ICLEI South Asia (ICLEI SA) recently held an event in Udaipur to launch the Urban95 Programme in the city.
The technical partner for the programme, ICLEI SA is implementing the project in partnership with the Bernard Van Leer Foundation (BvLF), with support from the Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC).
Urban95 is the BvLF’s 30-million euro initiative, which aims to create healthy, prosperous and vibrant cities where families can thrive. The initiative is meant to make a lasting impact on the urban landscape, and provide opportunities that can shape the crucial first five years of children’s lives. The programme aims to build healthier, safer and more exciting urban neighbourhoods for everyone, especially young children.
The programme’s basic premise is that when urban neighbourhoods work well for pregnant women, babies, toddlers and young children, they tend to nurture strong communities and promote economic development.
Realising the need to create an urban environment that is friendlier and responsive towards infants, toddlers and caregivers (ITC), the UMC has agreed to be part of the Urban95 Programme. It has joined hands with BvLF via a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU), with the aim of transforming
Udaipur into an ITC-friendly smart city.
PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST
The day-long workshop was aimed at sharing the insights gained with regard to the Urban95 Programme, in the context of Udaipur city. There were presentations on some national and international initiatives that have been responsive to the needs of children. Brainstorming and interactive sessions were also held to discuss how Udaipur could be transformed into a truly ITC-responsive city.
Several stakeholders, such as the city mayor and commissioner, senior UMC engineers, officials from the Urban Improvement Trust (UIT), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Traffic Police and Udaipur Smart City Ltd. (USCL), besides PMC for Smart City participated in the event. Representatives from civil society groups, business groups such as Vedanta, leading architects and academia, as well as NGOs such as Seva Mandir, Jatan Sansthan and Vidhya Bhawan Society also attended the workshop.
Inaugurating the Urban95 programme, Shri Chandra Singh Kothari, Mayor, Udaipur, highlighted the needs of young children and their caregivers, and the importance of providing them a safe environment outside their homes. He said the stakeholders should ‘look’ at the city from a height of 95 cm – the height of a three-year-old — and should channelize all energy and resources towards making the city more ITC-friendly.
Shri Ankit Kumar Singh, Commissioner, UMC, pointed out that with India set to become the ‘youngest nation’ by 2020, it was time to look at the needs of young children and their caregivers. He said Udaipur had to be made more accessible and safer for these groups. While thanking BvLF and ICLEI SA for initiating the Urban95 Programme in Udaipur, he said the UMC would wholeheartedly support its implementation on the ground.
Rushda Majeed, Country Representative, BvLF, and other representatives from BvLF such as Prakash Paul, Senior Consultant; Sana Mulla, Programme Support Officer; Rohit Virmani also attended the workshop. ICLEI SA representatives comprised Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director; Avantika Arjuna, Manager, Urban and Built Environment; Yougal Tak, Manager, Urban Mobility and Built Environment; and Bhupandra Salodia, Project Officer. Adarsha Kapoor, Urban Design Consultant to ICLEI SA for the Urban95 programme, and his team members were also present at the workshop.