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Supervisions (1)

PhD in Disaster Management
Doctor of Philosophy

Level Doctor of Philosophy
Student Dr Devindi Geekiyanage
Status Complete
Part Time No
Years 2019 - 2023
Project Title A Holistic Approach for Fostering Community Engagement in The Decision-Making of Risk-Sensitive Urban Planning and Development
Project Description In the face of increasing extreme climate events, communities are often excluded from decision-making in urban planning, despite their tacit knowledge and experience in disaster response. This marginalisation poses a significant challenge in creating safe, resilient, and equitable cities (SDG 11). To address this, there is an urgent need for governments to introduce and enforce processes that allow citizens, including vulnerable communities, to participate in development planning. Based in Sri Lanka, this study provides a holistic approach to fostering community engagement in risk-sensitive urban planning and development (RSUPD). The study adopts a constructivist grounded theory strategy followed by multiple qualitative analyses. Through 17 expert interviews and focus-group discussions involving 27 community participants, six key themes were identified with their relationships, which are: barriers, enablers, stakeholders, best practices, participatory methods, and community transformation indicators. The total interpretive structural modelling and MICMAC analysis found that the absence of legal provisions for inclusive planning and political corruption are critical barriers to community engagement in RSUPD, while digital telecommunication infrastructure is a driving enabler. The social network analysis and stakeholder analysis shows that there is a need for the state agencies responsible for urban development and disaster management being accountable for promoting community engagement at the national level, while non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations have more power in empowering locals and therefore, they can play an active role in implementing inclusive RSUPD. The study found that the lead agency should select engagement methods based on project phases, purpose and objectives(s) of intended engagement, community context, scale, and local experience level. The study produced a four-stage theory of change: Setting-up community engagement through stakeholder collaboration; developing the participatory intervention; implementing the framed intervention; post-engagement community change evaluation using knowledge, attitude, and practice indicators. This comprehensive and holistic approach provides valuable practical guidance for implementing participatory development practices and evaluation by clarifying and detailing how community transformation and consequent system changes can emerge through inclusive development.
Awarding Institution The University of Salford
Director of Studies Terrence Fernando
Second Supervisor Kaushal Keraminiyage