The Kochi Municipal Corporation and the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) in partnership with CEPT Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), CEPT University, Ahmedabad with the support of the GIZ India organized an online training programme on ‘Sustainable Urban Planning’ on two consecutive days for government officials and professionals engaged with the urban development sector in Kochi and Kerala.
In India, as far as urban planning is concerned, the regulatory, governance framework, institutional arrangements and planning process varies significantly across its states. Since there are challenges pertaining to effective co-ordination between departments and limited inter-sectoral integration in urban plans, it has become imperative to devise a ‘sustainable’ approach to planning cities that ensures effective and timely implementation of plans. Addressing urban planning at various scales, will contribute to the progress towards the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities’. Further, the Kochi Municipal Corporation proposes to prepare a Master Plan for the Greater Kochi Area. It is in this context that the training programme attains importance. It also constitutes a preparatory step to equipping the Kochi Municipal Corporation and associated agencies with knowledge and skills to drive the preparation of the Master Plan and Detailed Town Planning schemes.
The workshop was inaugurated by the Hon Mayor Adv M. Anil Kumar. Ms. Sarada Muraleedharan, Additional Chief Secretary LSGD, Govt of Kerala was the Chief Guest. “It is the Urban Local Body which must take the prime responsibility for the preparation of a state-of-the-art Master Plan / Town Planning schemes. I am happy that all agencies involved in the development of KMC are participating in this programme on Sustainable Urban Planning’. We are grateful for the invaluable support provided by CEPT and the GIZ India” -Adv M. Anil Kumar, Hon’ble Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation. “I congratulate the Kochi Municipal Corporation for organizing this important programme on Sustainable Urban Planning. Kochi may emerge as the first local body that will potentially plan for a metropolitan area, and it is important that we develop the capacity to address various challenges and plan for a sustainable and resilient Kochi and demonstrate better quality of life, aesthetics and equity for citizens “. – Ms. Sarada Muraleedharan IAS, ACS LSGD, Government of Kerala and Chief Guest . Ms. Aparna Das of GIZ India provided an overview of the Smart Urban Development and Smart City initiative and wished the workshop all success.
The training covered contemporary and emerging practices, models and approaches in sustainable urban planning nationally and globally. Policy Issues in Urban Planning, Urban Planning in the Post Pandemic Context, Institutional Aspects of Sustainable Urban Planning, State of the Art Tools for Urban Planning including Data and Surveys, Development Planning, Local Area Planning and Inclusionary Zoning and concepts and practice of Livable Urbanism and Nature Based Solutions were also covered. 120 participants representing the Kochi Municipal Corporation, CSML, Kochi Water Metro, GCDA, Kerala State Town and Country Planning Dept, KILA, KSDMA, NIT, academicians, urban sector professionals and researchers attended the training programme.
The Consul General of France in India Ms. Lise TALBOT BARRE and Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) India Director Bruno Bosle visited the North-South Mobility Corridor project area during their recent visit to Kochi.
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.
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.
The release of the book “Institutional Innovation to Strengthen Urban Local Governments in India, The case of Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED), Kochi Municipal Corporation, Kerala” prepared under SMART-SUD project by GIZ was done by the Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi on September 22, 2020. The report release conducted virtually was attended by counter parts from GIZ, NIUA, GOPA and other partnering institutions.
Here is a short video giving a glimpse of the report.
Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) signed an Memorandum of Understanding with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), one of the apex research institutes in the country. The Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi who is also the chairman of c-hed and the director of NIUA inked pact for a sustainable and livable Kochi that was held virtually on September 22, 2020. The online agreement signing was attended by counter parts from GIZ, NIUA, GOPA and other partnering institutions. This association will link c-hed to other think tanks, research institution and the knowledge network thereby enabling the institution to grow. This mutual agreement will also provide training and capacity programmes, exchange of information and data sharing and exchange of personals for participation in joint activities.
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.
Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) director Dr. Rajan Chedambath presented our organisations case at the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This competition is designed to share and exchange valuable knowledge and experiences between cities all around the world, with C-HED representing Kochi this year. Joining Dr. Rajan on stage and supporting our case was Mayor Soumini Jain of the Kochi Municipality Corporation as well as Ms. Friederike Thonke and Mr. Rienhard Skinner of GIZ, Mr. Octavi de la Varga secretary general at Metropolis, Mr. Hitesh Vaidya director at the National Institute of Urban Affairs and Dr. Monolisa Sen programme coordinator at ICLEI-South Asia. Titled “Institutional Innovations Linking Heritage and Culture: Empowering Urban Local Governments in the Global South”, we made a strong case of how C-HED has been instrumental in transforming urban development in Kochi through local, national and international stakeholder cooperation. We would like to thank all those who have been a part of this experience and we hope we can continue building a sustainable future for Kochi.
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.