Tuesday, May 21, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Access to Open Spaces to all

Dear All, 

Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

Previous blogs focused on HousingTransportParticipatory planning and ManagementCultural & Natural Heritage and Disaster Prepardness for all, Environmental management for all under SDG 11. The last target under SDG 11 is about access to open spaces that are green, safe and inclusive. 

Lets see how can we achieve this one.  


Firstly, there is a need to define the open spaces appropriately, since there are some open spaces which should promote people’s interaction and recreation while there are some open spaces that should have minimal to low human interference so that they are retained as the lungs of the city. Identifying such spaces is essential. Based on the mapping, spaces that are suitable for people’s recreation should be designed in an inclusive manner considering all the stakeholders in the society. Open spaces that are green need to be kept with minimal human intervention and can be used for educational purposes or simply for restoration of the local ecosystem. From our survey we found that Pune has enough of public open spaces but the safety, inclusiveness and affordability is a matter of concern in such places. While we are encroaching upon a lot of green open spaces that need to be restored or simply kept untouched.    

  Individual Level

  • Let’s use our public spaces in a responsible manner by not littering or spitting in such space.
  • Let’s preserve and conserve our green open spaces like rivers, gardens and parks as well in a responsible manner.

Community Level

  • Let’s advocate for safe public spaces for all.
  • Let’s work with the governing authorities in maintaining these spaces since community ownership comes with community participation.
  • Let’s advocate for an inclusively designed open space.
  • Let’s keep a watch that no illegal or criminal activities are happening in these spaces that harm the peace in the city, check the feasibility of working with the governing authorities for volunteering for such purposes.
  • Let’s advocate for better sanitation facilities in public spaces.
  • Let’s check the feasibility of using these spaces in a creative manner which enhances the social and cultural gathering that reduce the gap between different sections of the society.

Governance Level

  • Ensure that public spaces are designed in an inclusive manner considering a holistic approach.
  • Explore the feasibility of maintaining cleanliness, through signages and instructions for people in order to maintain the spaces.
  • In case of any garden or green area that needs to be created into a public space care should be taken to keep them as natural as possible instead of adding a lot of paving or concrete in these areas.
  • Strict enforcement and penalties should be levied on illegal or criminal activities noticed in any public space.
  • The fees if any for accessing the public spaces should be affordable to all sections of the society.
  • Riverbed areas, hill slopes or hill tops accessed by people should be demarcated as green areas and no construction zones in the Development Plan.
  • Ensure that any green public space should promote biodiversity conservation and should be maintained accordingly.

This is last blog in the series of blogs on targets under SDG11. Please send in your inputs and suggestions to us on our Facebook page: Citizens of Sustainable PuneAlso please like, comment and share our page, through which we are promoting Sustainable cities. You can also email me at pournima@samuchit.com.

Pournima Agarkar.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Environmental Management for all

Dear All, 


Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

Previous blogs focused on HousingTransportParticipatory planning and ManagementCultural & Natural Heritage and Disaster Prepardness for all under SDG 11. In this blog I will be writing about Environmental Management from wastes and air pollution perspective. 

This target under SDG 11 focuses specifically on reducing per capita environmental impacts due to waste generation and air pollution happening in the cities. By now, we all know about the impacts of waste and air pollution. Yet, waste management continues to be a challenge in Pune, and the scenario with air pollution seems to be degrading day by day. In fact waste and air pollution go hand in hand. For instance, burning wastes in open air is a strategy for waste management but it causes air pollution to a great extent.

The UN indicator for this target is all about share of recycling and reusing the waste to at least 50% or more in the overall scenario of waste management. However, in India getting such data at the city level is challenging since the major problem is collection itself. From the Pune's service level benchmark data it has been observed that only 53% of wastes are collected through the door to door collection system, though all of this is properly disposed off as recycled and reused or incinerated. What happens to the 47% waste that is not being collected? How much of this is not coming into the Pune municipal corporation's waste management system because it is being recycled, reused, or otherwise scientifically disposed off at source, and how much of it is ending up littering roadsides, hillslopes, river beds, nallahs, etc.? In spite of having all the standards and policies in place, what is holding us back from effectively managing our waste is the question in front of us. When asked the citizens these were the responses.

Individual Level:
  • Lets be conscious of our habits related to waste generation that creates pollution on land or water. 
  • Lets monitor our consumption patterns and have a lifestyle that mimics nature where there is no waste, everything is reused and recycled in an efficient manner. 
  • Lets show empathy towards our fellow waste managers who toil for managing our waste.
  • Lets cooperate with our governing systems and follow the rules on waste segregation strictly by understanding the health risks due to wastes and pollution.
  • In order to mitigate air pollution due to vehicular emissions, lets ensure timely maintenance of our vehicles. 
  • Lets use public transport wherever possible or walk to distances less than 1 km. 

Community Level:
  • Lets try and keep the areas in our locality also clean and free from wastes. 
  • Lets raise our voice against illegal dumping of wastes and avoid open burning of garden wastes. 
  • Lets advocate for better management of wastes at the society level, for instance for wet waste, we can explore the possibilities of installing a household Biogas system while dry waste can be further segregated and stored at a place and then sold to vendors who recycle. The idea is to ensure that our wastes should not go to the landfill. 
  • Lets explore the possibility of using garden waste in an efficient way by simply putting it back to the plants as mulch or can use the dry leaves for making biochar. For more information checkout my blog on Biochar
  • Lets advocate for strict enforcement of all policies regarding waste management and advocate for better air quality. 
  • Lets advocate for effective decentralized waste management systems. 
  • Lets keep a watch on solid wastes that keep accumulated in our locality and cause a health menace. 

Governance Level: 
  • Ensure strict enforcement of waste management policies. Management of wastes should adhere to the MPCB norms for segregation and disposal.
  • Regarding air pollution, though we have effective monitoring system, there are no effective management systems. There are no strict actions against the polluters. 
  • There is a need for enforcement of penalties for the polluters, local body should involve citizens based monitoring mechanisms. Today our rivers are polluted not only due to the draining of untreated sewage but also because of people dumping wastes into them. There is a need to appoint a security checkpost at all entries to the river to ensure that no one dumps wastes into the rivers and assign penalties on the ones who dont adhere to the norms. 
  • Capacity building among citizens, members of the local body and local organizations working towards waste management should be undertaken through experts in the field. Its important to develop a scientific attitude towards waste management that helps understand the issue holistically. 
  • Emphasis should be given to success stories on waste management and air pollution mitigation measures. 

The list may continue...however, these are a few key inputs given by about 200 people, you can send in your inputs and suggestions to us on our Facebook page: Citizens of Sustainable Pune. Also please like and share our page, we are promoting Sustainable cities. 

OR you can email me at pournima@samuchit.com 


Pournima Agarkar.
                                                                        www.samuchit.com 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Thane Calling for Sustainable City!

Dear All, 
Poster - Workshop details 

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that we will be presenting our work on Sustainably SMART Pune, Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune, Climate Friendly Lifestyle and Sustainable Lifestyle initiatives to a group of Sustainability enthusiasts in Thane on the 11th of May, 2019 from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

I am glad that this one day workshop has been arranged by Prasad Dandekar and Amruta Kulkarni who are citizens of Thane just like you and me. They had the desire and enthusiasm to gather a group of like-minded individuals willing to do something for themselves and in turn for their city. 

From 2010 onward, more people reside in cities than in rural areas across the world. By 2030, more than 50% of the population will be residing in cities even in India. Many of the cities that will exist by the end of this century are yet to be built, and most of this development is likely to happen in Asia. We thus have a great opportunity to create livable and sustainable cities. It is however challenging for fast expanding cities like Pune and Thane to adopt a better pathway towards development. We have however come up with a model for urban sustainability for Indian cities, through the case study of Pune. I am glad that I am part of this vision!

I do hope that Pune will be Sustainable one day because of the vibrancy of the citizens. Understanding the impacts of climate crisis, ecological concerns and increasing socio-economic inequity and taking conscious actions to reduce these impacts based on principles of efficiency, inclusiveness, resilience, safety etc., will be required for building a Sustainable future for the cities, and the transition will start with the individual citizens adopting climate friendly lifestyles. Our workshop will also start with this aspect, and move on to discuss possible sustainability pathways for Thane. 

Kindly spread the word about our workshop in Thane, see the poster attached for details of the venue and registrations. You can contact Prasad Dandekar or Amruta Kulkarni for further information.

Follow us on and Instagram and Facebook page: Citizens of Sustainable Pune.
OR email me at pournima@samuchit.com.

Pournima Agarkar.
  

Thursday, May 2, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Glimpses of the National Conference on Urban Sustainability

Dear All, 


I am super excited to share some of the highlights of the National Conference on Urban Sustainability, held at YASHADA, Pune on 27 April 2019. I am grateful to everyone for the great response, I am sure it was an enriching experience for you all too who attended the day long event. 

Group Photo at the conference
A special thanks to our Guest of honor Sulakshana Mahajan, I had heard about her and her amazing work in Sustainability but actually got to listen to her for the first time and indeed it was enlightening. We are trying to introduce a new concept of inviting the guest to be a keynote listener and Dr Mahajan graciously obliged us through an apt conclusion of the conference.

I extend my thanks to all the experts and speakers coming all the way for the conference from different cities and states. Mr. Prasad Kokil (Aurangabad) Dr Anil Avhad (Mumbai) and Ms Neha Singh (who pitched in at the last moment) and all the INECC members (coming from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai) or actively participating in the conference. All the discussions were very thought provoking. Especially the sharing on SMART cities exposed and acknowledged that Pune is not the only SMART city that is facing the issue with prioritizing basic services. I appreciate the patience and acknowledge as well as the time and efforts taken by each and every presenter at the conference - both oral and poster. It was great that most of the papers that we received were on action oriented studies. This was very much in line with our philosophy of wanting to be part of the solutions keeping in mind the problems. We all know the problems, so rather than rehashing them, now its time to act in the right direction and move towards urban sustainability.

Thanks to all the exhibitors for displaying their products and creating a lively atmosphere in the conference. The idea was to start a dialogue among visitors and participants about sustainable lifestyle changes, and I think the exhibition provided the perfect setting for the same. 

The core purpose of this conference was to inform participants about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, focusing on SDG 11 (making cities and communities Sustainable) and its connections with other SDGs, using Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a platform. This event was a part of a research project that I am working on where sensitizing the urban citizens about sustainability in various ways is the main objective.

With our Sustainably SMART Pune study project over the last three years we realized that conscious lifestyle change starts with me, as an individual. In order to achieve Sustainability we have to first change our attitude in order to change the society. ESD empowers us to take the responsibility for ourselves and make the change by taking the appropriate action. Using ESD we could spread awareness and sensitize urban citizens about responsible and conscious behavior. We used SDG 11 as our starting point since it directly targets cities and communities i.e urban citizens and tried to motivate them to emulate model behaviour of a responsible citizen. Through our interactions with citizens of Pune, over the last year or so, we charted down some actionable guidelines at three different levels, i.e individuals, community and governance, for each target under SDG 11. There are limited hard copies of the report, however we will circulate the softcopy in both English and Marathi soon through our Facebook page Citizens of Sustainable Pune. Please check out and comment. We will share all the photos of the conference through a google link and will also upload the videos of the conference on our YouTube link soon.  

Last but not the least I deeply thank the supporters Engagement Global and funders German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development for enabling us to create an ecosystem of sustainable livelihoods and showing us the pathway to Urban Sustainability through ESD.
Conference Participants @ Urban Sustainability Selfie Corner!

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Final call for National Conference on Urban Sustainability

Dear All, 

This is a reminder for attending our National Conference on Urban Sustainability on the 27th of April at Yashada, Baner from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

In order to enroll in our conference, kindly click on this link: https://forms.gle/BnP6w1V86fBtLjbq9

You can also email me at pournima@samuchit.com for further inquires. Please see the agenda attached.



Pournima Agarkar.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Disaster Preparedness for all

Dear All, 




Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

Previous blogs focused on HousingTransportParticipatory planning and Management and Cultural & Natural Heritage under SDG 11. In this blog I will be writing about Disaster Preparedness. 

Though at the country level we are party to a lot of international agreements like the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Disaster prepardness seems to be less percolated at a city level

India is moving from the post disaster reactive approach to pre disaster pro active approach as per a latest report on Disaster Management. This means that we should be rapidly shifting towards the pro active mode at the city level as well. After all, India is also one of the most vulnerable countries due to population density and the coastline surrounding our country. In spite of this, there is a lack of coordination among other development agencies and disaster management agencies. On one hand there are upcoming development schemes that demand huge deforestation, high resource consumption that lead to increase in inequity. While on the other hand we are signing international treaties on disaster management globally. However implementation on ground is something really crucial. 

Pune has a Disaster management cell that has worked out a Ward level disaster management framework, however this document has not been revised since 2005. Furthermore, no one knows about its existence due to lack of poor dissemination of this knowledge. In case of any disaster its only the Fire brigade or the Police that we look upto, as individuals we have no idea what has to be done, who is the concerned authority and what are the immediate actions to be taken. Considering all such factors, actions at different levels in a society have been charted using citizen inputs.    

Individual Level: 
  • Lets be aware of the probable disasters that can occur in our area and which are the vulnerable entities. 
  • Lets keep a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in our house for quick rescue. 
  • Lets be updated about all the emergency contact numbers and operations in our society. 
  • If possible we should understand the functioning of HAM (amateur radio) that works on radio frequency, since in case of any disasters its the electricity that is first affected and everything just shuts down. HAM operators will help us be in contact to the concerned. At least one family member should be a HAM operator or know how to use this simple technology. 
  • Lets keep ourselves fit in order to not only save our lives but also our loved ones life. 
  • While buying homes, check if they are earthquake resistant. 

Community Level: 
  • At the community level, lets be aware if we have any disaster prepardness plan in our society, if not advocate for framing one by coordinating with local body and NGOs or organizations working in this area.
  • Lets undertake or participate in emergency mock drills and be part of local area rescue task force.
  • Lets advocate for an inclusive Disaster Risk Management plan for better on ground implementation. 
  • Lets advocate for better disaster mitigation equipment and regular maintenance of these equipment like fire extinguishers, first aid kits etc. 
  • Lets advocate against illegal encroachments or unnecessary deforestation in and around our area. 

Governance Level: 
  • Ensure that local disaster management plans be framed keeping a pre-disaster pro-active approach and are inline with the international agreements. 
  • Ensure mapping and timely maintenance of any leakages or clogged drains and electrical systems etc in the city. 
  • Disaster Management Plans should be inclusive and should be prepared considering active public participation, local organizations and local bodies. 
  • Undertake effective communication strategies for disseminating information about local area disaster management plans, local mitigation measures and contacts of local concerned authorities. 
  • Undertake workshops/drives on first aid, disaster prepardness, uses of refuge areas and fire extinguishers and safety measures, importance of assembly areas in the city and signages.  
  • Each ward should have a Disaster management officer who coordinates with the local NGOs and active citizens for cooperation during any disasters. Undertakes regular or timely rescue practices and emergency mock drills etc for housing societies, schools and institutes etc in the area. 
  • Further development of the city, should be mapped considering the vulnerabilities in the city from climate change and environmental degradation perspective. 
  • Scope of creating a citizens center for resilience under the Disaster management cell needs to be explored instead of creating a new department. 
  • Explore the possibility of providing toll free lines, free training on HAM operation, portable shelters and smart use of smart phones.

The list may continue...however, these are a few key inputs given by about 200 people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter a better Action Agenda. 

You can email me at pournima@samuchit.com AND like, share / comment on our Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/ for more inputs. 

Your inputs will be featured in our Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune booklet.

Pournima Agarkar.
                                                                        www.samuchit.com 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Protecting Cultural and Natural Heritage

Dear All

Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.


Previous blogs focused on HousingTransport and Participatory planning and Management  under SDG 11. In this blog I will be writing about Heritage and how its importance for all of us.

I am glad that SDG 11 considers both Cultural and Natural Heritage in a city. We often talk about Cultural Heritage but never realize that all the natural resources that are available to us in the form of water bodies, hills and forest patches are all part of our Natural Heritage. This Natural Heritage is now getting encroached upon, destructed and depleted at increasing rates and if not conserved now, we might render the future generations without any Heritage values. The way we have started conserving and restoring our Cultural Heritage, there is a need to conserve our Natural Heritage as well. Let us see how we can contribute to conserve our Heritage (both Cultural and Natural) at different levels.


Individual Level:
  • Let’s understand and acknowledge the importance of Heritage structures both Cultural and Natural for the quality of our lives and the city as well apart from their inherent value.
  • Identify if there are any old open spaces with good green cover or ancient structures that have heritage value and can be conserved in our neighbourhood, and bring those to the attention of appropriate authorities/experts. 

Community Level:
  • Let’s advocate for an inclusive accessibility at all cultural and natural heritage places.
  • Let’s protect the heritage structures irrespective of socio-economic barriers.
  • Knowing the importance of the heritage structures, ensure that these places are protected from any infrastructure development activity in the neighbourhood. 
  • Let’s advocate for better sanitation facilities, safety by local surveillance and monitoring from illegal or unwanted activities in such places.

Governance Level:
  • Cultural heritage structures have budget allocations, however there is a need to allocate appropriate budget for Natural Heritage as well that is concerned with our rivers, hills and hill tops. Heritage Cell should undertake this responsibility. 
  • Public private partnerships (PPPs) and CSR initiatives can be explored in order to avail funds for maintaining the heritage structures.
  • The way we have interpretation centers in National Parks, we need to check the feasibility of providing such interpretation centers may be at a small scale at our Cultural as well as Natural Heritage sites that promote traditional, local indigenous knowledge apart from the inherent values. This will also help in creating an inventory of the local knowledge.
  • Though there are buffer areas surrounding the heritage structures, strict enforcement of the same needs to be undertaken and violating the same should be strictly penalized.
  • Ensure timely maintenance and restoration works that preserve the inherent values of the structures should be undertaken by using innovative technologies.
  • Individual housholds, Communities and PPPs contributing in conservation of the Heritage structures should be awarded or recognized by local bodies or state level authorities in order to sensitize citizens about the importance of heritage structures. 

These are a few key inputs given by 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter a better Action Agenda. You can email me at pournima@samuchit.com AND like, share / comment on our Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/ for more inputs. 

Your inputs will be featured in our Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune booklet.

Pournima Agarkar.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Participatory Planning and Management

Dear All, 

Participation and Integrated planning & Management
Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

So far we have seen targets related to Housing and Transport under SDG 11. The next target is all about having participatory, integrated and sustainable planning and management of human settlements. 

In the city planning and management, participatory approach is easier SAID than DONE. I feel there is a need to define 'inclusive participation' so as to ensure participation from all the strata of the society. However only a few people get the privilege to participate in any decision making, planning process and management. During our survey we found that there is something called as participatory budget, however very few people are aware of such an initiative. This is also due to lack of empathy among citizens towards their city's overall growth. However, its time we start getting aware of our surroundings and make ourselves sustainable.

Lets us see what the citizens have to say about their participation in the overall planning and management of the city.

Individual Level: 

  • Be aware of your rights and duties as a citizen of the city.
  • Use RTI as a tool for enabling the rights of a citizen.
  • Participate in the city's planning and management systems.
  • Check if we have any ward level meetings in our ward. 
  • Need for empathy towards our society. 

Community Level: 

  • Mohalla committee's are good examples of community participation, more and more people should involve themselves in this system for ensuring their area development. 
  • Lets understand the functioning of similar systems like area sabhas and advocate for the same. 
  • Lets keep track of upcoming policies and schemes and how they affect our area 
  • Lets raise voice in case of poor provision of basic service in your area and work cohesively with the local bodies in order to ensure services are in place.

Governance Level: 
  • Ensure use of scientific sampling techniques for collecting feedback proactively from a well chosen sample cross section of the city's society on various schemes and policies (rather than expecting people from all strata of society to respond to generic requests for comments). 
  • Involve local citizen groups, civil society organizations, Mohalla committee groups, Resident welfare associations, differently abled individuals etc. in governance-focused public discussions to make governance inclusive. 
  • Need to have an active feedback mechanism in order to track success and failure of any policy. 
  • Need to have a mechanism to reward or highlight community best practices that ensure success of any scheme or policy. 
  • Enforce wardwise community meetings ensuring involvement of all irrespective of caste, creed, gender or income level. 
  • Ensure transparency and accessibility of information to all in existing/current schemes/policies on urban development.

These are a few key inputs given by 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter a better Action Agenda. 
Email me at pournima@samuchit.com OR like, share and comment on our FB page  @ https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My City My Responsibility - National Conference on Urban Sustainability 2019

Dear All,

Poster for the workshop

I am glad to announce that we at Samuchit Enviro Tech have organized a Nationwide Conference on Urban Sustainability in collaboration with LAYA and INECC on the 27th April, 2019 in Yashada, Baner.  

The whole idea of undertaking a national conference is to connect/share happenings in the context of Urban Sustainability across different states of India as well as from different cities in Maharashtra. Its all about sharing knowledge, learnings and connecting to the global Sustainable Development Goals, smart city initiatives and citizens engagements undertaken on ground.

We believe that citizens are the critical stakeholders of the city and informing or sensitizing them on global issues is the need of the day. In addition to citizens embracing sustainable and responsible behaviour, we also want to encourage citizens to form pressure groups and impact policy decisions, which will promote local actions that lead to global solutions.

From this perspective, the one day conference will include inputs from various experts and practitioners. In addition, we are also calling for papers based on original research or outreach work broadly fitting into the conference objectives but focused on the following thematic areas. 
  • Housing for all in urban context
  • Safe and affordable Transport within cities
  • Cultural and Natural Heritage in urban setting
  • Citizens Participation in Governance of cities
  • Disaster risk Mitigation for cities
  • Solid and Liquid Waste management and Air Pollution in cities
  • Access to safe green open spaces in cities
  • Operationalizing SDG 11 for urban sustainability in India
  • Sustainability education in urban context
Please submit abstracts of maximum 200 words, this will go through a review process where papers will be selected for oral or poster presentations. The last date for submission of abstracts is 31st March, 2019. 

Urban citizens, organisations, institutions, professionals, government officials etc. all are invited to participate in the meeting and contribute to the interactions, irrespective of whether you are presenting a paper or not! The conference will be focused on interactions rather than talks and lectures. 

We also invite NGOs and social enterprises in Pune to participate in the Exhibition for Sustainable products display or sale which will be organised as a part of the conference as a side event!!!

Please click on this link to register in our Conference and kindly share it in your contacts. And do send in your abstract at the earliest! 

Pournima Agarkar. 
www.samuchit.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Role of Transportation for all

Dear All, 


Transport under SDGs
Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

Last week we saw actionable points on Housing, below are the points from Sustainable Transport perspective as guidelines at individual, community and governance level. 

Kindly note that we all are facing impacts of increasing air pollution, rapidly changing climate and urbanization. Provision of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable transport will definitely play a major role in lowering the emissions generated substantially due to transport. This will help in mitigating the impacts at local as well as global level. All we need is individual as well collective actions at all levels. 

Individual level

  • Analyse or consider if there is a need to buy a new vehicle. 
  • Adhere to basic traffic rules and speed limits.
  • Ensure your protection by using required safety gears.
  • Ensure timely and proper maintenance of your vehicle in order to ensure better fuel efficiency. 
  • Understand the importance of PUC norms, and ensure that your vehicle emissions are within the norms. 
  • Ask for information on PUC norms and its importance. 
  • Practice lane discipline. 
  • Make way for ambulance and differently-abled persons riding on the road. 
  • Use public transport where ever possible and ask for better public transport.
  • Respect the job done by bus drivers and try to cooperate with them. 
  • Check the feasibility of shared transport like car pooling. 
  • Check the feasibility of using cycles or walking (not more than 1km) for short distances instead of using your two wheeler.  
Community Level
  • Lets advocate for efficient and safe infrastructure for public transport system and non motorized transport like cycling and walking. 
  • Lets advocate for better roads and technically designed speed breakers. 
  • Lets advocate for CNG or clean fuel based vehicular systems. 
  • We can promote E-vehicles once the electricity is being generated from a renewable source. Advocating for E-vehicles currently is costlier and not very sustainable since coal is the source of our electricity generation. 
  • Lets advocate for car free zones and affordable last mile connectivity like CNG auto rickshaws or rental cycles or mini buses provision at every 500 m instead of using private vehicles. 
  • Lets advocate for travel time from one place to other in a city to be max. 40 mins considering crowded areas. 
Public transport in Pune
Governance/Policy Level
  • Enforce strict penalties for disobedience of traffic laws for all, irrespective of financial or social status.
  • Consider differently abled, pregnant women, children and senior citizens while designing modes of transport. 
  • Ensure accessibility and affordability for all. 
  • Implement comprehensive mobility plans and Parking policy defined by local organizations. 
  • Roads should be designed considering safety of all stakeholders like street vendors, hawkers, cyclists and walkers by providing better lighting system or security forces wherever required. 
  • Regular maintenance of roads ensure safety of the commuters.  
  • While constructing a flyover, take the feedback of local organizations working towards making traffic management better in the city.  
  • Involve active citizens if required for ensuring there is no traffic congestion.
  • Collaborate and work in coordination with the local organizations working in for ensuring there is no traffic congestion. 
  • Strategize mechanisms for tie-ups with local organizations, NGOs, communities and corporate sectors for making transport in the city sustainable. 
  • All the para-transit modes of transport should be enhanced to CNG and considered into the main stream of transportation . 
  • Employees that work directly for providing transit services should be provided with proper medical care and employee benefits. 

These are some inputs given by 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter for Transport a better Action Agenda. 
Email me at pournima@samuchit.com OR like, share and comment on our FB page  @ https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/

Pournima Agarkar.