New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) A total of 25 cities have been shortlisted for the ‘Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge’ cohort under the government’s Smart Cities Mission in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) and technical partner WRI India.
This challenge is a three-year initiative which aims at supporting early childhood-friendly neighbourhoods under the Smart Cities Mission. The shortlisted cities include Agartala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Dharamsala, Erode, Hubballi-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Kakinada, Kochi, Kohima, Kota, Nagpur, Rajkot, Ranchi, Rohtak, Rourkela, Salem, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruppur, Ujjain, Vadodara and Warangal.
To demonstrate early wins, solicit citizen participation and build consensus around their proposals, the cohort will receive technical assistance, capacity building and scale-up support to experiment, and implement trials and pilots over the next six months.
The first stage of the challenge involved calling open applications from the city agencies which closed on February 7. Applications proposing neighbourhood-level pilot projects in public space, mobility and access to services to enhance the physical and psychological health of young children and their caregivers were submitted by 63 cities from across India.
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said: “By engaging cities to shape healthier urban environments for early childhood, the challenge has refocused attention on the importance of neighbourhood-level interventions. This approach is well-aligned with the strategy of the Smart Cities Mission to promote inclusive, people-oriented development in compact, local areas towards scaling city-wide solutions that enhance our citizens’ quality of life.”
Over 100 cities were engaged through remote or in-person discussions and online capacity-building workshops under the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge during the three-month application period.