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.
An emergency service to cater to the needs of COVID patients, especially transport of COVID patients to hospitals, supply of medicines, oximeter, oxygen cylinder and thermometer and to patients houses, etc kick started yesterday in the city. Covid relief works have been on the radar for Kochi municipal corporation and C-HED has been providing backend support for the operations. The” Auto Ambulance ” service is initiated jointly by the Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Ernakulam Jilla Autorickshaw Drivers Cooperative Society Ltd. (EJADCS), supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is funded by the ‘SMART-SUT’ project, which is under the Green Urban Mobility Partnership between India and Germany. This initiative is coordinated and supported by the National Health Mission, Government of Kerala, The Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) and Technovia Info Solutions. Pvt. Ltd. In this regard, a training program for 18 volunteering auto drivers and for supporting staff was carried out at the Ernakulam Town Hall. Safety kits (including PPE kits, masks, gloves, face shield) and medical equipment (like pulse Oximeter, infra-red thermo meter, portable oxygen cans) were also handed over to the team.
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.
In this regard, the Kochi Municipal Corporation decided to prepare and implement a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis of migrant workers in the city. With an aim to ensure that no one is left behind or homeless, the Kochi Municipal Corporation introduced ‘Rapid Response Policy Engagement – Affordable Rental Housing for Internal Migrant’ project in its annual Budget for the year 2021-22. The aim was to engage with relevant stakeholders to collectively devise a policy for ensuring access to affordable rental housing for internal migrants in Kochi. The project was 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 (c-hed) in association with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID). As part of the project, a local stakeholder workshop and an online colloquium were conducted to gather suggestions from various stakeholders across the country on policy making.
In this regard, the Kochi Municipal Corporation has successfully prepared a draft policy document with the support of the technical team. The policy document was presented before the stakeholders under the aegis of the Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi on May 19, 2021. The online discussion was attended by various local and national stakeholders from across the country. Representatives from National Health Mission, Department of Town and Country Planning, GCDA, Kerala State Housing Board and GIZ also participated in the discussion.
Kochi is one among the Indian cities selected for ‘The Morgenstadt Global Smart City Innovation Lab’. The project is being coordinated and implemented in the city by the C-HED with the technical support of the University of Stuttgart and Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), Stuttgart. The other prominent institutions that have partnered in this project are Frankfurt School of Finance and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Government of India.
The Kochi Municipal Corporation, with view to address the accelerating climate change issues in Kochi city, has included this project (The Morgenstadt Global Smart Cities Initiative (MGI) – Sustainable Neighbourhood project) in its annual budget for the year 2021-22. The MGI project aims at a transformational change of the urban systems through the analysis, identification, and development of sustainable cross‐sectoral solutions to optimize urban infrastructures, processes or services. The project focuses on developing a sustainable neighbourhood, in which all buildings are energetically renovated and restored to their history, all buildings receive a photovoltaic system and in which all buildings are served by a sustainable water and sewage system. The project also aims to integrate more green spaces into the city to make it more resilient to heavy weather events and to improve the urban climate.
After conducting initial surveys and discussions, the project team developed 15 project ideas in the water, energy, inclusive housing and sustainable buildings sectors. As part of the project the first stakeholder consultation workshop was held on April 21, 2020 where Fraunhofer experts presented the city’s profile on the water, energy and housing sector and discussed the project ideas to develop a pilot in Elamakkara North (ward no: 33), the sectors being water, energy and housing. The consultation workshop was held in the presence of Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi and attended by the Director, NIUA, former councillor of the ward, representatives from Kerala Water Authority, Cochin Smart Mission Limited, Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology (ANERT) and Society of Energy Engineers and Managers (SEEM) and residence associations of above said ward.
The prestigious Subhash Bose Park is maintained by Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development. The park is a fine example of our efforts . It serves as the green lungs of the core city and a space for recreation . It is now alive and vibrant with music concerts , performing arts and other cultural activities. With the support of ICLEI South Asia, we have also setup a Medicinal plant garden and Butterfly garden. We were proud to have Padma Shri Bharat Mammootty reopen the park in the presence of Hon’ble Mayor Adv. M. Anil Kumar.
We welcome the residents and visitors to the park !
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.
The City Biodiversity Index and Illustrated Natural Asset Map of Kochi Municipal Corporation, prepared under INTERACT- Bio project was released by Hon’ble Mayor Soumini Jain.
Kochi is one the very few cities in India who have developed the City Biodiversity Index. The City Biodiversity Index of Kochi has been developed with support from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, through the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature conservation and Nuclear Safety supported Interact- Bio Project. The project is being implemented by ICLEI South Asia in collaboration with Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed).
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.