Title page for ETD etd-04172009-001745

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hassouna, Khaled Mohamed
Author's Email Address hassouna@vt.edu
URN etd-04172009-001745
Title The Role of Local Traditions in Participatory Planning for Successful Development Projects in Rural Egypt
Degree PhD
Department Environmental Design and Planning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miller, Patrick A. Committee Chair
Bryant, Margaret M. Committee Member
Hammett, Alfred L. Tom Committee Member
Rash, J. E. Committee Member
  • development projects
  • participatory planning
  • local traditions
Date of Defense 2009-03-30
Availability restricted
This research examines participatory planning processes in rural Egypt, which was deemed successful by the local people. The purpose is to identify elements that caused these projects to be perceived successful. Using the normative participatory planning theory that is usually used in the West as a theoretical context, the research examined three successful development efforts in rural Egypt. Projects’ publications and planning documents were reviewed to build a context for interviews. The projects’ planners were interviewed for descriptions of their initial designs for the participatory planning processes employed. An opportunistic sampling technique was used to identify local participants who were interviewed for descriptions of their experiences in the planning processes.

The analysis suggests that the participatory planning processes implemented had the same stages as the normative planning process in the West. The thick description of the processes by the interviewees revealed subtle elements within the processes that governed the participants’ evaluation.

Bedouin interviewees viewed consensus as the only valid mode of final agreement in indigenous peoples’ decision-making processes. Bedouin participants were found to consider perceptions of time, and choice of space and language used in planning sessions to be extremely important, significantly impacting their evaluation of the process in which they took part. Long sessions that took place locally and were formatted in a traditional Bedouin manner were perceived more successful. Bedouin dialect and Bedouin hospitality employed during sessions also increased the perceived success of planning sessions. Such subtle Bedouin interpretation of elements of social environment guided their perceptions of the success or failure of the planning processes.

Government planning agencies and planners should integrate the indigenous peoples’ traditional decision-making processes in their designs for participatory planning processes, when planning development projects. Also indigenous people should take responsibility to present their cultural methods to individuals and agencies involved in planning such development projects in their locale. This can lead to a change in the planning culture to engage in more organic, grassroots’ processes. Community-based, organic-design processes will significantly increase the likelihood of achieving the full potential of a plan in the short and long term.

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