‘75-hour challenge’ helps develop 50 public spaces | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The challenge was simple enough, but the results held the promise of delivering on a much bigger scale. Given 75 hours to work on small areas that were congested, poorly used or just neglected, 31 cities under the Smart City Mission (SCM) developed 50 public spaces with a cumulative area of 1 lakh sq metres to provide citizens better traffic and pedestrian movement, vending facilities or recreation spaces.
The success of the ‘75-hour challenge” with the mini projects termed as “tactical interventions’ is set to be taken up for wider replication by municipalities with even ward level committees seeing the potential for turning around drab and dirty surroundings into productive spaces for young and old alike. These projects under what has also been called the “place-making marathon” included improvement of streets as also upgradation of parks, including green pockets along streets, outdoor infrastructure improvement of Anganwadis and public health centres.
The Centre has now launched the second phase of the marathon to encourage cities to reimagine one or more public spaces in their city and transform them quickly to showcase tangible change to citizens. “The SCM has promoted the test-learn-scale approach as it is fundamental to bringing about citizen-centric transformations in a sustainable manner. Place-making is a manifestation of that approach in the transformation of urban spaces. It is a low cost, low time method to test an idea and learn from it,” said Kunal Kumar, SCM mission director.
For example, an unused space under Vadsar flyover in Vadodara was converted to a play and learning area for an anganwadi at Rs 9.85 lakh in three days. Chief architect of Vadodara Smart City, Priyank Shah, said, “The area beneath the flyover was lying unused. It had become a hub for anti-social elements. We involved 75 architecture students and resourced scrap materials from local agencies.”

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