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janv.282006

Diagnosis

"Diagnosis" is a carefully chosen word. It is more than a research, more than an analysis, more than a poll, more than a participative consultation process - it has to be all of that together, PLUS a common roadmap owned by all participants in an urban regeneration process and driven by appropriate decision and funding from the relevant authorities and the private sector. This is quite a mouth full of heavily laden statements. Let us  look nearer into it, bit by bit.

A diagnosis starts with an analysis of a neighbourhood, a community, in its urban context: data on real estate, roads, environment; data on economic activities, jobs; data on social and ethnic composition; etc. etc. But that is not enough for a diagnosis. A dialogue has to be established with the people who are concerned. Through that dialogue, the main problems and their remedies are inventorised. An ongoing process of definition of common (shared) views will facilitate a basic plan for intervention, that takes into account, what possibilities there are on a budgetary level. Common objectives are being stated and a process of 'ownership'-building (relevant persons and institutions take responsability for them) starts.

The dialogue goes on and deepens (more people will have more competencies), also after adoption of a plan and a budget. This reflects upon the diagnosis: It may change, as new problems and opportunities are discovered. A diagnosis is an ongoing process. In order to  enable local participants, team-members and relevant people on the adminitrative and political levels to see clear into the choices to be made at any moment, a participative evaluation system that shows the progress being made in relation tot the objectives, has to be established from the very beginning.

If and when an intervention into an urban situation of accumulating problems is diagnosis-based, it enables real participation by inhabitants, community-members and other interested groups, institutions and categories. It will be flexible as regards the planning and the budget-allocations. And it will generate an efficient transparency through a permanent and particpative evaluation process. [HR]

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