Issue - 13
Under the Urban Data Conclave (UDC), NIUA has launched three captivating challenges: AI Art, Datathon, and Mapathon. Launched in the second week of August, these challenges provide a national platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds, including urban practitioners, students, academicians, startups, and policymakers, to exhibit their skills and underscore the pivotal role of data and technology in resolving complex urban issues. The three challenges are designed to tap into the power of imagination, data analysis, and spatial awareness, thereby fostering innovative solutions that can reshape the future of Indian cities.
AI Art Challenge invites participants to envisage the future of Indian Cities through the fusion of artificial intelligence and artistic creativity. Participants have the chance to win prizes worth 1 Lakh and the opportunity to showcase their work at the exhibition.
Datathon, in collaboration with AWS, is a competitive hackathon centred around data, providing a platform for participants to exhibit their skills and devise innovative solutions for real-world urban challenges. Selected entries stand to present at UDC, with prizes worth 5 Lakhs and AWS benefits.
Mapathon is an exciting initiative that encourages individuals to contribute actively to the collective growth of geospatial data by contributing to OpenStreetMap. The participants will win digital certificates and a chance for their work to be displayed at the exhibition.
The challenges are open for participation and span 45 days from their launch. Check out our website https://niua.in/urban-data-conclave/ to know more and participate.
The Australian Consulate-General in Chennai, committed to enhancing bilateral relations between India and Australia, has collaborated with NULP to host an e-learning course. These learning modules present a pragmatic framework tailored to foster the creation of spaces that cater to persons with disabilities (PwDs).
The modules articulate that inclusive design of public and private spaces will ensure greater accessibility for PwDs and empower them to participate actively in society. Crucially, the modules extend their reach to encompass the needs of the elderly and incorporate an array of accessibility elements and standards, thus paving the way for a universally accessible and inclusive India. Furthermore, these modules are valuable practical tools, sensitizing executing agencies, planners, designers, contractors, civic bodies, development authorities, and urban local bodies. By disseminating awareness and knowledge, these modules collectively contribute to an environment that is inclusive and accessible to all. The course can be accessed at: nulp.niua.org/explore-course/course/do_1138609118971985921305
Inclusive Cities Centre (ICC)
The workshop titled 'Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Universal Accessibility in India-2021' was held on 5th August 2023. As a part of the webinar, Kanika Bansal, BASIIC Programme addressed the participants in both Hindi and English.
The main objective was to disseminate knowledge about uniform accessibility standards in India. After the informative sessions, participants were given Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) to test their understanding. Scoring 70% or above in these MCQs made participants eligible for Continuing Rehabilitation Education (CRE) program points, promoting their professional growth. Organised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the workshop aimed to regulate and monitor training policies in Special Education and Disability Rehabilitation. The event drew substantial participation, with 600 attendees in the English session and 400 in the Hindi session, fostering a robust exchange of insights.
Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube)
NIUA and NMCG organised a two-day training workshop on “Managing Urban Rivers – From Planning to Practice” in Patna, Bihar, on 27-28th July 2023. The workshop brought together officials from 11 member cities of the River Cities Alliance (RCA) in the state. Over 60 officials from 20 member cities of the River Cities Alliance (RCA) state participated.
The two-day workshop focused on introducing the Urban River Management Plan (URMP) Framework, which serves as a comprehensive guideline for cities to enhance the management of their rivers. The participants resonated with the relevance of URMP and the need for collaboration between different departments of ULBs towards ensuring a healthy river. It was also encouraging to learn from a few decision-makers in the cities that there is a huge scope to implement projects under the objectives of URMP, especially the protection of river banks by riparian buffers. During the workshop, six more cities, Araria, Samastipur, Siwan, Supaul, Kishanganj and Hajipur, were officially onboarded into the River Cities Alliance.
Water hyacinths are known to be a menace to our rivers, causing pollution and disrupting the ecosystem. On 4th August 2023, NIUA and NMCG invited Mr. Gaurav Anand, Founder Swachhata Pukare Foundation to deliver a special talk on how his organisation is transforming water hyacinths into beautiful sarees. Mr Anand shed light on the journey of this inspiring initiative, its impact on the community and the environment, and how such initiatives can shape a better, sustainable world for all. This initiative empowers over 200 women living near the river banks through employment opportunities and keeps the rivers clean from invasive water hyacinths.
NIUA with support from the Global EbA Fund under IUCN, is working on a project called ‘Proliferating Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Practices in Indian Cities (EPIC)’. This is being piloted in Bhubaneswar city with the support of the Government of Odisha. Under the EPIC project, an attempt is being made to find the value of three critical ecosystems in Bhubaneswar which are facing anthropogenic pressures like many other cities. The core objective is to attach an ‘economic’ value to the ecosystem to appreciate its conservation benefits for sustainable development.
NIUA invited experts from UN-Habitat India, Wetlands International, WWF India, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), The Celestial Earth and India Water Foundation for a brainstorming discussion on the ‘Future of Ecosystem Valuation in India’ on 7th August 2023. The experts shared their experiences with various approaches to the economic valuation of different kinds of ecosystems. They also provided feedback on the current work being undertaken in Bhubaneswar. The discussion culminated with a proposition to form a working group on EbA to explore the possibilities of promoting the concept in Indian cities.
NIUA and NMCG in partnership with CEPT University organised the Grand Finale of the third season of the Student Thesis Competition on “Re-imagining Urban Rivers” on 10– 11th August 2023. The event was part of the global celebration of International Youth Day 2023. The competition saw 20 finalists presenting their thesis topics on re-imagaining the future of urban rivers.
The event also brought together over 200 students and more than 50 esteemed faculty members from over 40 universities across India. In the ‘River Forum with Students’ session, interactive games and team exercises were organised to sensitise students on urban river management. A ‘Roundtable with Academia’ was also organised to mainstream river-thinking into academic considerations. Potential strong synergies emerged from the discussion on how this academic consortium can move ahead and how the NIUA-NMCG secretariat can help facilitate mainstreaming river-thinking into academia.
The Housing & Urban Development Department of Odisha in collaboration with the CITIIS team in Odisha conducted an awareness workshop on ‘Making Workplaces Safe and Sensitive’ in August 2023 at Odisha Urban Academy, Bhubaneswar. The session was chaired by G Mathi Vathanan, Principal Secretary – H&UD and attended by high-level departmental officers, heads of parastatal organisations like Public Health Engineering Organisation, Orissa Water Supply and Sewerage Board, WATCO and State Urban Development Agency, and other senior experts and consultants.
The workshop aimed to:
The workshop was the first of its kind for the department. Sagarika Patnaik, Special Secretary – H&UD and the Presiding Officer of H&UD’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), coordinated the event. Ram Kishor Sharma (NIUA expert), Sonali Sinha (Senior Consultant to Women & Child Development Department from UNICEF) and Anuradha Mohanty (Member, ICC H&UD Dept.) spoke to the participants about the legal provisions of the PoSH Act and how to make workplaces PoSH compliant. Tanushree Behera and Meghana Sahoo spoke on the issues of sexual harassment faced by the transgender community partners whom the department has engaged in various flagship developmental programs.
Representatives from NIUA, the European Union Delegation to India, the French Development Agency (AFD), Surat Municipal Corporation, Aishwarya Tipnis Architects (Jugaadopolis), and Toxics Links came together in Surat on 24- 25th August to introduce ‘The Restoration Toolbox’ to officials from 10 cities in the CITIIS program cohort. The workshop was inaugurated by Dinesh Jodhani (Deputy Mayor, Surat), Paresh Patel (Chairman, Standing Committee) and Shalini Agarwal, IAS (Municipal Commissioner, Surat).
The Restoration Toolbox is an open-source participatory platform for the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage. The two-day workshop, supported by CITIIS, aimed to familiarise municipal engineers, architects and other officials with the Toolbox, how it can be applied in the Indian context and used to seek feedback from stakeholders and provide access to technical resources required to restore and repurpose buildings correctly.
The workshop was conducted by NFSSM Alliance, EY India & FSSM Odisha regarding 'Learning and Reflection on FSSM' held on 2nd August, 2023 in Bhubaneswar. Diverse stakeholders discussed and deliberated on the journey, impact, and way forward for the state to thrive in implementing inclusive, community-led sanitation service delivery.
During the workshop, Mahreen Matto, Team Lead, SCBP, presented NIUA can act as an enabler to 'Odisha Urban Academy' in transforming the academy into a Centre of Excellence (CoE). The training content and E-courses developed by SCBP in the area of Citywide Sanitation can be used to strengthen the capacities of various stakeholders and be the enabler in shaping the future of our cities. Equally essential is targeted and actionable training, which, in turn, will help in changing the capacity-building architecture of India.
Apart from NFSSM Alliance members, the workshop saw partners from Jharkhand and Nepal attending the in-person event to learn from the state's work. The convening was also attended by Special Secretary - Sagarika Patnaik, Additional Secretary - Duresh Nandini Sahoo, and Odisha Urban Academy (OUA), formerly Odisha Water Academy Director - Shantanu Rath.
The "Vision Setting" Stakeholder Consultation for the Leh Climate Action Plan took place on August 17th, 2023, under the collaborative efforts of NIUA, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), the European Union, and the Leh Municipal Committee. The event garnered active participation from over 35 attendees representing government bodies, academia, non-governmental organizations, and industry experts.
After the consultation day, the team convened with esteemed dignitaries, including the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, Brigadier (Dr) B. D. Mishra, Advisor Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shri Sanjeev Khirwar, and Shri Michael D'Souza. The objective of this meeting was to furnish these eminent figures with a presentation encompassing the discerned analysis and pivotal focal points.
Support and Coordination by C-Cube:
1. C-Cube provided support to the Ministry on NMSH progress for the Executive Committee meeting chaired by the Prime Minister on 14th August 2023.
2. Constant support and coordination with the UOF team and Ministry for the Urban Outcomes Framework in terms of data analysis of the CSCAF and development of Amplifi Dashboard.
3. C-Cube organized the steering committee meeting of the India Forum on Nature Based Solutions on the 4th August 2023.
Centre for Digital Governance (CDG)
A one day workshop on 'Standards- Guidelines and Specifications' was organised on 4th August, 2023 in Guwahati, Assam by NUDM in association with the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of Assam to necessitate the smooth implementation and adoption of Standards by the States/UTs.
In a virtual discussion organised on 8th August, 2023 between Shri Kailash Chand Meena, Secretary, LSGD, Rajasthan and NUDM team, deliberations were held on expediting the NUDM adoption and digitalising the current status of urban service delivery, including the convergence of multiple departments offering urban citizen-centric services.
The NUDM team assured to extend programmatic guidance in strengthening the urban e-governance under the ambit of the mission.
The NUDM team continued its engagement with the UT of Puducherry and discussed with G.Savoundirarajan, Deputy Director, Local Administration Department, Puducherry, T. Aruna, Team Leader and Urban Management Expert on 8th August, 2023.
The Puducherry officials pondered leveraging the UPYOG’s proficiency for reinforcing the citizen-anchoring services and augmenting the technical & financial capacity via a sustainable approach.
The NUDM team met with the Embassy of Denmark officials and had a fruitful conversation about the NUDM initiatives on 18th August, 2023.
The team also deliberated as to how the UPYOG platform for effective water management in the cities can potentially contribute to the joint activities under the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark.
The NUDM team conducted a diagnostic study of Himachal Pradesh’s citizen-centric e-governance services on 3rd August, 2023.
With the cooperation of the Department of IT and other stakeholders, it was determined that the Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) will be formed in the state and hosted by the Urban Development Department. The state has already begun to update its Online Building Plan Approval System on UPYOG.
The NUDM Team attended the second committee meeting organised on 8th August, 2023 in Uttar Pradesh to discuss the ‘State Urban Digital Mission (SUDM)’.
The meeting was chaired by Amrit Abhijat, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, UP, wherein it was decided that a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) will be established under SUDM.
Centre for Urbanisation and Economic Growth (CUEG)
URBAN YOUTH UNIT at NIUA celebrated a week-long programme filled with energy, enthusiasm, and the spirit of empowerment from 8- 16th August 2023. The programme comprised of several themes resonating deeply with the vibrant young generation. The young speakers and mentors kindled impactful discussions from leadership and innovation to personal growth.
The launch of the youth dialogue series, ‘You-Vichar: Young Voice for Urban Development’, featured Manju Rajeev Kanchan's invaluable insights, sparking conversations and shaping a brighter tomorrow. NIUA also celebrated Student Thesis Competition Season 3, ‘Reimagining Urban Rivers’, for two days, at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. The event showcased an exhibition of finalists focusing on river and water management, igniting innovative ideas and creative approaches. The ‘Brushstrokes of Imagination: Sketch Your Ideas’ competition saw a remarkable participation of over 150 attendees. With creative talent, students illustrated their interpretations of the ten objectives of the Urban River Management plan. This effort resulted in 35 registrations and a collection of truly outstanding solutions.
NIUA's Youth Message Wall served as a canvas for the visionary ideas of young minds, contributing to the concept of ‘Viksit Bharat 2047’. The nationwide survey, ‘Youth Survekshan’, aimed to gather opinions for shaping the future of our cities, engaging participants, and rewarding their involvement with postcards. Praja Foundation and NIUA hosted the ‘Prajatantra's Boot Camps’ youth campaign from 12-14th August 2023, and engaged over 1800 young participants across six impactful boot camps nationwide. Aligned with the visionary goals of PM, a webinar highlighting the ‘Role of Youth as Drivers of Sustainable Development’ was held on 14 August 2023.
U20 team activities:
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Editor: Ila Singh