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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi all,
Proper green open spaces provide direct benefits like Air quality, Urban climate, Carban sequestration, Noise reduction and so on..
So, in future government can able provide some mandatory rules like complusory green open spaces with respect to each parcel area (i.e allotinga some ratio of land for green spaces w.r.t each parcel area).
This kind of rules already existing for commercial building and large scale projects but we can also start implementing in each residential block.
It may also helps to control and preserve the urban liveablity for future generation.