Challenges for community participation: managing an Urban Park

Published: 22 May 2015
Last edited: 13 February 2017
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Developing a Management Plan for a Urban Protected Area surrounded by poor communities dependent on the water supply of this Park. Added to the intrinsic problems of the area, the NPMC also lacked on public space and access.


Serra da Cantareira - Sítio Barrocada, São Paulo - State of São Paulo, Brazil


The scenery brought several challenges to build a participatory plan of management to the NPMC: illiteracy of some participants, drug issues, struggles between communities, lack of participatory culture (government and society), different park limits used by the managers, housing occupation of the park area, etc. Added to the intrinsic problems of the area, the NPMC also lacked on public space and access, and has private use by communication businesses (TV and radio channels). The Plan of Management team overcame the challenges by increasing the number of workshops foreseen, including participants of the communities and private sector in the participatory committee, decoding academic information into more suitable language, and taking in account all community claims. This process took nearly two years to be finished and the Plan of Management was concluded in 2011 with a great acceptance by all stakeholders. Protecting this area will protect the ecosystem services supplied by the urban park, such as water supply, species conservation, human well being (micro clima), recreation and cultural landscape.

Contributed by

Marinez Scherer

I am a university profesor at Santa Catarina Federal University, Brazil, and have been working with coastal areas management and ecosystem based management for more than 2o years. Some of my experiences are related to coastal and marine PA on the southern coast of Brazil.