Governance and Planning- ESAF - “Making cities livable through participatory advocacy tools”

                                                              

Governance and Planning- ESAF - “Making cities livable through participatory advocacy tools”

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Solution proposed by: 
Evangelical Social Action Forum, India
In a Nutshell: 
Livable Cities Project is a research and advocacy program which primarily envisions the improvement of livability of cities by ensuring safe access for the vulnerable to public transportation and Parks and Public Spaces. The project initiates dialogues with policy makers and engage citizens for sustainable and livable urban environment.
Where and When: 
Livable Cities Project commenced in three states in India; Nagpur, Maharashtra in the year of 2008 and later started in Bangalore in 2009 and Thrissur Kerala in 2011 with three other cities in Kerala added subsequently in 2014 (Malappuram) and in 2016 (Cochin) .
Challenges: 
Ample access to open spaces in the yester years has become a luxury for the current generation of Kerala. 1. Details of existing public space was not available for public 2. Importance of mapping, assessing the functionality, safety and accessibility of public spaces 3. Neither non availability of public space nor the importance of accessing the existing space was a major concern for stakeholders 4. Lack of proper awareness on pedestrian rights was a major hurdle to convince decision makers and city administration 5. Inadequate awareness among the citizens to exercise their rights for safe way and pedestrian infrastructure
Innovation: 
Research 1. Public space mapping 2. Walkability Study Policy Development 1. Drafting Charter of Pedestrian Rights and endorsing by the city administration Community Engagement 1. Organizing dissemination seminars, workshops and signature campaigns 2. Formation of Livable City Network to congregate stakeholders including government departments 3. Organizing Walkathon, Car Free Days, Open Street Events 4. Formation of I walk/ Cycle Clubs 5. Media consultation and sharing research results Capacity Building 1. Organizing visits for concerned officials 2. 1:1 meetings with officials for budget allocation 3. Organizing sensitization programs, formation of park volunteers
Concept: 
Livable cities project is implemented by ESAF with the support of HealthBridge Foundation. Based on the current trends, by 2020 NCD’s are expected to account for 75% of deaths and 60% of the global disease burden. ESAF believes that NCD’s burden can be mitigated through promotion of public spaces, non motorized transport and pedestrian friendly infrastructure. The project strives to create neighborhoods which have safe streets, free access to parks, playgrounds, open space and fun places to play around. Various activities under three major components are executed to achieve the missions. ESAF’s work in the three states in India has shown significant changes in the attitude of policy and decision makers and community moving towards the sustainable goals. The vision ultimately leads to 1) Decreased mortality and morbidity due to NCD’s 2) Increased social interaction and community cohesion 3) Decreased amount of emissions which causes air pollution and climate change ESAF initiated various activities including research, capacity building and community engagement for attaining the goals. Through these efforts ESAF was able to propagate the need and importance of “Built Environment” among the various stakeholders which resulted in the development of these components in the city.
Description: 
There are various activities under the components. • Healthy Transportation – a) Conducted World Car Free Days (CFD) for last two consecutive years. Car Free Day programs was an eye opener for the public to move towards sustainable transport. The first CFD was in fact the first one of entire South India. People developed the sense of the need and importance of pedestrian infrastructure and open space through being part of various fun activities of the event. CFD garnered a lot of media coverage which helped to reach the message to a wide population. Various government entities and corporate partnered in the event which displays the sign of them supporting the cause. b) Various research reports including walkablity study reports helped to build a better consensus about the pedestrian infrastructure in cities. These studies resulted in drafting of Charter of pedestrian rights and endorsing by the city administration along with various policy changes by allocating facilities for better infrastructure. c) Open street events helps to build the capacity of the community to engage in various activities to promote sustainable and healthy transport. d) Awareness classes on road safety among bus drivers, auto drivers and community developed responsible and safe travelling culture • Park Development Program – a) Conducted Situational Analysis of Parks and Public Spaces and the report was disseminated among the stakeholders for better outcome. b) Functional Park Programs helps to rejuvenate the non functional parks through community mobilization and engagement, which eventually lead to community owning the park • Active and Safe Routes to School – a) Promoting healthy transportation in schools through I Walk Clubs. b) Advocating for proper walking and cycling environment through route audits and mapping. C) Conducting various community lead programs to promote walking and cycling like Walk to School Day, Walking bus and Walking Wednesdays
Impacts: 
• Increased awareness among journalists led to raising issues related to pedestrian rights, infrastructures and public spaces • Increased capacity among elected members and officials led in increase in budget allocation of 75 Million INR to redesign inclusive public spaces and pedestrian amenities • Compared to previous years, increased consensus for complete utilization of allocated budget • Identification and renovation of non functional spaces • Endorsed Charter of Pedestrian Rights by City Corporation • Department of Traffic uses IEC materials developed by ESAF in their induction and awareness programs • ESAF received Walking Visionary Award from Walk 21, 2015 Vienna

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