueprint what a good policy is and how to make it. We should find on our own way to make a good urban policy, but we can learn from the experience of other cities. It is necessary if we start from the context of urban policy itself and the city. Fainstein and Campbell (2002) describe three ways of how context circumscribes policy: (1) defines priority; (2) broad cultural and ideological currents constraints the alternatives that policy makers can consider; and (3) short of fundamental restructuring of the whole economic and social system. They put defines priority as the first, because it is important to knowing our problems and to make a priority, since we cannot solve whole problems in a night. In context of Denpasar, defining priorities is about how we learn from the past, assessing the present time and how to make a good planning for the future, we can make a priorities if we understand our past, define the problem that we face today, and the important thing that should be done in the future.

Some Criteria of a Good Policy

A good policy should be well conceptualized with a clear goals, objectives and strategies. We use the strategies as a mechanism to implement such a policy, which could include laws, budgetary allocations, special funding channels, reorganisation of functions within government. A good policy also should be well structured and implement able which means that it should be easy to understand, has a clear budget, time bound, and mentioned the task of each actor to support the success of the policy. The success of policy can reflect in the wide support from stakeholders, inhabitants, business, bureaucrat, politicians, etc. and it is also important to have a clear area concerned.

From Statutory to Performance Based

Toward an Effective and Efficient Urban and Regional Planning

Planning as a general activity is the making of an orderly sequence of action that will lead to the achievement of a stated goal or goals (Hall, 2002:3). Move on from this understanding, we can consider that the achievement of a stated goal is the objective and the orderly sequence of action as the process. A research of how is the best and effective way to formulate the goal and creates or makes an effective mechanism to achieve the goals should be made. The research can starts by discussing the planning process and its background, effectiveness and lessons learnt from the past planning.

The process and hierarchy of regional planning in Indonesia still top-down, central government creates a guidelines and local government work within this guidelines, nevertheless local government can develop on local context base on Undang-undang 22/1999 about Local Government which describes responsibilities of central, provincial and local government[4]. The opportunities to develop and creates based on local context is rare because local government will run the risk of their development, then working in a safe corridor is become the common thing. The planning which is based in law makes local government has a strong base in law, but this planning is not flexible to challenge the alteration. Statutory planning has strengths and weaknesses, among of the strengths is that it protections of critical elements can be reinforced by law and by runs statutory planning, there is normally trained manpower who are used to implementing the system. The most weak points is bureaucratic routines make it runs slow and ineffective and even the plans easily outdated, irrelevant with current context and ignored or bypassed[5]. If the planning has been outdated and ignored, then what is it for? It becomes useless. The new paradigm of planning process is based on target or result oriented planning. Davidson (1996) mentioned it as performance oriented planning which is discuss two kind of planning; action planning and strategic planning. Action planning in Davidson’s term is:

The participative process of development of a relatively short term plan to use available resources to meet limited objectives, normally in a defined area.

From this understanding there are some notes: clear and limited objective and defined area make it looks easy to implement but the participatory process can make it a little bit complicated. If we can’t manage the participatory process, then it will consume energy and time. To support and make an effective participatory process, urban land institute released 10 principles of successful public and private partnerships[6] toward a better development planning which can be used as a guide which stressed on how to make a good shared vision and working together to gain rewards and managed risks for all parties. In the case of performance oriented planning, local government should be more proactive and take leads in the participatory process, not just wait and see what comes from the central government. Implementing strategic planning, local government should be focus and have a wide support from key stakeholders, and to have a good law background, it should be in line with statutory planning, if possible. Action planning can be part of strategic planning, by make the clear objective, short term plan in well defined planning area.

Brussels which is populated by two main language population works with their inner energies. Development of the city starts by manages the growth of the urbanisation with the service of provincial road inspection. The transportation management become key factor of the succsess of the city development. The success of transportation system, road design, railways, tramway, increase mobility for national economic development, managed rural depopulation, concentrate employee in rural area. These entire things affiliate and create fusion between infrastructure and architecture. As Brussels become an international crossroads, the transportation planning becomes key of physical factor in regional planning. In local scale, the emerging of local power leads to the ultimate district’s land use plan. Participatory plays important role in Brussels city development.


[1] In addressing urban problems and how to make priorities, Jay W. Forrester have a good explanation about how to structuring urban area with it’s problem until how to link all urban elements in term of urban interactions in his book, Urban Dynamics.

2 Jan Pronk (Former Minister and Special Representative of the United Nations) spokes in the first’s series of urban meetings conducted by IHS together in collaboration with Architects Institute of Rotterdam (AIR) discussed the theme of the urban meetings “Are Cities More Important Han Countries?”

[3] Pennink, C., R. Dauskardt, F. Davidson, (2001) concluded that transparency, accountability and participatory in decision making is parts of good governance, especially in the policy making processes.

[4] Kota-Kota Dalam Transisi : Tinjauan Sektor Perkotaan Pada Era Desentralisasi Di Indonesia June 30, 2003 Dissemination Paper No. 7 Urban Sector Development Unit Infrastructure Department East Asia and Pacific Region The World Bank, addressed the implication of decentralisation and observed activities in urban field toward a framework’s formulation for sustainable development of cities in Indonesia.

[5] Davidson, Forbes (1996) Planning for Performance, Habitat International Vol. 20 No. 3 pp 445-462, Elsevier UK.

[6] Ten principles of Successful public-Private Partnerships is one of the series of Ten principles released by the Urban Land Institute which initiates research that anticipates emerging land use trends and issues, proposing creative solutions based on that research.

List of references

Davidson, Forbes (1996) Planning for Performance, Habitat International Vol. 20 No. 3, Elsevier UK.

Fainstein, S.C., Scott (2002). Introduction: Theories of Urban Development and their implication for policy and planning. Readings in Urban Theory. SC. Fainstein, Scott, Blackwell.

Forrester, Jay W., (1999) Urban Dynamics. Pegassus Communication MA, United States of America

Hall, P. (2002). Planning, planners and plans. Urban and Regional Planning. Oxford, Blackwell. United Kingdom.

Pennink, C., R. Dauskardt, F. Davidson. (2001). Urban Policies and strategies in a Global Context: Key Issues, Elements and lessons. National Seminar on Urban/Municipal Capacity Building, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, IHS Rotterdam.

ULI–the Urban Land Institute (2005) Ten Principles of successes Public Private Partnerships West Washington, D.C. United States of America

Urban Sector Development Unit Infrastructure Department East Asia and Pacific Region (2003) Kota-Kota Dalam Transisi : Tinjauan Sektor Perkotaan Pada Era Desentralisasi di Indonesia, East Asia Urban Working Paper SeriesThe World Bank

Useful websites which discusses about urban policy and planning and has good links

http://www.uli.org/ ULI initiates research that anticipates emerging land use trends and issues, proposing creative solutions based on that research

http://www.communityplanning.net/principles/ This website provides an overview of new methods of community planning contains principles, methods, scenarios, case studies of community planning.



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