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.
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.