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‘Engagement’ speaks of interaction and relationships that involve collaboration and a sharing of power and control over a project. The hierarchy of engagement spans: being imposed upon – being ignored – consultation – participation – joint decision making – community driven initiatives. It is common cause that development works better when communities are effectively engaged from the outset and, while this may be acknowledged in theory and even written into policy, meaningful engagement rarely happens in practice.

  • Why is this the case?
  • What can be done about it?
  • Are there any cases of engagement in informal urban environments from which we might draw lessons for best practice?


  • Steve Topham, National Upgrading Support Programme


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