Urban95 Initiative Transforms Congested Space into Play Area in Udaipur

The Urban95 project team recently implemented its second tactical intervention in Udaipur city, with the aim of creating safe and healthier spaces for children in urban neighbourhoods. This follows the successful implementation of the project’s first tactical intervention in the city, wherein traffic calming measures (such as keep-clear box, zigzag lines and zebra crossing) and interactive and engaging playful spaces were implemented near a pre-primary school for segregating child buffer/ waiting zones from the busy road.

The second tactical intervention was implemented at Nayion ki Talai Chowk, located in Ward 13 (now Ward 51), within the densely populated walled city, which has little green or recreational space for young kids. The open space in the chowk was been used mainly for parking two-wheelers and four-wheelers in a haphazard and unorganized manner. Interestingly, the area has many anganwadi centres, playschools, pre- primary and primary schools.

A site analysis was carried out to study the area and interactions were held with the residents of the chowk, especially families having young children, to understand their needs.

Based on the surveys and interactions, it was decided to transform the chowk into a safe, vibrant, interactive and engaging space for young children and their caregivers, to demonstrate how a single space can be used for multiple purposes with careful planning.

A key idea was to transform the chowk into a space for children during the day and to use it for organised parking of vehicles at night. Among the proposals were the setting up of a learning-cum-play track to allow children to cycle and play a few traditional lawn games, painting of walls with graffiti and games that they would be able to relate to and engage with, and weaving of colourful threads around tree trunks to transform this space into a bright, interactive and engaging corner.

The tactical intervention was implemented from the 11th to the 13th of December 2019 and the entire space was opened to the public on the 14th of December.

As part of on-ground implementation and to create a sense of ownership, local residents along with schoolchildren and college students were involved, under the guidance of the Udaipur Municipal Corporation, the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, which funds the project, and ICLEI South Asia, the technical partner. The Commissioner and Deputy Mayor, UMC, visited the site during the implementation, appreciated the students’ efforts and explained to them the importance of the space they were creating for young children and their caregivers.

Pre-primary students from nearby schools also visited the site and were seen readily participating in various on-site activities and games. The tactical intervention drew public and media attention too, with the project technical team and the UMC receiving several requests from citizens to transform spaces in their areas in a similar fashion.

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