75 transformed urban spaces to be models for accessibility

National Institute of Urban Affairs’ compendium provides examples of fully implemented guidelines

June 15, 2022 06:03 pm | Updated 06:03 pm IST - NEW DELHI

National Institute of Urban Affairs Director Hitesh Vaidya. File

National Institute of Urban Affairs Director Hitesh Vaidya. File | Photo Credit: Vijay Kutty

Seventy-five projects of transformed urban spaces, including waterfronts, transit hubs and markets or plazas, selected by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in a recently released compendium, would serve as examples where harmonised guidelines on accessibility are fully implemented, Director, NIUA, Hitesh Vaidya said.

The e-book, Transforming Urban Landscape in India released on June 6 by the NIUA, covered 75 completed projects to mark 75 years of Independence. The compendium included re-imagined public spaces, including the Marine Drive walkway redevelopment in Kochi, Neela Hauz Biodiversity Park and Raahgiri Day in Delhi, the M.G. Road boulevard in Bengaluru, and the Pondy Bazaar pedestrian plaza in Chennai. Now, Mr. Vaidya said, the projects would be used as examples for other cities to learn from.

Mr. Vaidya said the projects selected for the compendium would be the spaces where the government’s Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India that is in the process of being updated will be implemented. “Going forward, we want these public spaces to be the model where our harmonised guidelines are implemented fully. The point is to learn, not duplicate,” Mr. Vaidya said.

A draft version of the guidelines prepared by a team from Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee and the NIUA was published by the Central Public Works Department in 2021, updating the existing accessibility guidelines notified in 2016. The new guidelines are yet to be rolled out, so the 2016 standards are still applicable.

Speaking about the book, Mr. Vaidya said: “The main reasons behind this e-book are to nudge all States and cities that if these cities can do it, then we can do it, and then people who will see it will put pressure on their own cities as well...Our cities require open spaces and not concrete jungles. Open spaces will contribute to the larger goal of net zero and be the first baby step towards it.”

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