One fine afternoon in Delhi’s already scorching heat, i arrived for a meeting. “The full formals in this Delhi summer – are you kidding me”! Yes, it was supposed to be a formal day. But thanks to the good ambiance and the person with whom the meeting was scheduled for discussing urban development scenario and the growing sense of Urbanism in Delhi, i eventually felt much more comfortable.
The conversation proceeded about the development vision of India. About how several countries are coming forward to give grants to facilitate better international partnerships, which contribute to development mission in Urban spheres. How citizens should be “Informed”, “Consulted”, ‘Involved’, ‘Collaborated’ & ‘Empowered’ as they are the FIRST BENEFICIARY of any of the proposed projects, so called ‘Citizen Consultation’ had been a myth!
Urbanism in Delhi : Making “Citizen Centric Cities”
It’s not me or an intellectual who would have come up with it. The response can be critically derived by asking a normal question to a random citizen (literate or illiterate/informed or uninformed). “Where is the urban development vision of India heading?” What is happening to the promise for developing “Citizen Centric Cities”
Can you feel the heat, is it a NO? So let’s listen to the answer of a ‘taxpayer’ citizen who has little idea about what is being done or what had been done or what will be done! For the ease of understanding, let’s take an example of a simple Chai Shop, where in a single sip people give a “FEEDBACK” to the shop owner about his “Service Delivery”. Even if its just an average Rs. 5/- investment. Now imagine a scenario where all citizens together give their valuable feedback. I too personally believe if you don’t give feedback how can you expect a tasty cup of tea when you visit next time.
Urbanism in Delhi : Importance of Feedback from Locals
So what do you believe! Are the projects, schemes, missions, policies etc. proposed at the cost of the people’s interest? How can we have a better connect between what people expect and what development professionals are trying to achieve? Development is really not a development if people do not get involved. Not only me, you but everyone could ask policy makers – how can we give and accept the “Local Feedback”. Let’s take some of the opinions from the road, from the common people.
OK till now you might have thought, the author has gone haywire from the heading! Collecting back the final departure and taking an auto from Chanakyapuri after the meeting. Due to concern over scorching summer, i humbly offered my cold drink bottle to autowala whose pale face said it all, why Delhi is so unfair in summer although winter is another story. After finding himself at ease, while giving me a ride to the nearest metro, the autowala shared his grief and anguish over the rising heat in summer. “Such erratic rises in temperature are obvious – look all around you – the city is full of PAKKA things – roads, buildings, rooftops, pedestrians etc. And GREENERY is just being witnessed in a few places. Unfortunately a lot more can be done to take care of urban forestry!”
Connecting the dots, in just a single statement this auto-wala taught me the lesson of Urban Heat Island & Climate Change. His concern about the rising impervious cover in New Delhi is of the utmost importance. I don’t know how far or where this common man’s feedback will be heard. And how we can save ourselves by having “GREEN DELHI”.