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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Residents of Delhi’s CR Park to brainstorm over local issues, suggest solutions to govt

In a first of its kind community-led initiative, residents of CR Park would be analysing issues concerning day-to-day life such as walkability, availability of public transport, pollution and solid waste management, and come up with solutions and recommendations for the government.

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2019 01:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
The project titled “Public Space Audits” was launched on Sunday by CR Park Green Community Initiative — a people’s voluntary initiative with the support from community-based organisations.
The project titled “Public Space Audits” was launched on Sunday by CR Park Green Community Initiative — a people’s voluntary initiative with the support from community-based organisations.(Picture for representation)
         

Who will decide as to what problems residents of a neighbourhood in Delhi are facing and how to solve them? Is it the lawmakers and bureaucrats sitting at the helm of affairs or the local residents who are facing the problems? The residents of CR Park have come up with a probable answer.

In a first of its kind community-led initiative, the residents of CR Park led by a group of urban planners would be analysing various issues concerning day-to-day life such as walkability, availability of public transport, pollution and solid waste management, and come up with solutions and recommendations for the government to act upon.

“Instead of a top-down approach, the benefits of which often do not percolate to the community level and the problems of the community are not taken into account in the decision making process, we are coming up with a bottom-up approach. Residents would analyse the problems faced by the community, discuss with experts, lawmakers and other stakeholders, and finally come up with suggestions and recommendations,” said Ashok Bhattacharjee, former director of United Traffic Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre and convener of CR Park Green Community Initiative.

The project titled “Public Space Audits” was launched on Sunday by CR Park Green Community Initiative — a people’s voluntary initiative with the support from community-based organisations.

Once the issues are analysed by the residents they would be discussed with the elected representatives of the locality, government agencies and experts to come up with a set of recommendations and priorities that need to be addressed. These would then be placed before the government for taking action.

“While one such issue, ‘walkability’, was addressed by local residents and experts on Sunday, we would be holding a series of such meetings wherein other issues such as solid waste management, child friendly neighbourhood, and last mile connectivity would be analysed and solutions would be suggested from among the community residents only,” said Bhattacharjee.

He said talks are also on with other research organisations and NGOs such as Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Chintan to help in other projects like tackling air pollution and solid waste management.

To analyse the issue of walkability and safety, local volunteers would take the help of a mobile app developed by Safetipin, an NGO.

“Citizen-volunteers would score the neighbourhood with the help of the mobile app on at least nine parameters such as streetlights, openness and availability of public transport. They would not just look whether the streets are safe and walkable but also some of the public places such as parks, markets, toilets and metro stations, among others,” said Kalpana Viswanath, CEO of Safetipin, who is helping the community develop the walkability and safety score.

Safetipin had mapped Delhi’s streets with the app in 2016 and found at least 7,800 ‘dark spots’ on 135 stretches that had almost no street lighting. The government acted on it and claimed to have resolved 80% of problems.

“This year we have been asked by the government to map the city again. This time we are involving the local communities so that they could themselves identify the problems and recommend solutions. Also, public places such as markets, toilets and parks are being included in the maps. These would then be placed before the government for taking necessary actions,” Viswanath said.

Such community-led public space audits were first started in Canada in the 1980s. At present, it is being done in at least 50 countries across the world, experts said.

“Once the score on walkability is prepared by the volunteers with the help of the app, it would be sent back to the community for discussion. Thereafter, the community would decide upon the solutions after discussing the issues with experts and lawmakers which would be placed before the government,” she said.

A decentralised sewage treatment plant to recycle waste waterwould be set up in G Block of CR Park with the financial help of the Delhi government as a part of the community project

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 01:34 IST

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