The landscape of cities in India today are ever-changing and in order to reach a solution it will be a 4D approach which will ensure the success of a city plan with long-term benefits, is the message which emerged from the panel discussion on “Changing landscapes of Urban Spaces” at the CII Annual Session 2017 held in New Delhi today.
Prof Anne Feenstra, Dean - Faculty of Architecture, CEPT emphasised that it is the Government which needs to delegate ownership to Industry and Academia such that collaborative solutions pave the way for a balanced approach towards urban space management. He went to add that simple but non-negotiable basic human rights such as access to clean water and air could be focused upon through such collaborative platforms. He also stressed on the fact that there should be intensive promotion of content and research based approach toward addressing urban space concerns and Industry and Academia could provide the right criterion to be able to solve at a large scale rather than at a reactionary level.
Mr Kiran Karnik, President – Governing Council, India Habitat Centre spelt out the glaring concerns of today’s urban spaces namely; neglect of pedestrian and the growing monetisation of land leading to the reduction of public spaces. Since there could be no quick fixes to solve this conundrum, he said that it the responsibility of the Leadership present in each City or State to implement the right policies for the benefit of the society as a whole while creating the right mechanism for addressing utilities and environment based concerns.
Suggesting the approach to urban infrastructure rather than a direct solution, Dr Gaurav Raheja, Associate Professor, Department Architecture & Planning & Joint Faculty, Centre for Excellence in Transportation Systems, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee said that human inclusion must be an integral consideration in infrastructure development. This essentially means that it must be sensitive to the needs of all segments viz. old, young and specially abled. With respect to the last segment, he said that accessibility services are very essential and the participatory model that can enable the same should be easy, long term and apply both technical and non-technical solutions.
Dr Raheja said that a two pronged approach would help iron out infrastructure issues - firstly create several pilot projects rather than one white elephant to create success stories and secondly adopting a governance model that can bring a transformational change. He also pointed out that there is a need for developing a parameter for measuring human space and engagement. Reiterating the importance of considering the human element in planning and designing urban spaces, he said that that sociology in space was more important than technology in space.
Mr Sunil Mathur, Managing Director & CEO, Siemens Ltd said that the approach to urban development has been ad hoc and not a planned one. While stressing upon the importance of a [participatory model for developing smart cities he said that globally many cities have adopted a consensus model whereby opinions of citizens were sought through action committees, which were later implemented. He said that many such groups are functional in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai and they need to be encouraged. Mr Mathur said that every city must have a CEO to take decisions and ensure implementation. He also made an observation that wherever the CM has a direct communication with Municipal Corporations and Chief Commissioners, a progressive urban management solutions move real quick and he cited the example of Pune.
Mr Vikram Chandra, Consulting Editor and Anchor, NDTV 24x7 who was the moderator for the session said that Smart Cities don’t just talk about internet but provides answers to issues like traffic management, rain water harvesting etc. Citizens’ involvement in Smart Cities movement is critical and it is they who must decide whether they want their city to be a residential, industrial or cultural hub.
28 April 2017