Urban Management in developing countries by Ronald McGill – A Viewpoint

The paper talks about the various definitions and explanations provided by different authors for Urban Management. It is a topic of discussion and researched as no definition has been accepted for this term. Arguments are made to describe it differently with different approach considering it to be objective, a process or structure. Authors provides viewpoint of various scholars who describe Urban Management with different view point taking into consideration the stake holders, resource allocation, government role & authority, role of private players, NGOs, citizens and anyone who is effected in the urban areas. There seems to be a agreement on considering urban Management as an holistic approach i.e. encompassing various or all aspects. Author put forwards the views of different scholars who provide different view point and understanding of the term, some perceive urban management as the role of municipalities and civic agencies to deliver services and perform duties which are necessary to keep a city functioning, other perceives it as a wider term which involves integration and coordination amount various agencies and organisations which collectively carry out work to make a city work, taking into account the broader viewpoint Urban Management involves both government and non-governmental organisations and even private players whose decisions affect the functioning of city.

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After presenting the view point of various authors, practice of town planning has been discussed with taking into considerations the failure of town planning. Criticism and drawbacks of Master Plan approach is due to time consuming process, lack of flexibility, lack of coordination and funds availability in the approach. Apart from this the implementation of master plan is also improper because of difference in sectoral & spatial approach. Master Plan approach also keeps out various key stakeholders and private players from goal formation because of which it draws criticism.

Integrating infrastructure provision is discussed after town planning practice to overcome the problems faced in master plan approach. The key theme in this is to develop the guidelines for the integration of spatial, sectoral, economic, financial and institutional planning so as to better achieve urban development goals. This can be achieved if different institutions work towards a common goal. This is further supported by integrating institutions by various means. Example have been taken of various Indian cities like Calcutta, Jakarta, Delhi, Madaras, Karachi and problem have been highlighted which occurred due to traditional or out dated town planning practice and lack of coordination and integration of departments. By integrating institution author focuses on integrating institutions both horizontally and vertically. Institutions must have role and say in goal formation, get information about finance and available resources so that the goals formed are realistic. Moreover, information about projects being carried out by other department will have reduce cost and mismatching of work and timings of different departments. Author did mention that this is difficult to achieve and as per Allport & Einsiedel this can only be achieved, either by giving the city government power over government ministries to dictate what should happen within its area. Another problem is the fund allocation which is done by the central government, much of the funds are allocated by central government which makes it difficult for city councils to form plan and get information about fund availability. Example of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been mentioned when Integration of Institution was achieved and it was a huge success.

It can be concluded that the paper tries to present different view point considering urban Management as concept, structure, process and objective.

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