The Smart Cities Mission mandates developing green and natural play areas, and a number of cities have introduced projects focusing on developing parks keeping children in mind. Under the Smart Cities Mission, there are currently 160 projects in 60 cities for creating green corridors, development and innovative use of open spaces, designing walkways and cycle tracks, riverfront development and eco-restoration projects, says Kanak Tiwari, Team Lead at The Child friendly Smart Cities (CFSC) initiative by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, which is dedicated towards mainstreaming the needs of children in the urban agenda and is supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
Theme-based parks like nature park, beach park and riverfront green areas are being developed in some of these cities such as Bhubaneswar, a children’s science park in Belagavi and science centre at Kakinada, a themed nature park in Coimbatore, happiness areas in New Delhi, riverfront parks in Guwahati, and Indore and lakefront development at Jabalpur.
“All these projects provide an opportunity for exposure to nature, while also creating awareness on preserving natural features of the city. These smart cities have focused on designing new parks and play areas for children and even redevelopment and retrofitting of existing parks and open spaces. All 20 lighthouse cities have a component of refurbishing the existing parks and play areas, she says.