Participation of groups, regardless of race, gender, religious belief in the city planning should be considered an elementary right.
Discussion on this issue can be made from two aspects: as a fundamental right of the citizen to participate in decision-making for the area in which he/she lives, works and invests; as well as as an obligation of the Municipality to take the opinion and approval from taxpayers on any plan it creates or even it changes. Investments in public space by the municipality are investments from the budget created by taxes of citizens; therefore it is the duty of the municipality to involve its community in this process.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) offers a classification of civic participation by referring to the nature and direction of the relationship between government and citizens, as follows:
- Informing - a relationship with a direction in which the government only produces and provides information to its citizens.
- Consultation - a two-way relationship in which citizens can provide their ‘feedback’ to the government by contributing with their views and opinions.
- Active participation - a relationship based on co-governance, in which citizens engage in the decision-making process.