Facing Climate Change In Cities: Government Launches Assessment Framework For Urban Planning

Facing Climate Change In Cities: Government Launches Assessment Framework For Urban Planning 
A green Church Street in Bangalore.
Snapshot
  • Among several other initiatives, the Centre launches the "streets for people challenge" — a move to make cities more walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

    The challenge builds on the advisory issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for the holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces, earlier this year.

Aiming at providing a clear roadmap for cities towards combating climate change, the Centre has launched the climate smart cities assessment framework (CSCAF) 2.0 along with the "streets for people challenge".

The "streets for people challenge" is a response to the need for making
cities more walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

The challenge builds on the advisory issued by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for the holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces, earlier this year.

As the lockdowns lift, cities face many challenges in providing safe,
affordable, and equitable modes of transport that enable social distancing.

Limited public transport options, narrow, crowded sidewalks particularly in market places and deterioration of mental health, are key issues that must be addressed on priority.

In a virtual event organised by the Smart Cities Mission, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri launched the CSCAF to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.

In the last decade, an increasing frequency of cyclones, floods, heat waves, water scarcity and drought-like conditions have had adverse impacts on many of our cities.

Such extreme events and risks cause loss of life as well as impact economic growth.

In this context, the objective of CSCAF is to provide a clear roadmap for tackling climate change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments.

Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra, senior officials of the Ministry of Environment, Principal Secretaries (Urban Development) of State Governments and UTs, State Mission Directors of Smart Cities Mission, Municipal Commissioners/CEOs of Smart Cities, representatives of partner agencies/Bilateral/Multilateral Institutions and other key stakeholders attended the function.

This assessment framework was developed after a review of existing frameworks and assessment approaches adopted throughout the world, followed by a series of extensive consultative processes with more than 26 organisations and 60 experts from different thematic areas.

The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely: (i) Energy and Green Buildings, (ii) Urban Planning, Green Cover and; Biodiversity, (iii) Mobility and Air Quality, (iv) Water Management and (v) Waste Management.

The Climate Centre for Cities under the National Institute of Urban Affairs
(NIUA) is supporting the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry in implementation of CSCAF.

The challenge will support cities across the country to develop a unified vision of streets for people in consultation with stakeholders and citizens.

Adopting a participatory approach, cities will be guided to launch their own design competitions to gather innovative ideas from professionals for quick, innovative, and low-cost tactical solutions.

It aims to inspire cities to create walking-friendly and vibrant streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures.

All cities participating in the challenge shall be encouraged to use the ‘test-learn-scale’ approach to initiate both, flagship and neighbourhood walking interventions.

The interventions can include inter alia creating pedestrian-friendly streets in high footfall areas, re-imagining under-flyover spaces, re-vitalizing dead neighbourhood spaces, and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas.

Fit India Mission, under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, along with the India programme of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) have partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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