Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia
Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017
– Commentary by Eric Britton, Professor of Sustainable Development, Institut Supérieur de Gestion Paris
“Recommended reading for anyone who cares about Penang and Democracy”
The author, Dr. Minal Pathak, has done a very effective job in her investigation — and that at an important time in the struggle about the State government’s heavily contested “Transport Master Plan”. I particularly admire the way which she judiciously sticks with her scholarly plan of departure, namely to analyze and report calmly and with great balance on this as a clear example of Lessons from a stakeholder engagement process.
Dr. Pathak never take sides, which gives her instant credibility. And to me, that is what she has achieved here and to her great credit. And thus, because of this quiet balance, the reader believes her.
The video works very well too: again that same calm balance and the decision to bring in a wide variety of views. I must say that the balanced but really very hard-hitting words offered by Penang State Assemblywoman Dr. Norlela Arrifin sum up what I believe to be the core of the case very nicely: “To me this plan is really mind boggling. Why can’t we just take a step back and really talk with the public (from the beginning).”
Penang and the citizens of Penang owe a real debt of gratitude to the contribution of Dr. Pathak.
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Some useful references:
full MIT report is available here – https://goo.gl/aDshGa
• The video on MIT video channel here – https://vimeo.com/221918422
• Penang State Government’s Transport Master Plan – http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my/index.php/en/
• Google on the PTMP – https://goo.gl/BqjV6z
• Related videos: https://goo.gl/BgbywB
• World Streets Watching Brief on the Penang Challenge: https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/penang-challenge/
• Better Choices: Towards a New Mobility Agenda for Penang – https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang/
• Support Penang Transport Master Plan – https://www.facebook.com/PenangTransportMasterPlan/
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About the investigator:
Dr. Minal Pathak is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Planning at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Her areas of research include solutions that balance multi-dimensional sustainability objectives in Indian cities, transportation decarbonization, and mainstreaming climate change in urban development. Recent co-authored reports include the Earth Institute’s Second Assessment Report on Cities and Climate Change, Low Carbon Transport in India, Green Growth in Practice, and the UNEP Gap Report. She is part of the Technical Support Unit of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the IPCC. Dr. Pathak received her PhD in environmental science from Gujarat University in 2007.
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About the MIT- UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program
The MIT- UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP) is a five-year effort, initiated and run by faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Universiti of Teknologi of Malaysia (UTM), with generous support by the Ministry of Education Malaysia.
The MSCP mission is to study and document sustainable city development efforts in Malaysia. Visiting scholars from around the world spend September through December conducting research in Malaysia. They spend February through May at MIT developing research findings into instructional materials to enhance and extend the teaching of sustainable city development across universities in the global South. Each January, graduate students and faculty at MIT and UTM partner with UTM to study, review, and refine the direction of the research in progress. The MSCP is housed in the Science Impact Collaborative in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and the Institute Sultan Iskandar (ISI) at UTM.
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About the editor:
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Britton is an American political scientist and sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest book, "BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City" focuses on the subject of environment, equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions. A pre-publication edition of Better Choices is currently undergoing an international peer review during Sept.- Oct. 2017, with the goal of publication in English and Chinese editions by end-year. If you wish to participate drop a line to BetterChoices@ecoplan.org .