The city of Kochi is an important place of employment for migrant workers in Kerala. Workers from Tamil Nadu have been living and working in the city for decades. In addition, workers from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and many more can be found in the city today.
The migrant workers in any urban centre are often forced to live in unhygienic and unsafe conditions. The case to some extent in Kochi is the same. They are often denied the access to safe and fair accommodation in the city. At the Kaloor bus stand, under the metro line and in the suburbs, we can often see many elderly people and women among those who end up on the roadside. In this regard, Kochi Municipal Corporation has decided to prepare and implement a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis of migrant workers in the city, with the aim of ensuring that no one is left behind or homeless has introduced ‘Rapid Response Policy Engagement – Affordable Rental Housing for Internal Migrant’ project in its annual Budget for the year 2021-22. The aim is to engage with relevant stakeholders to collectively devise a policy for ensuring access to affordable rental housing for internal migrants in Kochi. The project is being spearheaded by the Kochi Municipal Corporation with the technical support of the University of Reading, United Kingdom and coordinated by the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development in association with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).
In this regard, the first Stakeholder Consultation Workshop for the project was held on March 5, 2021 under the aegis of the Hon’ble Mayor, in the presence of the Chairs of various Standing Committees of the Kochi Municipal Corporation. Representatives from Labour Department, National Health Mission, Department of Town and Country Planning, GCDA, Kerala State Housing Board and GIZ attended the workshop.
Kochi Corporation in association with Kerala Lalithakala Academy conducted Canopy Art-Holic Art Camp of painters on March 4th -6th, 2021 at the Chatiyath Queens Walkway. The three day camp organised as part of the ambitious Arts Space Kochi (ASK) project had 10 renowned artists brushing the colours of the expression of nature on to the canvas. As the camp progressed for the day, the Hon’ble Mayor visited the camp and exchanged thoughts with the artists. before the camp called it wrap, we also had the City Police Commissioner Sri. C.H. Nagaraju visiting the camp and sharing his hopes and opportunities for the artists to display their work across the 30 police stations in the city. The event was a very interesting start for the Canopy Art-Holic Painters Camp.
The camp was co-ordinated by Centre for Heritage, Enviornment and Development (c-hed). Artists Sajith Puthukalavattom, Shinoj Choran, Sunil Vallarpadam, Amrutha V R, Jagesh Edakkad, K T Mathai, Seeyem Prasad, Sajeesh P A, Uthara Remesh, Vipin K Nair participated in the camp.
As part of the Road Safety Month campaign, Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC) jointly with Transport Department, Government of Kerala and Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) have launched the Road Safety awareness event in Kochi on February 16, 2021. The event was supported by Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) under the initiative ‘Art Space Kochi’ (ASK). The campaign was launched by Adv M Anil Kumar, Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi. The initiative was organized under the ‘Integrated Sustainable Urban Transport Systems for Smart Cities’ (SMART- SUT) project funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) jointly implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), under the umbrella of the Green Urban Mobility Partnership between India and Germany.
The event had an exhibition of a map of Kerala with around 2300 red dots commemorating the lives lost on the road and a ‘tree of life’ celebrating life. Further, Chakyar Koothu and a music concert by Sri. Cochin Mansoor on the themes of safety and life was organised under the ASK initiative. Inaugurating the event the Hon’ble. Mayor Shri Anil Kumar said that improving road safety is one the key goals of Kochi. To achieve that, city needs to improve public transport, walking, and cycling facilities and Kochi is in right direction. All the agencies working on transport policies and projects shall work together with emphasis on improving safety aspects. Appreciating the theme of the event, he mentioned that road safety awareness and education is very important and need of the hour. He mentioned some basic rules on road usage including following traffic rules, usage of helmets by two wheelers and cyclists, using footpaths by pedestrians.
The Chairmen and Chairpersons from the Kochi Municipal Corporation and Division Councillor attended the inaugural ceremony. In addition, officials from KMTA, Shri. Jafar Malik, CEO, Shri. Adarsh Kumar G Nair, Special Officer and Shri. Shaji Madhavan, RTO Enforcement Ernakulam, Shri. Vijayan, ACP, Traffic police, also participated in the event.
As part of Arts Space Kochi a live music events was held at Durbar Hall and Koithara Park in Kochi on February 14, 2021. The performances were done by the music band of young techies named ‘Untagged’. The event was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Mayor Adv. M. Anil Kumar. The event was held in association with Greenix village, Kochi under the coordination c-hed.
Kochi Corporation in association with the district administration in coordination with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED), launched Arts Space Kochi (ASK) on February 8, 2021 Monday in an effort to encourage arts, particularly in public spaces. The project kicked off with an inaugural event at the cultural corner of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) at Jos Junction. The launch was inaugurated by actor Jayasurya. The inaugural event was followed with the musical performance by singer Charles Antony.
The ASK aims to offer space for artists and performers to present their works. Through Arts Space Kochi, the corporation hopes to be able to identify and provide public spaces for artists, dancers, musicians, and other performers, to present their works without the hassle of booking a venue. The project will be coordinated by the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED).
The Kochi Corporation has prepared a local biodiversity strategy and action plan which sets 29 goals for the city to achieve on biodiversity conservation by 2025. The city is the first in the country to develop a ‘scientifically informed and participatory’ action plan, according to Mayor Soumini Jain’s message in the plan.
The plan was readied as part of the Integrated Subnational Action for Biodiversity (Interact-Bio) project being implemented in the city by the civic administration’s Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED), which is collaborating with ICLEI-South Asia. The plan is meant to function as a tool that the local government can use to take action related to the conservation of biodiversity and climate resilience. It identifies nine focus areas including islands, lakes, agriculture, green and open spaces, inland waterbodies, marshes and mangroves, and seashore and sandbars. The 29 goals under these focus areas include mapping of agricultural land, identification of new cultivable land, conservation of paddy fields, transitioning to a low emission city and protecting green spaces.
Actions to be taken include setting up decentralised sewage treatment plants, developing a geo-referenced map of inland waterbodies, establishing a special purpose vehicle for management of the Vembanad Lake and sea-wall construction using eco-friendly methods like setting up mangrove nurseries.
Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC), with the support and cooperation of GIZ India, under the “Sustainable Urban Development – Smart Cities” (SUD-SC) project, has launched the ‘EnteKochi-Competition’ – a novel approach to a national-level ‘Urban Design Competition’ (UDC), that aims to jointly ‘design the future city’ of Kochi. Multi-disciplinary teams of professionals from diverse backgrounds (Social Sciences, Humanities, Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Spatial Planning, Architecture, Urban design and allied fields) participated in the competition. EnteKochi Competition jury met virtually in September 2020 and selected the Winning Entries of the EnteKochi Urban Design Competition. Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed) coordinated the event on behalf of Kochi Municipal corporation.
The 3 winning teams of the EnteKochi Urban Design Competition will now have the opportunity to jointly develop the detailed plans in a participatory manner for implementation in EnteKochi (My Kochi) in close cooperation with the organizers – the Kochi Municipal Corporation and GIZ India.
Mobilise Your City (MYC) project, an initiative of the Union Government to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions related to urban transport. Kochi is one of the cities selected for the MYC project. Urban Mass Transport Company (UMTC) has been entrusted with the task of implementing the project in Kochi.
Under the MYC programme, the Corporation is planning to construct a 2.5-km-long corridor between North and South railway stations in Ernakulam and thereby decongest MG Road and Chittoor Road. As part of the green corridor project (North – South corridor), a detailed analysis of the stretch was done and the result of the same was presented before the Hon’ble Mayor by the consultants. The meeting was attended by Sri. P.M Harris, Works Committee Chairman, Councillors, Mr.Nithin Norbert, Railway Division Manager, Mr. Dennis Jose, UMTC and the representatives from c-hed.
The Kochi Municipal Corporation in association with the World Resources Institute India organized a ‘Mapathon’ in coordination with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development, as part of the Cities4Forests project from 9 to 11 January, 2020 at St. Teresa’s College, Kochi to develop monitoring mechanism in Kochi and enhance community participation in restoration.
Kochi is the only city in the country to have been selected for the project last year. In the first phase of the project, councillors from the Corporation’s 74 divisions along with local experts participated in the mapathon which identified the current land use in the divisions using satellite images. The purpose of the mapathon is to establish baseline and assess the trends in tree cover and identify potential areas for restoration in the city. Buildings, green patches, open spaces, waterbodies and roads were also mapped by WRI in consultation with the councillors after which they identified the areas in their divisions where trees can be planted. The three-day exercise will result in a map that can suggest spaces in the city that are conducive to the growth of green patches.
In the second phase of the project, the Corporation will determine the implementation of the project and which trees are to be planted.
The Summer Winter School Program of The Premier Habitat University of India , CEPT for 2019 begins in Kochi. This year the program focuses on Smart and Sustainable Urban Development – Experiences from Kochi, India and Frankfurt, Germany with more than 26 CEPT university Masters students and Town planning officials participating in the same. The week long (Dec 1-7, 2019) program will allow students to interact with key officials, policy makers and major stakeholders of the city to understand the various sustainable initiatives and urban practices in Kochi in terms of affordable housing, urban infrastructure services, urban mobility, public spaces, participatory planning and cultural heritage management. The program is being supported by the German International Development Agency (GIZ) in association with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development.