Community Planning: Making Planning Work

Casestudy 22Peru
The Cities for Life Forum and
mainstreaming monitoring and evaluation

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This case shows the tendency for participatory projects to grow without much thought being given to formal evaluation and systems to deliver structured learning and that good monitoring needs to make monitoring and evaluation a shared and open process.

© Cities for Life Forum

The area of Nuevo Chimbote, 420km north of Lima, was supposed to host the rapid urban growth coming from the city of Chimbote, which was largely destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1970s. To face this problem, government planning proposed to establish plots for self-constructed houses supported by roads, water networks and drains. Occupation of areas originally devoted to parks, gardens and other social uses weakened initial plans and the city grew in a disorderly way, creating problems that affect the quality of life of current inhabitants. It is estimated that today nearly 70 per cent of the city population live in areas characterized by deficient water services, pollution and disease.

The recent implementation of Local Agenda 21 in Nuevo Chimbote has meant the beginning of highly participatory processes striving to generate sustainable human development and the reinforcement of democratic transition at a local level. In these processes, a key role has been played by the creation of alliances and support brought by a private–public, inter-institutional network called the Cities for Life Forum. The Forum has ushered in the development of a self-diagnosis that has resulted in a shared socio-economic and environmental vision. A series of activities with children, young people, women and public and private institutions were developed in order to validate this shared vision of the future, which was subsequently approved and signed by local actors.

The Cities for Life Forum is an unprecedented initiative in Peru. It works for the promotion of democratic civic practices and unites efforts and local resources in order to design a new logic of sustainable development that:

  • incorporates top-down and bottom-up actions;
  • integrates social development, economic development and environmental management;
  • promotes a planning culture with long-term perspective and practical short-term actions;
  • channels state and private sector funds on the basis of participatory budgeting and applies the principle of shared responsibility among public and private actors.
In order to achieve all this, the Cities for Life Forum promotes and strengthens:
  • coordination among public actors and civil society;
  • consensus-building among municipalities;
  • the value of local spaces as the stage for development planning and management;
  • connectivity between areas within the region;
  • an inter-institutional forum;
  • a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector approach.
Despite successes in changing attitudes and perceptions in the region, struggles continue to institutionalize policy mechanisms ensuring the long-term successes of the Cities for Life Forum. For example, because there is not a formal process of monitoring at governmental level, many member NGOs are making efforts to disseminate all of their lessons learned so that processes, results and outcomes can be evaluated and refined. Liliana Miranda, Executive Director of the Cities for Life Forum and founder of the NGO Ecociudad, explains that a number of generic skills are facilitating a shared monitoring and evaluation process and its mainstreaming into more widespread use. In addition to the necessary skills of patience, perseverance, joy, tolerance, temper, honesty and ethics Ms Miranda cites for engaging others, she sees collaboration, listening, pragmatism and the ability to accept and learn from mistakes as key elements to success and a type of monitoring and evaluation that will lead to more productive ends.

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Liliana Miranda
Liliana Miranda
Vargas Machuca 408 San Antonio Miraflores Lima
+51-1-2411488, 2425140
+51-1-2411488, 2425140
This special feature sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)


Last updated on:16 April 2009