Week 3 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Mobility & Infrastructure

ESG has worked with street communities to reclaim streets as public commons, to protect street vendor rights, to promote pedestrian and cycling rights, to secure urban greenery – especially tree lines and heritage spaces, all to promote the idea of a  city that would ensure inclusivity is central to such public spaces and infrastructure. The argument has been and continues to be that there must be deep democratisation of decision making relating to mobility and infrastructure development so that the promise of Article 39 B – that ownership and employment of material resources best serve the  common good – is actually an argument for  protecting commons, ensuring good health, promoting environmentally viable and equitable livelihoods, and ensuring the city is a construct that is socially responsible, economically viable and ecologically wise.  

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Week 2 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Challenges Of Securing Urban Commons

ESG has worked with this problematique of the commons and demonstrated how securing them can be a win-win for all. Working with communities to resist privatisation of commons, such as lakes, and then asking for a policy to protect them with Public Trust Doctrine and the principle of intergenerational equity  as the basis, has resulted in path breaking outcomes – rehabilitation of lakes as inclusive commons and as sacred spaces that deserve community and statutory protection to advance ecological and water security. 

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Week 1 Report: Waste And Governance

The 1st webinar as part of the ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work was on the theme Waste And Governance and held on 7th July 2022 (5-7 pm). Kirthee Shah, Founder President of INHAF set the tone by explaining the background to the series. The webinar was anchored by Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator and Trustee of ESG, and Bhargavi S. Rao, Trustee and Senior Fellow at ESG, who also provided an introduction to ESG’s diverse efforts on governance of waste management, and its implications to governance overall. Respondents were Prof. Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh Environmental Law Alliance; Maitreyi Krishnan of Manthan Law and Shibu Nair of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

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Week 1 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Waste And Governance

For over two decades, ESG has focussed on the emerging urban environmental and socio-economic challenges and has been working with multiple communities, government agencies, academia, media, etc. The approach has always been about finding viable and inclusive solutions to vexatious problems advocating deeply democratic processes that draw on  intersectoral, interdisciplinary, intersectional experiences, knowledge and histories. Bangalore and other cities today are in a mess as they follow highly centralised governance approaches that drift from existing legal provisions in which the various local publics find no place to imagine their futures as part of a collective imagining of the city’s future.

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Week 8: Reimagining Bengaluru’s Infrastructure As Resilient To Climate-Change

The ‘smart city’ projects have skewed relationships between intent and impact, with massive investments being made in gentrified neighborhoods to the neglect of most other areas of the metropolis. Meanwhile, investments in essential social, education and health infrastructure remain stagnant and are even declining. Would turning planning and development into deeply democratic and decentralised processes and promoting self-sufficient neighborhoods be the answer to reducing the carbon footprint of the metropolis and adapting Bengaluru to climate change impacts?

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Webinar Report: Securing Clean Air And Inclusive Mobility For Bengaluru

“Environmental justice, transportation justice, street justice are all deeply political matters, and to see it merely from a technical perspective will not give us the answers…It is also important to try and create a network where it doesn’t become a government-driven system alone. As consumers we have power. As consumers, we are not effectively networked to propel the transformation that is essential”

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Week 7: Securing Clean Air And Inclusive Mobility For Bengaluru

Everyone pays a very high price for mobility in Bengaluru. Incredible traffic snarls cost precious time, money, infrastructure and public health, and substantially erode the ‘salubrious’ quality of the metropolis. With an astonishing 0.8 to 1 vehicle to population ratio, Bengaluru metropolitan area is amongst the most fossil fuel dependent urban spaces globally. Air quality is significantly deteriorating, resulting in severe health impacts, especially for the poor and marginalised.

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Webinar Report: Making Bengaluru Energy Independent

“Is it possible to keep this city running with this pattern of consumption and demand for energy? How are BESCOM and KPTCL sustaining this supply? What are the challenges of the petrochemical sector in supporting fuel demands? Is there a way that we could shift to more sustainable sources, such as renewable energy, and can those transitions be just for all involved? Will such just transitions require Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Authorities to imagine futures that are based on sustainable energy systems, in contrast with the prevailing extractive and unsustainable systems? And can we ensure all homes (be they of rich, poor or middle classes), institutions, offices, government buildings will find ways to consume less power and shift to alternate forms of locally generated power?”

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Week 5 Webinar Report: Securing Biodiversity Rich, Healthy, Socially Inclusive And Economically Viable Commons In Bengaluru

“Commons bring people of the city together. It gives an opportunity to mix people from various communities…In a public park you will find people from a diverse set of communities; people from across caste and class economic status and so on and that is important for us to broaden our minds also. Otherwise we are just limited and living in our own silos”

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Week 5: Securing Biodiversity Rich, Healthy, Socially Inclusiveand Economically Viable Commons In Bengaluru

Densely crowded, polluted, non-inclusive and stress-inducing concretised spaces are making neighbourhoods increasingly vulnerable to various impacts of climate change such as flooding and the ‘heat island’ effect. How, into the future, can the metropolis secure biodiversity rich, healthy and economically viable spaces for all?

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Week 4: Food For Thought: Towards An Environmentally Sustainable And Socially Just Food System

Bengaluru metropolitan area every day takes a lot of effort, energy, land, water and complex logistics. From a time when the city was growing and sourcing almost all its foods from the local region and backyard gardens, rising wealth and associated consumer capacity has resulted in foods with a high carbon and environmental footprint being fetched from far away, even from across the world. The metropolitan region now contributes far less food production than before, even as its expansion strains rural areas close by in sustaining farming.

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Week 3: Making Bengaluru Water Secure

Bengaluru’s insatiable demand for water has not only exhausted its replenishable ground water reserves, and overdrawn its share of the Cauvery, but now plans are afoot to extract water from the far away Sharavathi river. Meanwhile, the acute financialization of land sans rigorous and democratic land use planning has resulted in lakes and other water commons that once sustained the city’s water needs being cannibalised.

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Week 2 Webinar Report: Public Health, Sanitation And Waste Management: Is A Decentralized Approach The Way Out?

Public health, sanitation and waste management sectors are intricately linked in not only ensuring all are healthy, but that the toxic impacts of our living are not a burden for future generations. It has been argued time and again that centralised response strategies are resource heavy and cause societal dysfunctionality, and the way forward is to ensure ward-level governance becomes real in every way, especially in securing public health and sanitation for all.

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Week 2: Public Health, Sanitation And Waste Management: Is A Decentralised Approach The Way Out?

One of the first challenges that climate planning throws up is: how to deal with climate change and its impacts? Is decentralisation of governance the most optimal way out? Public health, sanitation and waste management sectors are intricately linked in not only ensuring all are healthy, but that the toxic impacts of our living are not a burden for future generations.

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Bengaluru’s Climate Action Plan: Inaugural Session Report

The series is a process of engaging with multiple thematic issues, concerns and imaginaries of leading officials of various agencies whose functioning impacts the city, with subject matter experts, youth, representatives of various sectors and residents from diverse sections of the city. And it is also a process of collectivising diverse views and solutions with necessary nuance.

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Rewilding Humans: Nature Education At The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary

The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is a forest garden and conservation centre in Wayanad Kerala. It is founded on a premise that humans are participant members in nature’s community. The philosophy and practice, as well as world view and politics of the sanctuary arise out of this. As the world gets more and more fragmented and hierarchized, even more driven by capitalistic interests and a technocracy,

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