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Can Deliberative Democracy Work in Urban India?

Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380054, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Simon Springer
Received: 29 March 2021 / Revised: 12 April 2021 / Accepted: 23 April 2021 / Published: 26 April 2021
India faces extensive challenges of rapid urbanization and deficits in human well-being and environmental sustainability. Democratic governance is expected to strengthen public policies and efforts towards sustainability. This article presents a study in Pune, India, which aimed at exploring perceptions about public participation in urban governance and the potential of high-quality public deliberation to meet deficits. The research reveals disaffection of the public with government decision-making and government-led participation. Further, it shows that people are interested in participating in community life and seek to be partners in civic decision-making, but find themselves unable to do so. The study illustrates that high-quality public deliberations facilitated by an independent third party can provide a satisfactory space of participation, learning, and developing balanced outcomes. Citizens expressed readiness for partnership, third-party facilitation, and support from civic advocacy groups. Challenges with regard to government commitment to deliberative democracy will need to be overcome for a purposeful shift from conventional weak to empowered participation of ordinary citizens in civic decision-making. We anticipate that while institutionalization of high-quality public deliberations may take time, civil society-led public deliberations may help raise community expectations and demand for induced deliberative democracy. View Full-Text
Keywords: deliberative democracy; participation; Pune; sustainability; local government; facilitation deliberative democracy; participation; Pune; sustainability; local government; facilitation
MDPI and ACS Style

Menon, S.; Hartz-Karp, J.; Marinova, D. Can Deliberative Democracy Work in Urban India? Urban Sci. 2021, 5, 39.

AMA Style

Menon S, Hartz-Karp J, Marinova D. Can Deliberative Democracy Work in Urban India? Urban Science. 2021; 5(2):39.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Menon, Sanskriti, Janette Hartz-Karp, and Dora Marinova. 2021. "Can Deliberative Democracy Work in Urban India?" Urban Science 5, no. 2: 39.

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