Bengaluru

Availability, access, maintenance issues ail public spaces: Survey

Poor availability, access and maintenance plague the city’s public spaces — parks and playgrounds. This fact was the highlight of a two-month survey of open spaces conducted by Janaagraha.

To begin with, the city has 19 sq. km of open spaces, and at just 2.2 sq. m of open space per capita, Bengaluru falls short of the prescribed standard of 10 sq. m of open space per capita, as recommended by the Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (2015) guidelines. Availability of drinking water and toilets was also cited as a major concern. While only 3% of the parks had drinking water facilities, only 6% of them had toilets. The survey team found 21% of parks closed, even during repeat visits, while 56% had adequate lighting and 54% were found littered with garbage. That apart, nearly 79% of parks and playgrounds are in the core areas of the city.

However, on the positive side, majority of open spaces provide physical and recreational activity; nearly 80% of parks had walking tracks, and 77% had seating arrangements. On the other hand, only 36% had play equipment for children.

Sapna Karim, head, Civic Participation, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, said the BBMP spent ₹101 crore on parks and playgrounds in 2016–17 and budgeted ₹165 crore for them in 2017–18. To improve the quality of parks and playgrounds, the BBMP has to first provide drinking water, have public toilets, clear the garbage and install bins to prevent littering, besides providing adequate lighting, she said. “Just this will enhance citizens’ ability to utilise these spaces,” she said.

Public toilets

Janaagraha also conducted a survey of public toilet complexes in the city. According to the national guidelines set by the Swachh Bharat Mission to cater to a floating population of 5 lakh in cities, there should be one toilet per 100 men and two per 100 women. The city has just 473 public toilets and falls short by almost 1,100. Though guidelines indicate that the city requires one toilet complex every 7 km, the survey showed that there was one toilet in every 24-km stretch.

The survey showed that the BBMP has done a good job in areas with high pedestrian traffic. For instance, in Sudhamanagar, there were 28 toilet complexes, followed by 22 toilet complexes in Dharmarayaswamy Temple ward. Though almost 85% of the public toilets are located in the core areas, 42 wards in core areas that are densely populated do not have a single toilet. With regard to cleanliness, only 10% men’s and 6% women’s toilets had functional flushes, while an average 13% public toilets did not have dustbins. Ms. Karim noted that privately maintained toilets scored better than those maintained by the BBMP. Accessibility could be improved by enabling petrol stations to open up toilets to the public, apart from the BBMP building toilets in parks and playgrounds wherever adequate land is available, besides exploring the possibility of having portable toilets in strategic locations.

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Key findings of the survey

Number of parks: 1,115

Number of playgrounds: 192

Top five parks: Ramakrishnanagar Park (Nandini Layout ward); Coles Park (Pulakeshinagar); Park beside Pushpanjali theatre (Shivanagar); S.R. Nagar, BBMP Head Office (Sampangirama Nagar); and Ideal Homes Layout Fruit Park (Rajarajeshwarinagar)

Top five playgrounds: Children’s Playground, Central Exchange Layout (Sanjaynagar); Kittur Rani Channamma Playground (Byrasandra); Capt. Kevin Kumar Children’s Playground (Hebbal); Udyaravi Children’s Playground, KEC Layout (Shankar Mutt); and Defence Colony Playground (Hoysalanagar)

Budget allocation for parks and playgrounds: ₹94.11 crore (2016–17); ₹165.31 crore (2017–18)

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Number of public toilet complexes: 473

403 public toilet complexes in core areas

70 public toilet complexes in outer areas

Top 3 toilet complexes: Pattabhiramanagar, Bharathinagar, Attiguppe


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 4:45:41 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/public-spaces-bangalore-janagraha-survey/article21245129.ece