Digital tools to assess public open spaces in City

Bhubaneswar: If you are passionate about going to parks in the Temple City or want to explore other public open spaces as per the quality of service they offer, here is a tool for you.

An app and a digital platform, currently under development, can help a traveller or a local citizen locate and explore the green space and spend some quality time there.

The 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 that 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 sites, water fronts, transit nodes and streets and let him/her rate the quality of the open space as per the benchmarks indicated in the database.

For example, if from among 10 major parks in the city, a park near airport scores 6.5 out of 10, then it is understood, it needs further improvement.

The app will also help a user 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 like comfort, components such as seating arrangement, lighting, drinking water, green cover, toilets, cleanliness, pathways, shade etc would be assessed.

The three Smart City Fellows— Shubhashweti Sinha, Mansi Naidu and Kirti Kawale— who visited Bhubaneswar city and explored parks, streets, heritage precincts and Smart City projects involving citizens said, “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 citizens’ feedback and experts’ analysis. This information can be viewed in a geo-spatial map of all the public open spaces in the city. ’’

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.

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.

Shubhashweti Sinha, Mansi Naidu and Kirti Kawale are mentored by well-known urban development expert Prof 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 is an engineer in electronics and communication. Development professional Sadaf Sethwala is also a part of the team.