Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs (Independent Charge), Hardeep Singh Puri launched the ‘Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0’, along with the ‘Streets for People Challenge’ in a virtual event organised by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in New Delhi on Friday.
The objective of CSCAF is to provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating climate change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments. In the last decade, an increasing frequency of cyclones, floods, heatwaves, water scarcity and drought-like conditions have adversely impacted several Indian cities. These events had also led to the loss of lives as well as impacted economic growth. In this context, the CSCAF initiative intends to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
Secretary, MoHUA, Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MOHUA, his departmental colleagues and officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, principal secretaries (urban development) of state government and union territories, state mission directors of Smart Cities Mission, municipal commissioners and CEOs of smart cities, representatives of partner agencies and other key stakeholders also attended the function.
The CSCAF assessment framework was developed after reviewing the existing frameworks and assessment approaches adopted throughout the world followed by a series of extensive consultations with more than 26 organisations and 60 experts from different thematic areas.
The framework has 28 indicators across five categories, viz energy and green buildings, urban planning, green cover & biodiversity, mobility and air quality, water management and waste management. The Climate Centre for Cities under the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA with the implementation of CSCAF.
As the lockdown restrictions are eased, cities face many challenges in providing safe, affordable, and equitable modes of transport that enable social distancing. Limited public transport options, narrow, crowded sidewalks particularly in the market places and deterioration of mental health, are key issues that must be addressed on priority. Pedestrianisation of streets for walking and creating public spaces is a crucial step towards mitigating these issues. Cities around the world, such as Bogota, Berlin and Milan have responded by transforming streets for walking and cycling to ensure safe mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Streets for People Challenge is the response to the need for making cities more walkable and pedestrian-friendly. The challenge builds on the advisory issued by MoHUA for the holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces, earlier this year. The programme will support cities across the country to develop a unified vision of streets for people in consultation with stakeholders and citizens. Adopting a participatory approach, cities will be guided to launch their design competitions to gather innovative ideas from professionals for quick innovative and low-cost tactical solutions.
It aims to inspire cities to create walking-friendly and vibrant streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures. All cities participating in the challenge would be encouraged to use the ‘test-learn-scale’ approach to initiate both, flagship and neighbourhood walking interventions. The interventions can include inter alia creating pedestrian-friendly streets in high footfall areas, re-imagining under-flyover spaces, re-vitalising dead neighbourhood spaces and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas. Fit India Mission under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, along with the India programme of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP), has partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.