China’s rapid economic growth demands corresponding changes in the planning of urban and rural development strategies. To ensure the stability of primary-level organizations, the strengthening of the democratic system at this level has become an important part of plans, with a view to increase people’s satisfaction by ensuring their rights to knowledge, participation, expression and supervision.
The problem now is that the public is not actively involved in the process of urban and rural planning. Besides, while some technical problems need to be solved by special authorities, they are not so well informed of the specific questions and the complex entanglement of interests.
Therefore, more active public participation is needed so that their demands can be fully understood, their information can be received and they can play a supervisory role.
To encourage public participation, four things must be stressed. First, the right to participate in all regions and by all people covered by the urban and rural planning must be ensured. Second, the public should participate in an orderly manner according to procedure. Third, the whole planning process should allow public participation, supported by an effective feedback mechanism. Fourth, the relevant planning authorities should always pay careful attention to public opinion and improve their work accordingly.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in People's Daily on September 3)