SIGUS: Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement
Thimphu, Bhutan, 2001

Bhutan Strategic Planning Workshops
Rapid Participatory Workshop Supporting World Bank Urban Program, Fall 2000

Pilot "charrettes" were held in two towns, Paro and Trongsa , to test consultative planning methodologies with stakeholders in establishing a strategic vision and specific goals for the towns. These are the first in a series planned for the ten towns under the Bhutan Urban Development Project, funded by the World Bank.

Participants included technical staff of the Urban Development and Housing Department, private professionals and practitioners, Dzongkhag officials (local governors), and town authorities, residents, schoolteachers, representatives from other institutions, government agencies, and the respective monk bodies. Outputs were grouped into longer-term strategies, and immediate short-term actions, which addressed pressing issues, were highly visible, and could be carried out with local resources. Growth options were explored, and consensus was reached on viable approaches.

It was encouraging to note the positive energy andenthusiasm in the workshops. Overall, the consultative planning process clearly proved to be a success, and substantive outputs resulted. Assumptions underlying consultative planning were validated. Local stakeholders provided invaluable inputs in understanding the local situation, provided alternative options not foreseen by solely technical inputs, and assumed 'ownership' of the process and outputs with its potential for long-term sustainability. Equally, staff of the UDHD provided welcome technical inputs in joint exploration of issues, and worked well with the local participants.

Project Report