‘Streets for People’ challenge launched

No space:Footpaths are often overtaken by showrooms and illegally parked vehicles in cities.V. Raju  

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry on Friday launched an initiative for making cities more pedestrian-friendly, which HUA Minister Hardeep Puri said was a response to the need for walkable urban spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with the recent initiative promoting cycling in cities, the ‘Streets for People Challenge’ would help cities provide safer means of transport with social distancing. The challenge, organised by the Smart Cities Mission of the Ministry, is not be limited to the 100 Smart Cities as all cities with a population of over 5 lakh, and capital cities, can apply.

Mr. Puri said that in the post-COVID-19 world, cities needed to be built in a way to deal with any future pandemics. The Ministry said the challenge included creation of pedestrian-friendly streets in areas with high footfall, re-imagining the spaces under flyovers, re-vitalising dead spaces in neighbourhoods, and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas. Cities have to submit their proposals by February 11, 2021 and implement their interventions by May 31, 2021.

Mr. Puri also launched the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework 2.0, which gives cities a roadmap for tackling climate change.