Bhubaneswar: “If we want to make our cities livable for everyone, planning from the vantage point of a kid is the best place to start. As a healthy three-year-old sees the city from a 95 cm average height, we need to shape the city from the height of a child to make everything child-friendly,” opined experts at a workshop organized in the city on Tuesday.
The workshop titled ‘Urban-95’ was organized by Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) in collaboration with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) as part of capacity building programme for city planners and government officials on child-friendly interventions.
Speaking on the occasion, early childhood development specialist from BvLF Rachel Machefsky said, “Hence children are fastest learners, we must always focus our attention on their needs so that from their early-childhood days they would grow around child-friendly public spaces and would always have a similar orientation to have the philosophy in mind.”
Rushda Majeed, India representative of BvLF presented an overview of the foundation and how it is supporting child-friendly initiatives across the world including the Bhubaneswar Smart City project, in which ‘Urban-95’ is pilot and cost-effective innovations that would be included in public space, mobility, data-driven decision making and parent coaching.
While elaborating on the best practices in terms of child-friendly interventions across the globe, deliberations were also held on public space transformation of existing physical spaces into accessible places for young children to play and explore nature, ensuring safe passage for kids to walk or cycle and a safe place to play and get food etc. Similarly, the collection of city-level neighbourhood data on young children and caregivers were also discussed.
Chairing the workshop BDA Secretary Sitansu Kumar Rout said, “As our city has topped the India Smart City Challenge and the Bhubaneswar Smart city proposal envisage to make the city child-friendly, the Urban-95 concept is being followed to make various aspects city design and infrastructure child-friendly in the real sense.”
BDA Senior Administrative Officer Madhumita Rath, Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited General Manager Bijay Kumar Swain, Senior Municipal Planner BMC Bandita Mohapatra, Child Protection Officer Banishree Patnaik, CDPOs of BMC along with planners from BDA and Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre participated in the workshop.