Leaders from Delhi and Bhubaneshwar visit London for Urban95 study tour
Senior government officials from India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, representatives from development authorities from Delhi and Bhubaneshwar and team members working on the Master Plan of Delhi 2041 joined a study tour of London on 22-23 October.
Organised by the Child Friendly Smart Cities centre, which is housed in the National Institute of Urban Affairs with support from Bernard van Leer Foundation, the study tour featured experts including Tim Gill from Rethinking Childhood; Adrian Voce from the European Network for Child Friendly Cities; Dinah Bornat, Mayor’s Design Advocate for the Mayor of London; Helen Forman, Senior Design Officer at Leeds City Council; Liz Kessler, author of children’s books; Phil Doyle, local authority and voluntary sector expert in developing play opportunities for children; Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Assistant Professor of Urbanism and Urban Architecture at the Faculty of the Built Environment at Eindhoven University of Technology; Sam Williams, Landscape Architect at Arup and co-author of Cities Alive: Designing for Urban Childhoods; Aileen Shackell, landscape architect at ASA Landscape; and Nicola Butler, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Play England.
The study tour aimed to help participants to gain new ideas and alternative perspectives on children-focused planning. Through visits to various sites, the tour explored the ‘how, what, and who’ of creating cities and spaces that are responsive to needs of all children – with a special focus on very young children (0-5 years), as they are most often left out from the planning process.
‘The London study tour has given a glimpse of the possibilities that lie ahead for our smart cities,’ said Rahul Kapoor, Director of Smart Cities-I in India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Bhabani Chayani, Additional Commissioner cum Member Enforcement at the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, added: ‘I was greatly moved to see how low-cost local resources were used in the play spaces for young children. This could be good to explore and incorporate in parks that we are about to retrofit.’
Over the last four years, the Child Friendly Cities Centre has built knowledge in India on how policy, design and planning of cities are linked to children’s overall physical and psychological development. The study tour looked at how London has responded to children’s needs at city, borough and neighbourhood level through, parks and play spaces, early childhood facilities, schools, childcare centres and the living environment. It examined successful initiatives – including the Olympic Park and redevelopments in Victoria Park and King’s Cross – that make London a city for young children and families.