As part of the India-EU Urban Partnership (IEUP) programme a Kochi Metropolitan Web Lab was organised by the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development. Inaugurated by the Hon’ble Mayor, the web lab focused on ‘Resilient Urban Planning’ (given its significance post COVID and resulting issues such as reverse migration). The two week long brainstorming session provided new insights and defined a pipeline of projects for structured metropolitan development in Kochi and its surroundings. The Lab emphasized structural planning around the specific themes of Environment, Transport, Housing, Productive Activities (economic aspects) and Social facilities (social infrastructure).
The Metropolitan Lab was facilitated by Dr. Pedro Ortiz, an internationally renowned Planning Professional. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management.
The Web Lab was structured as a participatory workshop with assigned group tasks for participants of the Web Lab and provided a platform for the local expertise to engage with the global views on building a metropolitan region with some light thrown on implementable projects for the Kochi Metropolitan Region.
As a part of Cities 4 forests initiative by World Resource Institute (WRI India) a multi-stakeholder consultation workshop to assess the indicators of the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA) tool for Kochi was conducted at c-hed. The workshop was to identify the scope to apply the UCRA Tool in the vulnerable neighborhoods of Kochi city. Stakeholders from various departments and agencies attended the workshop. The workshop started with an inaugural address by Dr. Rajan Chedambath, Director, c-hed. Ms. Lubaina Rangwala, Managing Associate, WRI India presented about the Urban Community Resilience Assessment tool and Urban resilience in Kochi. The session ended with a group exercise where the stakeholders shared their views and opinions on different indicators of urban resilience in Kochi.
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 Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed) and Ashoka Trust for Reserarch in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), organised a 1 day workshop where we discussed and deliberated on measures for water conservation including developing awareness and strategies to help fight climate change. The event was supported by the Kochi Municipal Corporation and Department of environment and climate change,Government of Kerala.
The workshop was preceded by a technical session by ATREE project coordinator Jojo T.D and district rainwater harvesting project secretary Jose.C.Raphel. The technical session explained the practical steps that can be adopted to save water. The programme was aimed at making people aware of different measures to conserve water. An innovative method for water conservation by using wall-mount urinals in houses was also introduced to Kochi residents. These water conservation methods will minimize the water usage and will reduce the water scarcity issue in the city.
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 Kochi Municipal Corporation in partnership with French Development Agency (AFD) and GIZ, organized two day training workshop on sustainable and low carbon urban mobility in association with MYC and SMART-SUT, on 25th and 26th July 2019. On behalf of Kochi Municipal Corporation, the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development (c-hed) supported the organization of the event.
The key objective of the workshop was to disseminate information for an effective and well informed planning and implementation of urban mobility initiatives. Various national and International experts from different sectors of urban mobility attended the workshop and delivered presentations and interacted with the participants to help everyone understand the issues and their potential solutions. The workshop comprised of broadly two modules governing the development decision making process, namely ‘Policies’ and ‘Principles and Practices’. The workshop also included an interactive session aimed at understanding the current scenario in the city and state regarding the topics discussed.
The Kochi Municipal Corporation is implementing a programme named ‘A tree for a child’, as part of its environment conservation initiatives for the city. The initiative aims at increasing the number of trees per person in the city. As per the programme, the parents of a new born in the city can plant and nurture a tree in the name of the newborn. And the tree will be handed over to his/her name, when the infant is grownup.
According to mayor Soumini Jain, this unique project will be a role model for the entire country. The mayor inaugurated the project by planting a tree in the name of 3-months old Niranjan Menon of Vipanchika house at MG Road on June 4, ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, 2019.
The Subhash Bose park which is maintained by the Center for Heritage, Environment and Development is rich in biodiversity. Under the interact bio project, jointly conducted by Kochi Municipal Corporation, c-hed and ICLEI, Mapping, Identification and Naming of trees in Subhash Bose Park were done. A total of 434 trees were identified which included 61 species of 24 families of which 157 are indigenous trees and 277 are alien trees.
The tree naming ceremony and the handbook release were held in Subhash park on the 6th of February 2019. The trees were tied with boards containing their common name, scientific name and their native and the handbook containing details of the trees in the park was released by Justice (retd.) K. Sukumaran, an enthusiast in environment conservation. Mayor Soumini Jain presided over the event which was also attended by Imani Kumar, director, ICLEI- South Asia.
The CEPT University is conducting a drawing workshop “The sudden change of the line” as part of their winter school 2018 program. The workshop started on December 17th 2018 and has 19 students from various streams participating. The program is known for its distinctive spirit provides a dynamic and multicultural learning experience where the students can go beyond the structured classrooms to an intellectually stimulating and innovative sessions. The workshop will engage the students to document the buildings at various locations in Kochi for educational purpose through pictures/photographs under the guidance of Prof. Hans Van der Pas, using an innovative design tool. The final day will showcase the work carried out by the students from the past weeks. The summer winter school of the CEPT University provides a valuable learning experience through exposure and interaction. The winter school 2018 is held in Kochi with the support of c-hed.