Community Participation should be indispensible element in human settlements,especially in planning strategies and in formulation, implementation and management. It should influence all levels of Government in the decision making process to further the political, social and economic growth of Human settlements. This relates especially to low income and Cost Effective Housing projects denoting squatter settlement upgrading with site and service schemes.
In squatter settlement upgrading projects, the authorities regularize the illegal land tenure of squatters and provide basic infrastructure in the settlements. These interventions are expected to be sufficient incentives for the residents to start improving their houses. In sites-and-services schemes, the authorities provide serviced plots to the urban poor and expect them to produce their own houses, through individual or mutual self-help or the employment of small contractors. Participation assumes an activity in which the community takes part and the involvement of at least one other party, usually a government agency or a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Community participation is sometimes used to indicate community self reliance or self-help, i.e. an activity which is usually undertaken by a government agency, is undertaken by the community on its own (e.g. spontaneous housing).
The United Nations defined community development as "the processes by which the efforts of the people themselves are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities, to integrate these communities into the life of the nation and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress."