There were two workshops held in January of 2010, a four day one in Agonda and a short half day one in Parra.
The Panchayat of Agonda, in the southern Taluka of Canacona, hosted a four-day Sustainable Development Participatory Planning Workshop. The workshop was developed and facilitated jointly by students from Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE) along with students from Goa College of Architecture (GCA), in consultation and support from Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) represented by Father Maverick Fernandes, and from Agonda Panchayat, represented by the Sarpanch (elected head of the Panchayat) Mr. Jovi Fernandes. Together the teams formed a working group. Professors Suhas Gaonkar and Amit Parashar led the GCA team.
The project was structured so that the students would research sustainable development practices on selected topics, share their findings at the workshop and draw out people’s knowledge of their place, listing concerns and possible solutions, leading to recommendations.
Through an interactive process, the student facilitators aimed to assist Agonda to:
- have a shared understanding and a common ground
- establish a Vision
- develop preliminary recommendations for incorporation into a Development Plan
The Development Plan would be prepared by the Panchayat. The student project marked an initial stage in the planning process.
The working group narrowed down on a limited number of priority topics for Focus Group discussions, namely: Tourism, Economic Development, Farmland Conservation, Wastewater Management, Solid Waste Management, and Sustainable Design Guidelines. These discussions led to recommendations for future actions. Including, other topics that would need to be studied: Natural Resources and Watershed Protection, Access and Traffic Circulation, Housing, Health, Education, and Recreation.
TERI shared valuable insights and information on sustainable practices carried out by them. They provided critical feedback on the focused topics and shared their experience with Farmland Conservation, Solid Waste Management and Watershed Protection. Ms. Yogita Mehra and Mr. Mahambre from the Chorao Farmers Club presented their experiences on farmland conservation and value-adding measures to keep farming feasible as an economic development option. They inspired several recommendations and a proposal for the creation of a co-operative following the Chorao model, reflected in this report. Others who joined the workshop facilitation in Agonda were Mr. Miguel Braganza from Goa Bachao Abhiyan sharing the Nachinola Panchayat experience and Mr. Clinton Vaz from Green Goa on dealing with household waste.
Getting useful and timely data for planning analysis was necessary. Some base maps were available through the Town Planning Office and field photo-documentation was provided by the GCA team. More information was needed, so the Pratt team prepared two surveys – a Demographic Survey and a Resident Attitude Survey for Tourism Assessment. Timing was of the essence. Surveys had to be designed, reviewed by the Goa team, approved by the Agonda Panchayat, finalized and printed in time for CSJP and Agonda Sarpanch to train St. Anne’s high-school children and senior citizens to conduct a door-to-door survey during the Diwali holidays, photocopied and couriered back to New York for data entry and analyses, all well in time to be charted and incorporated within the workshop presentations for informed community decisions making.
Father Maverick’s vision of engaging St. Anne’s school children and senior citizens was successful. It helped raise community awareness and instill the concept of citizen participation early on for a future generation. Keeping a lively and festive atmosphere was important, as was providing a convenient venue for the participants. The workshop was held at the school auditorium with generous support from Father Mathews of St. Anne’s Parish.
Agonda has a Core Planning Committee (CPC) in place which includes a representative from each of the seven Wards. They submitted their needs statements in 2009 which were reflected on a hand-drawn mapped Plan. The mapped Plan indicates future growth and development sites. It is anticipated that a written Development Plan to accompany the map would be submitted by the summer of 2010. This report, Framework for Sustainable Development, can inform the preparation of Agonda’s Development Plan.
Participant Feedback (pdf)
After a warm welcome by members of Parra Panchyat and Communidad, students from Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment facilitated a SWOT Analysis exploring the Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats, followed by a Visioning Exercise for the Panchayat of Parra.
The workshop started with an overview of the planning process and a recap of the workshop conducted earlier in the week in Agonda. Participants were also introduced to the process of Design Guidelines which involved using interactive panels to rank the importance of selected design features.
The workshop concluded with a short presentation and interactive activity on design guidelines. It involved exploring street typologies, street infrastructure development, storm water management, and importance of preserving architectural character.
The summary report on the Parra workshop can be downloaded here.
Workshop Summary Presentation: Download as a PDF.