Conversation with Assistant Executive Engineer – Engineering Department

  • Name: Ms. Shanta Panicker
  • Designation: Assistant Executive Engineer- Engineering
  • Training: Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • Institute: Administrative Staff College of India
  • Date: 22nd – 26th October 2018

You have recently attended a course on Leading with Emotional Intelligence. How was your experience?

It was good. The stay was comfortable; the institute had arranged our pickup from the airport and drop at the hostel. The sessions were interactive and highly informative.

By conducting some of the sessions in role-plays, they tried explaining us the kind of leaders we are, if we are task oriented or people oriented. For the role-playing exercise, two participants were asked to play the role of a boss and his subordinate. As per the scenario given to the participants, they developed a conversation to negotiate. In this case, it was about asking for a leave and if the boss should sanction it or not. The faculty analysed the conversation and commented if it was the proper way to negotiate or not. They emphasized that a boss should always be a good listener and should always give a chance to his subordinates to explain his point of view. They also commented that, when taking a leave, it is not a good practice to ask personal reasons of his/her sub-ordinates.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your day-to-day life personally as well as professionally?

To complete a task, the current practice in my department in CIDCO involves asking the time required by the subordinates, deciding the schedule accordingly and submitting it to the higher officer. The problem I face here is that, to finish the assigned tasks, my subordinates take more time than planned. So in any unprecedented event, it gets difficult to assign additional work to him or her as they already have some pending work. By attending this training programme, I feel more equipped in handling such situations. Now I listen to my subordinates patiently and decide accordingly.

During one of the training sessions, one of the faculty having worked in Australia said that we Indians are very emotional and are influenced easily. Therefore, there is a need for us to be more assertive and not let anyone take advantage of it. This training helps us handle situations like these and negotiate effectively.

Who all were the participants and how was your interaction with other participants?

The other participants were mostly from the public sector. We got along really well, we used to go out together and discuss serious matters as well.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular.

There was a very good case study on negotiation. For the exercise, two participants in the role of a buyer and a seller were selected, they were then asked to negotiate in a given scenario. Through the conversations, we learnt how to negotiate; it was an interesting exercise. We also learnt that sometimes if we cannot get the best deal then it is better to go for the second best. As of now, I do not deal with negotiations in CIDCO but in the future when I deal with situations that require negotiations, I am sure I will be able to handle it after this training.

How do you think CIDCO employees will benefit if they go for a similar course?

When I was working with the Data Centre, we had worked on tendering but never got the adequate response. I feel CIDCO needs to work on negotiations and hence, this training will help our officers to deal with negotiations. I suggest that CIDCO’s middle and higher-level managers dealing with local public should attend this training.

How is the programme different from other programmes you attended?

I have attended many technical courses in the past, so this time I decided to go for a managerial course and I must say I am fully satisfied with the training.

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Conversation with Marketing Manager – Marketing Department

  • Name: Ms. Margaja Kiran Killekar
  • Designation: Marketing Manager II- Marketing II
  • Training: Creativity, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Institute: Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
  • Date: 26th – 30th November 2018

You have recently attended a course on Creativity, Problem Solving and Decision Making. How was your experience?

I have attended a training from IIML earlier as well. Just like the previous trainings, this was equally good. They have an excellent faculty. The main topics covered during the course were understanding problem solving and decision making process, ways to analyse a situation, understanding an alternate thinking process, benefits of solving problems, identifying and overcoming the barriers in the decision-making process, leadership and more. The activities in this training included projects, activities, group discussions and problem solving.

Among all the activities, a group assignment was given to us. The activity involved making a tower from minimum cost and achieving maximum benefits ins a limited time frame. We had to purchase things for the project and complete it. Mr. Sanjay, an IAS officer gave an excellent lecture. A movie on 26/11 was screened and explained in detail. A half day tour of the city along with the guide was an icing on the cake.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your day to day life personally as well as professionally?

After attending this training, I feel more confident in completing my tasks at work. Recently, I had a meeting at CMs office and I was confident enough to face the issues discussed in the scheduled meeting. I can feel these changes in myself after the training. My personality has developed and I am more positive towards my professional life. Now I can proudly say that I am becoming a good manager day by day.

Who all were the participants and how was your interaction with other participants.?

There was a mix of public and private sector, participants were from Coast Guard, BPCL, Banks, etc. All the participants were very friendly and supportive. Knowledge sharing and Hand-holding among the participants also took place. I come to know about the working style of other organizations.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular.

Groups of two participants were made for an assignment on leadership style. One was asked to be a leader and the other one as a follower. The follower was blind folded and had to follow the instructions from the leader. This act helped us to learn that one should believe, listen and follow his leader to achieve success in any team work or project.

How do you think if other CIDCO employees go for similar course would be benefitted?

I definitely recommend this course to all CIDCO officers especially DO and above.

How is the programme different from other programmes you attended?

I have attended many trainings in the past and two trainings through Ujjwal in IIMA and IIML. The arrangement and assistance provided by Ujjwal training cell is really appreciable and certainly trainings in IIMs are the best.

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Conversation with Development Officer – CUC

  • Name: Mr. Vishal Dhage
  • Designation: Development Officer – CUC
  • Training: The winning edge: communication strategy for leaders
  • Institute: Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  • Date: 24th– 29thSeptember 2018

You have recently attended a course on The Winning Edge: community strategy for leaders. How was your experience?

Just like any other management student, I also wanted to get admission in IIMA but didn’t succeed. Therefore, when I came to know about CIDCO’s training portal and IIMA as one of their empanelled institutes, I decided to apply for a training there.

The best part of the training was that it was really exhaustive and hectic; they never gave us enough time to catch our breath. The assignments were emailed to us prior to the starting of the course. To prepare for the sessions in advance, the faculties used to provide the study materials a day before. They instructed us to do group discussions based on the study material given. This used to set the tone of discussions the next day.

When asked to gather at the reception, the chair of the course arrived 5 minutes earlier. Things like thesemade us understand the importance of time management andset the tone for the rest of the training. All the sessions started punctually as per the schedule, they were very interactive and based on case studies. However, the lectures usually extended to longer hoursthan the given schedule.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your day-to-day life personally as well as professionally?

Yes, it has changed my thought process in many aspects. I work in the anti-encroachment department; when I go for a demolition drive, I face many people trying to oppose the drive. Being a leader of a team of 50 personnel  I need to be very cautious about every decision I make. There has been cases where I have taken decisions that were the need of the hour. This course gives us the capability to take such quick decisions. With the help of the skills acquired, I am able to take decisions that saves my team from any sensitive situation and enables them to vacate an area peacefully.

Persuasion was another aspect I learnt. For example, instead of writing a letter and simply marking it to the concerned person, I now keep track of all the letters and follow it up regularly. I am observing this one change in me after the training. I am now more enthusiastic for my job and my duties.

Who all were the participants and how was your interaction with other participants?

People from both private and public sector attended the course. People from CSR, senior level officials and other diverse fields were also there. My group of five people had equal distribution from both the sectors.We came to know a lot about each other’s work culture.

By interacting with the participants from the private sector, I came to know about their impression of how public sector works. It was clear that the basic functioning may be different but taking the right decisions is necessary in both the sectors.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular.

After completing my five days course, I felt that I have achieved many things that I had missed earlier. The training gave me an alternate ideology and changed my thought process completely. We learnt to look at every angle and always be aware of our surroundings.

There was a case study regarding ethical values thatincludedtender processing. We were divided into four groups and each group had adifferent opinion about that case. Finally, the outcome of the case was very different from what we thought. That was the kind of content, faculty and the level of participation present during the training.  The design of the case studies majorly accommodated the needs of the private sectors, however, a few case studies on ethics and values were relevant with both the sectors.

A case study based on a Marathi story came up on the kind of leadership quality that particular person had. The movie “Invictus” based on the life of Nelson Mandela was screened. They helped us learn the traits of the characters. In these interactive sessions, we discussed our perspective about the movie with the fellow participants and eventually concluded around a common understanding.  Active knowledge sharing and mixing happened during the training.

How do you think other CIDCO employees would benefit if they went for a similar course?

It is difficult to explain my experience from this training. Even if the fees of the courses is expensive, any person from management should attend at least one course offered by IIMA. In my opinion, all the senior officers in CIDCO should attend a training in IIMA.

How is the programme different from other programmes you attended?

Due to IIMA’s intense course structure, we never got a chance to explore the city. We stayed in the campus for the entire duration. However, I must emphasize that these five days added a lot of value in my career.There was a lot to take-away that I feel was missing in the other trainings I attended earlier.

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Conversation with Development Officer – Engineering Department

  • Name: Mr. Pramod Thakare
  • Designation: Development Officer – Engineering
  • Training: Creativity, Reinvention and Self Development for Global Managers
  • Institute: – Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
  • Date: 12th – 16th November 2018

You have recently attended a course on Leading with Creativity, Reinvention and Self Development for Global Managers. How was your experience?

I am thankful to Ujjwal for giving me an opportunity to attend this training programme. The training was managed really well by the director of the institute. During the training, I realized that the institutes tries to connect the participants with the society instead of creating machine like managers. The Government of India identifies the importance of including emotional and spiritual management in the curriculum of a management institute; IIMB is one of the institutes that includes it in their syllabus.

The training programme started with campus orientation followed by a task where we had to introduce ourselves. A questionnaire was shared with us and we prepared a presentation based on our answers. In the introduction everyone talked about themselves, their professional achievements, future goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc. This session made us aware of others name, his or her achievements, strengths and weaknesses; it helped us in interacting with each other.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your day-to-day life personally as well as professionally?

Definitely. This training enhances our management skills. Currently, I am handling a team and also report to the higher management. So at times I work as a mediator and my role is to get the work done from my subordinates. All the members in my team are different, so I have to analyse their strengths and weaknesses before giving them any task. Without that one cannot optimally utilized their subordinates. After attending this training, I now study my team and distribute work accordingly for an effective output.

Who were the other participants and how was your interaction with other participants?

Except me, most of the participants were located around Bangalore and were from the private sector. After giving my presentation the other participants were astonished to know about the amount of work I have done and the work culture in government sector. They really appreciated my presentation. Most of the government organisations believe in a hierarchy and gives very little liberty to its employees, but CIDCO on the other hand believes in an open environment and gives a lot of liberty to its employees. Approaching the higher management is relatively easier here.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular.

One of the faculties started the lecture by telling his own life’s story. It was very inspirational to know about him, how he was directed to spirituality and how he found his guru/guide. Most of his lecture put emphasis on spiritual learning stating example from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.  He explained role of Krishna and Rama as managers.

How do you think other CIDCO employees would benefit if they went for a similar course?

Yes, I definitely recommend this course to all senior employees of CIDCO as they belong to the top management and are actively involved in decision making.

How is the programme different from other programmes you attended?

Many trainings that I attended in the past were technical. This was the first time I went for a management programme. This training helped me analyse and improve myself; it definitely helped me in developing my personality. This training taught us not to work as a machine and become good managers.

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Public Open Spaces and Sustainable Development Goals

Coherence of SDGs with Public Open Spaces: Targets, Actions and Benefits

Public spaces, the heart of urban areas, are the key part of building inclusive, healthy, functional and productive cities.  They can act as strong tools in sustainable development by providing environmental, social, economic and health benefits to the city. Public Open Space help achieve safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities and have been identified as a specific target under the 11th SDG. The data sheet here represents the potential of public spaces to contribute to several sustainable development goals. The inner most circle in the wheel shows the SDGs related with public spaces. The middle circle represents the specific targets of the respective SDGs that can be achieved through public spaces development. The outermost circle shows the benefits on the basis of three categories of public spaces markets, open spaces and streets. The suggested actions to obtain these results are shown outside the wheel connected with the respective SDGs.

Reference
Sustainabledevelopment.un.org. (2019). SDGs .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. [online] Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs [Accessed 7 Jan. 2019].
Daniel, K. (2016). Public Spaces: A key tool to achieve the sustainable development goals. HealthBridge.

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Potential of Urban Agriculture under Transmission lines: Case-Study of Agro Garden in Navi Mumbai

Introduction

Urban agriculture as a concept is often employed to address social and environmental sustainability in cities. The activities involve producing, processing and distributing food and other agricultural products complimented by recreational, educational and social values additions. The importance of urban agriculture is increasingly being recognized by international organizations like UN-Habitat and FAO. Urban Agriculture helps in:

(1) Enhancing urban environmental management (Environmental Sustainability)

  • Sustainable land management method.
  • Greening and cleaning of the city by turning derelict open spaces into green zones.
  • Productive reuse of urban wastes by turning them into a productive resource.
  • Contribution to Urban Ecology by improving microclimate and providing habitat to biodiversity.
  • Reduces the risk of groundwater pollution, while also sequestering carbon in the soil.
  • Reinventing the human relationship with nature through environmental awareness.

(2) Turning urban challenges into opportunities (Economic Sustainability)

  • UA is an exceptional public involvement based solution, which works as a complementary strategy to reduce urban poverty.
  • Create sufficient formal employment opportunities for the poor.
  • UA contributes to local economic development, poverty alleviation and social inclusion of the urban poor and women in particular.

(3) Functioning as a Platform for social integrity (Social Sustainability)

  • UA is a multitasking activity, which requires active and passive public participation at different stages for its success.
  • Contributes to Urban Food security and nutrition. Locally, seasonally grown food is richer in flavor and has more nutrients.
  • Communities involved in UA manifest higher social integrity as they work towards common good, which eventually bestow them with higher quality of life.
CIDCO’s Policy for lands below Transmission Line

To encourage public participation in land development and management, CIDCO in 1998 came up with a policy for allotment of land falling under Power Corridor (MSEB) and land falling under Service Corridor. Certain parcels of land under Right of Ways (RoW) for power transmission line cannot be termed as developable land as per the provisions of Navi Mumbai Disposal of Land Regulation, 1975 and have been disposed-off for its potential utilization. This innovative policy allows to utilize such underutilized land parcels on Leave and License basis for development of gardens/nurseries/farmlands at a nominal rent of Rs. 100/- per annum. It keeps these lands free from encroachment and develops greenery to create an ambience for recreational activities and relaxation. Moreover, transmission lines passing through the nodes make undevelopable and unaffordable urban land available for neighbourhood to cultivate. Total 168 plots were leased out to different communities/ trusts/societies, where Urban Agriculture and allied activities turned out to be most sustainable utilization.

This article discusses a pre-eminent example of urban agriculture on land below power transmission line in Navi Mumbai. This project works in line with the objectives of CIDCO’s policy and also serves a greater purpose of achieving environmental, economic and social sustainability at community level. The case studies are analysed on three aspects:

  • Economic Sustainability
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Social Sustainability

CASE STUDY – Agro Garden by CBD Residents’ Agro Society

Plot no. C-13 | Sector- 9 | CBD Belapur

CBD Resident’s Agro Society, a non-profit organization established as Citizen’s Effort for protection and conservation of sensitive eco-system came up with an idea to create a multipurpose public space on the foothills of Valley Park. This park is capable of inculcating community farming and gardening culture along with raising environmental sensitivity amongst the citizen. It also keeps the land clear from encroachment. The park covering nearly 1 Ha (9507 Sq.m.) barren patch of land falling under power transmission RoW is being transformed into a fertile terraced farm and garden.

The Agro Garden is broadly divided into 4 segments: Vegetable garden and Orchard, Butterfly Park and Botanical Garden, Senior Citizen Park and Children’s Playground. Rest of the peripheral area is kept intact with natural vegetation. Each segment serves a critical role in this sustainability model.

Image 1: Satellite image of Agro garden showing of Multi-purpose Segments

Activities:

Activities like horticulture, agriculture, awareness drives, socio-cultural events and educational tours performed in the Agro garden creates activities and gives a local flavour to this transformed urban space. Through multiple uses of different segments and overall benefits gained through them safeguard the social, economic and environmental sustenance of the community.

 

Figure 1 – Activities in the four zones of the Agro Park and the economic model

Organic fruits and vegetables are produced in Vegetable Garden and Orchard; nature trails and informative walks are organized for children and nature lovers at Botanical Garden add meaning to spaces. Butterfly Park, Senior Citizen Park and Children’s Playground possesses multipurpose behaviour of space which apart from daily activities are suitable for cultural events too.

Economic Sustainability

The garden balances the social activities and the revenue generation through its financial sustainability model. Moreover, the garden provides employment to the agricultural workers deployed in Agro Garden. The self-sustaining model of the Agro Garden reduces the load of financial contribution on the member residents, this makes it easier for them to voluntarily contribute towards development of the garden. The revenue is generated from educational tours, vegetables and fruits sales, renting spaces for socio-cultural events, entry fees, donations, etc. If the expenses for the year are not recovered, society members contribute the remaining amount for maintenance and development.

Figure 2: Model for recovery of expenditure

Environmental Sustainability

The actions to preserve the environmental sustainability works around four parameters, each of them having their own contribution, they are:

  1. Land transformation: Habitat creation and restoration: Combined efforts has transformed this unfertile land into a fertile and productive resource. The botanical garden provides a favourable niche for the survival of rare species of plants. Successful habitat restoration for birds and reptiles has been done there. The botanical garden houses species of host and nectar plants, which provides food and shelter to almost 30 butterfly species. The butterfly park successfully contributes in habitat creation.
  2. Composting: Urban waste management and manure production: Neighbourhood residents convert their household wet waste into compost and reduce load on municipal landfill.
  3. Organic Farming: Reduce food footprint and provide healthier food: Cultivation of seasonal fruits and vegetables with organic farming techniques has been the most popular venture. Community farming in a city helps in reducing food footprint of a neighbourhood. To economize on water, the society has developed independent water source by digging a well and irrigation is done by means of sprinklers and drip irrigation.
  4. Conservation Education: Environmental awareness and conservation, eco-tourism: Students, enthusiasts and researchers visit this garden to observe botanical wealth and butterfly lifecycle. It encourages environmental awareness and eco-tourism.Children, elders and educational trips promotes sensitivity towards conservation of natural heritage.

Image 2: Vegetable farming on stepped terrain

Image 3: Organic vegetables purchase by nearby residents

 

Environmental Awareness Programmes like Basant Utsav are organised by the Agro Society. These programs spread environmental awareness amongst citizens of Navi Mumbai through various workshops on topics like, eco-friendly domestic waste management, sheet mulching, vermi composting, bonsai, kitchen garden, snake protection and awareness, plant and flower show, nature trails, etc.

Social Sustainability

Public participation plays a vital role in Agro Park’s social sustainability initiatives. The public participation takes place on two levels explained here:

  1. Passive Public Participation by contributing towards judicial use of the public space and enabling multipurpose use by bringing diverse population together: Events organized in Agro Garden attract people from different parts of the city, they come together mostly for learning and recreation. Community gatherings and social events serve dual purpose of revenue generation and social integrity. Within the garden, there is also a dedicated space for senior citizens.
  2. Active Public Participation by:
  • Encouraging Functional Participation in groups to meet predetermined objectives related to a project after major decisions have been made.
  • Encouraging Interactive Participation in joint analysis, development of action plans, and formation or strengthening of local institutions.
  • Mobilizing Participation by taking initiatives independent of external institutions to change systems. They develop contacts with external institutions for resources and the technical advice they need, but retain control over how resources are used.

Image 4: Botany expert Dr. Bhagwat participating in one of the nature trails

The participation of public in decision-making and maintenance creates a sense of unity and responsibility towards community development and nurtures social integrity. Combining the multiple initiatives and citizens’ contribution together works forward in upgrading citizens’ quality of life.

Conclusion

Case-studies like these apprehend that urban agriculture is beyond growing the food; it also creates recreational, educational and employment opportunities to the urban population. It also contributes by using under-utilised lands below transmission lines. Urban agriculture solves dual purpose of environmental sustainability and enhancing quality of life of residents under Smart Cities initiative, it also addresses Smart City feature of preserving and developing open spaces in sustainable way. Surprisingly, some of the activities and features proposed in Langley Urban Agriculture Demonstration Project report are already being practiced at Agro Garden and KKVP Nursery cum Information Centre by virtue of public interest.

For urban agriculture to flourish, public action groups seek encouragement and support from the local government. City’s municipal corporation and the planning authority can support citizen action groups through functional reforms such as assuring long-term tenure, performance based assessment and incentives, promotion of events and awareness programmes organized in such projects citywide. Encouragement can be sought by making more land resources available to the communities in neighbourhood with simplified procedure for lease application and renewal. Leasing the plots to citizen in adjacent neighbourhoods is beneficial as the accountability for maintenance and benefits enjoyed remains with the community.

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Transforming a Landfill Site: Case Study of Koparkhairane’s Nisarg Udyan

Urban decision makers, often consider adaptive reuse of abandoned or formerly contaminated lands, such as former military bases, brownfields and landfills, while looking for more parkland for social, environmental or economic activities. These land uses provide the required land acreage in close proximity to urban settlements and play a role in establishing the identity of a sustainable city (Vogt, 2015). Around the world, landfill sites have been the focus of urban redevelopment projects as seen in Millennium Park in Boston, Slushing Meadows-Corona Park and Freshkills Park in New York City and World Cup Park in South Korea.

In Indian context, the Nisarg Udyan (Nature Park) in Koparkhairane, Navi Mumbai is one of the better examples of urban space transformation project improving the quality of life of the residents. The park serves as a recreational space for the citizens as well as a safe niche for the bio-diversity. Spread over an area of 17 Ha, this park was a landfill until 1999. After 19 years, it has transformed into an appealing recreational space. This article further discusses the case study of Nisarg Udyan and its transformation process.

Figure 1: Layout of Nisarg Udyan at Koparkhairane, Navi Mumbai

The transformation process

The transformation of this area initiated in order to address the grievances of the residential population near Koparkhairane landfill area. This initiative was in accordance to the instructions given by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and directives of the High Court (Ljiljana & Sanjay, 2012).

Scientific closure of this dumping ground containing 20 lakhs M.T garbage was completed by NMMC in 2008. A network of wells was laid to collect trapped landfill gas (LFG) and a flaring unit was installed at the site to burn the LFG. A leachate collection tank was also constructed to collect the leachate and treat it before disposal. Treated sewage water from the sewerage treatment plant is now being used for watering the lawn through a sprinkler system.

The development of the park happened in three phases:

  • Phase 1 – In the process of converting the open dump yard into a garden, grass layer of 22000 sq. mt. area was laid during 2013-2014.
  • Phase 2 – A jogging track was set up for the citizens residing in the nearby localities.
  • Phase 3 – Infrastructure like public convenience, pergolas, dedicated sitting areas and open gym were constructed.

 

 

Image 1: Before and after transformation of Nisarg Udyan. Source: NMMC Solid Waste Dept.

Value addition under TERI’s Eco-City Project

Navi Mumbai Eco-City Project was launched with a vision to develop Navi Mumbai as India’s first Eco City. It worked on the principles of sustainable development through implementing low carbon consumption strategies and appropriate utilization and conservation of natural resources. TERI WRC has signed MoU with NMMC in 2012 to set up projects under Eco-City Programme with focus on biodiversity conservation, green buildings, urban farming, energy and water conservation.

To create environmental awareness, 15 lecterns and 4 large boards were installed in Nisarg Udyan, having information about biodiversity in the locality such as birds, butterflies, sparrows and mangroves.

Image 2: Informative lecterns at Nisarg Udyan. Sources: Completion report of installation of Biodiversity panels and Lecterns at Nisarg Udyan, Koparkhairne, Navi Mumbai, TERI

What does the space offer?

The park offers scope for many activities and opportunities for ecological conservation, some of them are mentioned below:

Active and Passive Recreation

The park has ample spaces for active and passive recreation. The active spaces include uninterrupted pathways, long spread lawns, open air gymnasium, indoor recreation arena, etc. People regardless of their age or gender use the space for jogging, morning/evening walks, yoga, sports, etc. Passive spaces like covered (Pergolas) and non-covered sit outs are popular amongst elders. Emphasis on providing infrastructure like clean public toilet, storm water drainage and providing adequate lighting is taken.

Image 3, 4, 5 & 6: Different cases of Citizens engaged in different activities

Niche for Biodiversity

Natural vegetation (mangroves and mangrove associates) around landscaped area houses several resident and migratory bird species such as Egrets, Yellow Wagtail, Brown Shrike, Black Drongo, Red Munia, Prinias, etc. The park provides grassland, woody and wetland habitat for other species like Jackals as well.

Image 7: congregation of Little Egrets in Nature Park

Water conservation

To tackle the challenge of maintaining such a large area, reuse of treated water is implemented assuring environmental sustainability. As per NMMC, 205 MLD sewage undergoes treatment every day and discharges 202 MLD treated water into the sea. Around 2 MLD treated water from the adjacent STP is used for irrigation in Nisarg Udayan (The Indian Express, 2018).

Impacts

The impact analysis of Nisarg Udyan was done on similar lines of Day’s Sequential Model of Decision Making (1992). The model (also known as AIDA: Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) is often used in marketing to describe the steps a customer takes in the process of purchasing a product. According to the four steps of AIDA:

  1. A person first acquires information about the place
  2. He/She develops interest
  3. The person develops a desire to visit and
  4. Finally takes an action, i.e. visiting the park.

Similar to the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985), AIDA model provides framework for understanding phases of cognitive process that simulates behavioural reactions. A similar study was also done by Vogt, et al. (2015) to assess the success of Freshkills Park, New York. They examined the impacts of proximity and experience with the local history.

Figure 2: Sequential Model of Decision Making. Source – AIDA

On similar lines, responses of residents to the transformation of Nisarg Udyan were assessed. It was found that responses about the space before the transformation were only negative, owing to the foul smell, pollution and the unhygienic surroundings. Only after 2008, when the residents realized (attention) that the transformation process has been completed, they developed an interest to witness the difference. Influenced by the quality of transformed space and its benefits, they developed a desire to visit again. After being familiar, they indulged in healthy actions at the park as a part of their daily routine.

This park is a good example of creating a productive land use out of underutilized land. Proximity plays an important role here, since the group of people who once complained about the waste dump-yard gained maximum benefits after the transformation. As this is the largest park within Koparkhairane and Ghansoli nodes, people within 2-3 km proximity tend to visit Nisarg Udyan frequently for recreation. This project also highlights the importance of complimenting land uses towards alleviating the lifestyle of the residents in a city.

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The Economy of Public Markets: Case study of Pike Place Market, Seattle

Introduction

Sustainability and quality of public spaces depend on the financing model used for their creation, management and maintenance. As public spaces have direct effects on attractiveness of cities and increase of property values, many theories consider local governments as the principal stakeholders investing in public place projects (UCLG, 2016). However, responsibility of management of public spaces should not be vested with the local government alone.

Public space entities rely on one or more revenue sources such as economic development organisations, merchant’s associations, universities, non-profit informal volunteer groups, daily visitors, commuters, etc. (Trudeau, 2017). As public funding for building and maintaining public spaces is inadequate in many communities (Nagel, 2017), cities strive to approach with innovative funding sources to supplement the local budget (UCLG, 2016; Action Canada, 2015). Each public space has its own model for funding and management specific to their needs and vision. This article concentrates on public markets and will discuss the case study of Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Models of funding and management of public spaces

Models of funding can be generally grouped under three categories (Stavel, 2017):

  1. Institution based – where institution(s) and/or city is responsible,
  2. Public Private Partnership – where corporate partners or a group of stakeholders are responsible and
  3. Grassroots Partnership – where volunteer led community groups are responsible.

Figure 1: Categories of models of funding. Source: Greenest City Scholars

The eight models of funding identified by CABE space, London are (CABE Space, 2006):

  1. Traditional local authority funding – by the local authority from its general revenue budget.
  2. Multi-agency public sector funding – by two or more government departments or agencies (health, crime, education, etc.) to meet cross-cutting targets.
  3. Taxation initiatives – from levies on properties or tax credits.
  4. Planning and development opportunities – funding ensured by planning agreements for new commercial and residential developments.
  5. Bonds and commercial finance – from loans repaid by local businesses or residents.
  6. Income generating opportunities – from revenue income such as licensing and franchising, sponsorship, entry fees and fines, etc.
  7. Endowments – long-term funding from the interest gained on investments in assets such as property or the stock market.
  8. Voluntary and community sector involvement – funds raised by non-profit organisations.

In addition to the above, models such as event based, self-governing special assessment districts, etc. are also identified as innovative mechanisms. It is possible for two or more financing models to co-exist in a single project (San Francisco Planning, 2016). Therefore, it is important to understand how the economics of a public space is managed, where multiple sources of funding and multiple financing models generally co-exist.

The Economic Value of a Public Space

A high-quality public space has significant impact on the economic life of urban centres (CABE Space, n.d.). The direct economic benefits of public spaces are (CABE Space, n.d.; Bennete, 2016):

  • Property value adjacent to a park or green space increases,
  • Businesses prefer locations adjacent to public spaces,
  • Footfall in local retail increases

and indirect benefits are:

  • Positive impact on general, physical and mental health reduces the public health care cost
  • Energy saving through natural ventilation, etc.

Public markets as public spaces

Public markets, generally owned and operated by public or non-profit entities, are intentional and diverse combination of shops/ stalls serving a community’s daily shopping needs and showcasing its culture. They typically sell locally grown or produced commodities (Zaretsky, 2017).

Public markets are always relevant to planners seeking a multipurpose tool for social, economic and community development. For example, the Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market is a municipal policy tool established to address unemployment, enhance food security and incorporate new immigrants (Morales, 2009). Similarly, the Portland Public Market House, Maine set in two levels of a mixed use building provides a neighbourhood meeting place, serves local cuisine prepared in a community kitchen and thereby benefitting the local economy (Barron, 2016).

Public markets help in improving the quality of life of a community (Pps.org, 2010). They provide benefits to urban land markets, community health, ecology, environment, expansion of businesses and promote income-earning opportunities (Morales, 2009; IPM, n.d.)

Figure 2: Benefits of public markets. Source: Project for Public Spaces

Dilli Haat, New Delhi is an example of urban transformation of a leftover urban space to an active public space. Managed by Delhi Tourism and Delhi Municipal Corporation, it sells artefacts, local food and serves as space for cultural activities (Raheja, Borgmann and Pillai, 2015).

Generally, the funding and management of public markets is based on multi-agency public sector or non-profit organisation models. The case study explained here is a long term success story of the Pike Place Market in Seattle which has an innovative funding and stewardship model to follow.

Case study of Pike Place Market, Seattle

The Pike Place Market is located in the Belltown neighbourhood of Seattle, Washington, USA opened in 1907. It won the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 1987 (Langdon, 1990). The market (CNT, 2010):

  • acts as small business incubator (occupies over 300 small businesses)
  • improves economic development
  • connects local farmers to consumers (130 stalls for local producers)
  • provides social services like medical clinic, preschool, etc.
  • provides affordable housing
  • improves community cohesion
  • preserves historic buildings
  • acts as tourist spot
Funding and management

The Pike Place Market is run by ‘Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority’ (PDA) since 1973 (CNT, 2010). PDA is a non-profit, public corporation chartered by the City of Seattle in 1973 to manage 80% of the properties in the nine-acre Market Historical District. PDA acts as a public steward to the market whose council members are appointed by the Mayor, making it more accountable and transparent (Turnbull, 2016).

Over 60% of revenues for the functioning of the market are derived from the tenants through rent, utilities, and other property management activities (CNT, 2010). The remaining 40% is from investments and bonds. About 75% of budgeted expenses is for the tenant services such as maintenance and security to insurance, utilities, and property management. Another 14% is for PDA management and administration and 10% for marketing and other programmatic expenses (Turnbull, 2016).

Figure 2: Sources of Revenues and Expenses of PDA. Source: What Pike Place teaches us about place governance, 2016

The PDA has now started utilising bonds for the construction of new ‘Market front Expansion’. A part of the Funding is allocated for the affordable housing construction. In 2017, the market generated total revenue of $18,821,615 and a 4% increase in commercial retail sales compared to the previous year (PDA, 2017).

Impacts of a transformative public market

In due course of time, Belltown neighbourhood changed from a low rent, semi-industrial arts district to a place hosting trendy restaurants, boutiques, night clubs, residential towers, warehouses and art galleries (CNT, 2010). The market itself has expanded to more levels and now also occupies antique shops, comic book sellers, etc. The public market district has become a strong neighbourhood community providing homes for nearly 500 low-income seniors. It also provides services like medical clinic mostly serving poor, HIV positive, elderly or differently abled patients. Friends of Market, Historical Commission, Pike Place Merchants’ Association, Market Foundation, etc. are a few of the community partnerships/ collaborations existing in the market (CNT, 2010). It has formed a new public plaza as part of the market front expansion adding up to socially active public spaces in the city.

Image 1: Pike Place Market in 1920s

Image 2: Front view of Pike Place Market in 2017. Source (image 1 & 2): pikeplacemarket.org

Similar example

Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Detroit, a public market for local produce, food and crafts, is owned by the City of Ann Arbor and run by the Parks and Recreation Department. 1/3rd of the market’s operating cost is from City’s General Fund and 2/3rd from vendors’ fees making it a good institution based funding model. Eastern Market in Detroit has 70 % of its funding covered by vendors’ fee and rest by the city. It utilises private funding from companies like W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The market is run by a board of directors from private, public and non-profit sectors (CNT, 2010).

Image 3: View inside Ann Arbor Farmers Market, Detroit. Source: annarborchronicle.com

Image 4: Easter Market, Detroit. Source: detroit.curbed.com

Conclusion

The case study of Pike Place Market shows that public markets benefits in many ways:

  • by connecting local farmers with the consumers directly,
  • creating jobs, and
  • providing active public spaces.

They provide economic development, community cohesion and overall social development. PDA Council utilised the revenue from rental sources for meeting the expenses in operation and maintenance of the market. In addition, using revenue surplus and bonds for new developments, makes it a sustainable model.

Similarly, Ann Arbor Farmers Market and Eastern Market are run by institutions of public-private partnerships and uses vendors’ fee to generate revenue. It is evident from the three cases that non-profit institution based stewardship model can be adopted for the management of urban public markets. If India’s traditional public market culture is augmented with similar management concepts, it can have positive impact on the city’s economy. Such new and innovative funding and stewardship solutions are necessary to sustain any public space in cities around the world.

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Public Spaces as Promoters of Equity and Social Inclusion: Case Study of Libraries and Cultural Festivals

As cities grow and densify, access to well-designed pleasant public spaces has not only become an important asset but a challenge for the poor, minorities and vulnerable groups. These groups include urban residents lacking quality and comfort in their housing, and therefore in need of decent infrastructure and communal spaces for health, recreation and socialization (Garau, 2015). Socially excluded category often include, poor, migrants, refugees, transgenders, elders, etc. In this context, social equity refers to provision of generous and good quality public spaces in order to make it accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds regardless of their class, age, gender, race or ethnic differences. Public spaces act as promoters of equity and social inclusion by making space for people from all social classes to interact and thereby reducing the economic and social segregation prevalent in a society (UCLG, 2016). Informal economy nurture in these places and should be dealt carefully to provide space for entrepreneurship (UNESCO, 2017).

While planning for inclusive cities, adequate housing, well-connected public transport and accessible public spaces should be integrated. It is essential to focus on (UCLG, 2016):

  • Rebuilding districts in an integrated way
  • Providing disadvantaged urban areas with quality public spaces
  • Promoting mixed use land use
  • Encouraging social mixing in housing
  • Removing architectural barriers that isolate certain areas

In this article, we look into role of libraries and cultural festivals in promoting equity and social inclusion in public spaces through a few case examples.

Libraries as inclusive public spaces

Public libraries are traditionally regarded as information and resources centres. Since information is widely accessible online today, the traditional role of libraries has now changed to play an important role as community spaces (Tan, 2017). They are meant as a pivot for information, learning and cultural discourse (Civica, 2016). As show in the following figure, users perceive libraries as the heart of the community and a place to connect with people (Civica, 2016).

Figure 1: Role of public libraries in users’ perception. Source: ‘The value of libraries as public spaces’ – Civica[1]

Having a vast amount of users, libraries act as socially inclusive public spaces by engaging all excluded groups to the community. Importance of provision of public libraries is identified by many local governments as an inclusive planning strategy to revitalise and transform communities (Hin Man, 2007).

Case 1: Biblioteca Espana, Medellın, Colombia

Medellin, the capital of Antioquia province, Columbia, is often described as a violent city owing to the series of political and drug related events happened over the last two decades. It is home to many Columbians internally displaced by political violence who are socially excluded in terms of access to basic civic amenities and public spaces (Holmes and Pineres, 2013). Despite the city’s history of conflicts, Medellin also has been recognised for its proactive efforts to use public spaces as a tool for quality of life improvement (Sertich, 2010).

Image 1: View of Biblioteca Espana with the settlements in background. Source: architizer.com

Image 2: Front view of Biblioteca Espana. Source: architizer.com

Biblioteca Espana (Spain Library Park) was a part of the mayor’s social inclusion program that targeted two of the poorest and most isolated neighbourhoods of the city – ‘Popular’ and ‘Santa Cruz’. Both the neighbourhoods are densely populated with low standard of living. Statistics shows that (Municipio de Medellín 2010; Municipio de Medellín 2010a),

  • Quality of housing:  99.8 % of Popular and 99.9% of Santa Cruz are classified as low/ very low/ slum
  • Education: 61.1 % of Popular and 56.6% of Santa Cruz have primary or lower level of education attainment
  • Unemployment rate is 40% and average monthly income is 147,000 pesos (US$70) in both the neighbourhoods,

Bogotá architect Giancarlo Mazzanti designed the Biblioteca España complex with three goals in mind (Holmes and Pineres, 2013),

  • promote the creation of employment and economic prosperity
  • promote social integration and the revitalization of depressed urban areas
  • protect and improve the urban environment

The complex provides broader infrastructure improvements, such as a community center, an auditorium, art galleries, play areas, computer labs, and outside space. All are designed to improve the economic prospects of nearby residents, increase their integration to the city at large, and promote social capital. Residents gather in this oasis for readings, screenings, concerts and discussions (Tan, 2017). As per a survey conducted in 2011, the project had greater impacts on residents’ satisfaction on quality of life (figure 2)  (Holmes and Pineres, 2013).

Figure 2: Medellín Cómo Vamos QOL survey results for Popular/ Santa Cruz. Source: Medellín’s Biblioteca España: Progress in Unlikely Places

Case 2: The Idea Store, Tower Hamlets Borough, London, UK

Tower Hamlets is one of London’s most diverse boroughs with more than 37% of the population being British Bengalis facing high levels of unemployment and social exclusion. The library system in the city had potential to provide its residents with learning opportunities to improve work and career outlooks, a meeting place to encourage social cohesion and connection, and support for families and young people (Aitani, 2017). Acknowledging this fact, Tower Hamlets Council’s Arts, Leisure and Sports Committee undertook renovation on the existing library system after an extensive public consultation in 2002 (Citiesofmigration.ca, 2015). As a result, the ‘Idea Store’ was conceptualised as a new form of public library to incorporate the needs of customers and making it an attractive, accessible public space. Idea Stores provide core services of a library and functions as (Citiesofmigration.ca, 2015),

  • Clubs for homework, jobs, and books
  • Skill development centre
  • Children’s Centres which offer programs and support for families
  • Centre for cultural events and performances
  • Community meeting spaces

Image 3: The Idea Store, London. Source: adjaye.com

By 2009, the Tower Hamlets library system was ranked 3rd in London and 4th in England for percentage of residents using library services, based on the participation data for National Indicator 9 (Aitani, 2017The 2006/07 Public Library User Survey (PLUS) of users over the age of 16 demonstrated that Tower Hamlets Idea Store attracted  users of all ages from different background. 54.8% of the total users were from ethnic minorities and 32.9% from the age group of 20 to 24 (Tower Hamlets Council, 2009).

Social inclusion through cultural festivals in public spaces

Cultural festivals are public celebrations which demonstrate community values, strengthen community pride and sense of place (Jepson, Wiltshier and Clarke, 2012). They act as a medium of combining groups of people and communities together to produce meaningful insights, foster peace and create safer and friendlier neighbourhoods (Stern and Seifert, 2010).   When public spaces such as streets, plazas, convention centers, open grounds, etc. are used for festivals, it promotes equity and social inclusion in the city (Clover, 2006).

Case 1: Festivals in South Bank Parklands and Neighbourhood parks of Brisbane, Queensland

The indigenous Australians known as Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders account for 2.4% of the population of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. Refugees or asylum seekers from the Middle East and parts of Asia also contribute to a portion of Brisbane’s population (ABS, 2016). In a homogeneous demography, these two groups are constantly facing a threat of social exclusion. However, several initiatives have been taken by NGOs and local volunteers to establish their participation in public life through various programs and cultural festivals (Roitman and Johnson, 2014).

Image 4: The public park in the South Bank Parklands. Source: queensland.com

Image 5: A performance by tribal community in the Clancestry festival. Source: sibw.com

Image 6: A procession from the Luminous festival. Source: theweekendedition.com

South Bank Parklands, a 17 hectare riverfront public space with artificial beach and parks, is used as the venue for two important festivals namely Clancestry and Luminous festival. These festivals by the indigenous and the refugee communities are an attempt to establish their right to the city and its spaces. They enable them to interact with non-aboriginals through cultural and artistic expression in a shared public space (Roitman and Johnson, 2014).

The suburban neighbourhood parks of Brisbane also hold several cultural events and festivals such as,

  • Indigenous hip-hop
  • Styling up
  • Vietnamese moon festival
  • Chinese New Year
  • African day
  • World Refugee football tournament
  • Rohingya youth day, etc.,

thereby promoting equity and social inclusion in the public spaces of the city (Roitman and Johnson, 2014).

Case 2: Slum festival in Kampala, Uganda

Slums are typically characterised by overcrowding, high levels of unemployment or underemployment, deficient urban services (water, sanitation, education, and health) and widespread insecurity (UN-Habitat, 2003). Kampala, Uganda’s capital city has half of its population living in slums and socially excluded from the society. The Slum festival is conducted in 2014 with an aim to activate public space in the Kampala slum through artistic interventions, construction of stages, the use of performance and new media, and audience participation. Artists, audiences, residents, local initiatives and organisations are mobilized to participate in the shaping of their public space and to make it a reflection of their identity.  This initiative enable slum dwellers for better public interaction and social engagement as well as empowering the economically disadvantaged to develop within the creative economy (Lubega et al., 2014).

Image 7: A performance from the Slum Festival in 2015. Source: streetangelsuganda.com

Conclusion

The case of Spain Library Park in Medellin shows that libraries can be a place of revival for socially excluded low income groups in a society. In London’s Idea Stores, a library system served a multitude of opportunities for the public such as meeting place, space for cultural expression, etc. and increased participation of people from multiple ethnic background and age groups. Similarly, cultural festivals in the public spaces of Brisbane and Kampala helped integrate migrants, indigenous people or slum dwellers to the public realm, thereby promoting social inclusion.

Since public spaces are particularly important for marginalised groups, planning for quality public spaces to foster integration between different socio-economic groups becomes relevant. Investments in streets and public space infrastructure improve urban productivity, livelihoods and allow better access to markets, jobs and public services, especially in developing countries where a large proportion of the urban workforce is informal. Public spaces can thus be a powerful tool to improve equity, promote inclusion and combat discrimination. However, engaging the community in design, management and maintenance of public spaces is also relevant to attain an inclusive city.

[1] Survey results from the research conducted by Civica group ltd. and University of Technology, Sydney, on the value of libraries as public spaces

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Designing Gender Sensitive Public Spaces

Case Study of Public Spaces in Vienna

Introduction

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a prosperous and sustainable world (United Nations, 2018). UN Women defines gender equality as equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men (UN WOMEN, 2018). Providing equal access to education, public spaces, health care, decent work, and representation in decision-making processes ensures sustainable development (United Nations, 2018).

Gender-based violence in urban areas can be attributed to factors such as poverty, discrimination, exclusion and lack of gender mainstreaming in urban development leading to public spaces and structures not catering to all genders equally (Jagori, 2015).

Perceptions of gender equality differ between men and women, societies and countries of different developmental status. Globally, many countries have achieved important milestones towards gender parity, however developing countries like India still face women safety as the basic issue in gender equality. We have previously looked into gender mainstreaming in housing sector and women safety audits in India. This article talks about the importance of gender equality in planning and design of public spaces. The article focuses on case studies from Vienna describing the implementation of gender sensitive practises in their public spaces.

Gender equality in public spaces

Public spaces enable women, girls, elderly and other marginalised groups (transgenders, migrants, etc.) to participate in public life (UCLG, 2016). Though they are meant for everyone to use regardless of their gender or age, women use public parks and streets lesser than men (Harth, 2018). In India it is noticed that women tend to limit their participation in public sphere to day time in markets or parks in urban areas (Shukla, 2017). Reported cases of physical and psychological harassment in parks, streets and public transports have raised the levels of fear or vulnerability among them (Phadke, 2012). Studies show that women prefer active public spaces with characteristics of safer perimeter, cleanliness and safety (Gholamhosseini et al., 2018). They perceive lack of proper lighting, deserted roads, absence of street vendors and stores as unsafe situations. Public spaces that ensures comfort, accessibility and safety through features like clean toilets, proper lighting, etc. are preferred by women, elders and children (PUKAR, 2011).

Gender equality in public spaces can be achieved by accommodating features that improve women’s safety (UNIFEM, 2010). Planning and designing should put special focus on (UCLG, 2016; UNIFEM, 2010):

  • Proper lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Visibility
  • Clean toilets
  • Motorized and Pedestrian traffic
  • Signages
  • Security personnel
  • Proximity to other public spaces and emergency services
  • Access to public transportation
  • Mixed-land use
  • Women’s participation in decision making

Case study – Gender Equality in Public Spaces of Vienna

Vienna, the capital city of Austria functions as its economic, cultural and political centre. It has been focusing on gender mainstreaming while designing its public spaces, housing, mobility and infrastructure since 1990. The gender mainstreaming concept is being incorporated mainly in the design of streetscapes, public squares and public parks (Damyanovic, Reinwald and Weikmann, 2013).

Gender-sensitive public parks design: re-design of Einsiedler Park and St. Johann Park

A need to redesign Einsiedler Park and St. Johann Park was perceived by the City of Vienna when girls aged between 10 and 12 were found using parks lesser. By focusing on their interests, gender sensitive solutions were implemented to make them feel safer and better in these spaces (UCLG, 2016). The main objectives of the project were to (Policytransfer.metropolis.org, 2018):

  • motivate girls and young women to use the parks more often
  • improve safety perception in the parks
  • improve elements to attract elderly and parents with little children, and
  • have intense professional exchange of ideas during the planning phase.

The city of Vienna selected the design proposals of Tilia planning office and Koselika planning office for Einsiedler Park and St. Johann Park respectively through a design challenge. By 2001, detailed planning for re-structuring and re-designing the parks was done and renovation works were completed (Policytransfer.metropolis.org, 2018).

Image 1: Paved path, clear visibility and seating in Einsiedler Park. Source: wien.gv.at

Image 2: Platforms to sit and chat in St. Johann Park, Source: wien.gv.at

Gender-sensitive planning measures

The participating consultancies conducted meetings and workshops with residents, mothers, representatives of schools and kindergartens in the district, etc. to identify joint goals for the project. They paid attention to girls’ interests specifically to develop strategies for encouraging their involvement in public activities (Policytransfer.metropolis.org, 2018). Several gender–sensitive design elements were introduced in these parks, such as (Harth, 2018):

  • Football cages were converted for activities that accommodates both genders; in this case, badminton and volleyball courts
  • Hollows in the meadowland were converted to be used as arenas, for ball-games, gymnastics and sitting together
  • Multifunctional play areas
  • Efficient lighting was provided on the main paths
  • Park keepers ensured that the rules are followed
  • Good visibility and clear-cut organisation of footpaths
  • Well-maintained public toilets

Image 3: Hammocks, quick attraction elements at Einsiedler Park, Source: WPS Prague.com

Image 4: Platform at Einsiedler Park, Source: WPS Prague.com

Impacts

The projects witnessed considerable physical and social impacts over time. Physical transformations such as open common areas, gender-neutral activity field, places for group chatting, etc. motivated women and girls to spend more time in the park. Features like visibility in main avenues and proper lighting improved the safety aspects also (Policytransfer.metropolis.org, 2018). Noticeable presence of women of all age groups was found in St. Johann’s park (Harth, 2018).

Looking at the response, City of Vienna implemented pilot projects of gender sensitive re-design in other parks of the city. On similar concepts, gender sensitive design elements such as structured footpath network, efficient illumination, multifunctional plazas, multifunctional lawns, etc. were incorporated in Rudolph-Bednar Park (Damyanovic, Reinwald and Weikmann, 2013).

Gender-sensitive public square design: redesign of Christian Broda Platz

Public squares are another focus area for gender mainstreaming in the planning of public spaces in Vienna (Chalaby, 2017). On submitting the winning entry for a gender-sensitive architectural competition, architects Beitl and Wallmann redesigned the Christian-Broda-Platz in the 6th district of Vienna. The team designed the square by paying attention to direct walking routes, playing equipment, barrier free toilets, drinking fountains, etc. The pilot project resulted in a generous use of the public square by all genders among youth, children and senior citizens (Damyanovic, Reinwald and Weikmann, 2013). Similar measures were adopted in Liesinger Platz of the 23rd district also to achieve a gender-sensitive design.

Image 5: Seating arrangements in Chrisian Broda Platz, Source: wien.gv.at

In addition to these projects, gender mainstreaming is also incorporated in designing walkways. A survey conducted by City of Vienna in 1992 identified that females use public transit and pedestrian paths more than males. As a result, city planners adopted steps to improve pedestrian mobility and access to public transit (Foran, 2013). This includes 26 street lighting projects, widening of sidewalks and barrier free designs by the City of Vienna Women’s Office (Chalaby, 2017).

Conclusion

Over the years, re-designing several parks and public squares in Vienna has resulted in an inclusive city planning model. Certain design elements such as multifunctional play areas, raised platforms to sit and chat, etc. are easily transferable and can be installed in other places. Assuring safety through efficient lighting and multiple activities in any public space is an important factor in gender-sensitive planning. From the cases of gender mainstreaming in public spaces explained here, it is evident that through effective planning measures, public spaces can have equal utility and benefits for everyone.

In India’s diverse social setting, women’s safety and factors for comfort are often neglected while designing public spaces like parks, streets, markets, public transit, institutions, etc. However, several positive initiatives to improve the safety of public spaces are being taken by many Indian cities. Apps such as SafetiPin are useful for women safety audits. The data acquired is used by the police and PWD to augment facilities such as lighting in public spaces. Government missions like JNNURM seeks to promote planned urban development and equitable cities as an opportunity to build gender-fair and inclusive cities (Khosla, 2009). In patriarchal economies like India where women’s interests are conventionally under-represented, there is still a lot to achieve.

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