Digital platform to assess Bhubaneswar’s public open spaces

Bhubaneswar: If you are passionate about going to parks in the temple city where you have just landed or explore other public open spaces as per the quality of services they offer, here is a tool to go for.

An App and digital platform, currently under the process of development, can help locate parks in the city to a traveller or citizens of Bhubaneswar who wants to explore the green space and spend some quality time there.

This digital platform/interface with city map and insights is being developed by a team of Smart City Fellows who were in the city to explore public open spaces as part of their visit to Bhubaneswar Smart City. This is the pilot project, which is being taken up in Bhubaneswar by the Smart City Mission.

The proposed App can help the user browse through open spaces like parks, markets, heritage precinct, waterfronts, transit nodes and streets and let him/her rate the quality of the open space as per the benchmarks developed in the database.

For example, if from among 10 major parks in the city a park near airport scores 6.5 out of 10 score, then the city can know that it needs further improvements, also citizens and visitors can enjoy specific facilities offered there.

A user will use the proposed App to know the scores based on comfort, access, safety, inclusivity, resilience, sustainability, culture and identity, citizen engagement and activities offered in the public space so that he/she can know the facilities offered.

Details under each type, for e.g. under comfort; components like seating arrangement, lighting, drinking water, green cover, toilets, cleanliness, pathways, shade etc would be assessed.

Three Smart City Fellows Shubhashweti Sinha, Mansi Naidu and Kirti Kawale, visited Bhubaneswar city and also explored the public open spaces including the parks, streets, heritage precincts and the Smart City projects involving citizens.

They said that the design and assessment tool for public spaces will not only help in setting a benchmark across the smart cities under the Smart City Mission but the digital interface with citizen feedback and experts’ analysis.

This information can be viewed in a geospatial map of all the public open spaces in the city, they added.

The digital platform/App will be fed by inputs from the users so that the assessment would be updated and the new inputs in real-time would be added to improve experiences shared by a new user. The App, once made operational could be customised as per the local needs of any ULB/City/Smart City for benchmarking of their open spaces.

It can be mentioned here that the Smart City Fellows of the Smart City Mission under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) are from various fields and are travelling across Smart Cities in India to gather experiences and create innovative ideas/tools for citizen-centric usable urban solutions.

Smart City Fellows Shubhashweti Sinha, Mansi Naidu and Kirti Kawale, who visited Bhubaneswar are mentored by well-known urban development expert Professor KT Ravindran and would be developing the tool by interacting with people and also getting their feedback on board.

While Kirti is an Urban Designer, Shubhashweti is an architect with Masters in International Cooperation and Mansi Naidu is an engineer in Electronics and Communication. Development professional Sadaf Sethwala is also part of the team.