The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) webinar on “Inclusive Cities – approaches for making Indian cities more accessible, safe, and inclusive for “all” aimed to bring conversations regarding inclusivity to the mainstream and will mark the engagement of thinkers, practitioners, researchers and sector experts for creating an enabling environment for all in cities. The webinar was a part of the 45th anniversary celebrations of the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
Experts at the webinar discussed topics ranging from inclusivity in urban development, needs of women and persons with disabilities in urban areas and urban heritage.
The Joint Secretary and Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Mr. Kunal Kumar said “Future cities need to ensure that basic urban infrastructures and services are accessible, user-friendly and inclusive of all people’s needs irrespective of economic status, age, ability and gender. There is a need to view accessibility as an investment in public good that contributes towards the larger goal of ensuring resilient, sustainable and inclusive urban development.”
The Director, NIUA, Mr. Hitesh Vaidya while shared his vision for mainstreaming inclusion as a cross-cutting approach in the urban agenda. He said “A city in our vision must be representative of the diverse communities and social economic backgrounds of people from different age groups and abilities. It understands and responds to the needs of all through better urban planning and policy making. It emphasizes the twin goal of ending social, urban, and economic disparities, and promoting inclusive, safe and accessible urban development.”.
The Inclusive Cities Center (ICC), set up at NIUA, aims to develop tools and frameworks for institutional strengthening of city authorities to promote inclusivity. A knowledge repository is also proposed for sharing learnings from global good practices of inclusive cities. ICC will facilitate cities in evidence-based planning and investments to improve quality of life and productivity for all. It will focus on the most vulnerable of the city residents including the urban poor, persons with disabilities, women, children, youth and elderly. The centre will also implement activities to address challenges related to spatial, social, economic and digital inclusion in cities.
Established in 1976, NIUA has been supporting the Government of India in policy formulation, research, and capacity building for the successful implementation of urban development projects such as the Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).