A frenetic month lies behind us as I write this.
The series of Bala Janaagraha Civic Fests reached its logical culmination, with school children from across India showcasing their stupendous work at the National Civic Fest. The fact that all of them rolled up their sleeves and spent weeks in the trenches trying to improve their neighbourhoods shows how wedded they are to the idea of being change agents. Their wonderful efforts reminded us that the unblemished idealism and energy of childhood make for a potent force indeed! Bala Janaagraha continues to harness just this force, year after year.
Talking of which, we are really excited about the new logo of this programme, one that captures its intent and spirit in a sharp and contemporary manner. You will find an update on this inside.
The other big development of February was our signing of an MOU with the Ministry of Urban Development to develop the Swachh City Solutions app, that is proposed to be deployed across the 4041 towns covered under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Our team of developers is hard at work to develop this app, which is seen as being critical to the successful rollout of SBM.
From this issue onwards, we introduce a new section called ‘Stories from the Landscape’, which will feature a curated set of articles from across the world on issues related to urban governance, quality of life, civic learning and civic participation. We hope this section will enrich your perspective.
And finally, a note on the lead story for this issue. Historically, the administration of cities in India has had little to do with the use of concrete data. By and large, decisions on urban administration have been taken on the basis on intuition, anecdotal evidence, personal expertise of a municipal administrator and other such factors. Against this backdrop, Chandrima Padmanabhan of Janaagraha puts forth a compelling case for the use of hard data to drive city-centric policies and decisions. She argues that this can help improve our quality of life significantly.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue of Urban Canvas, as much as we enjoyed putting it together. I’d love to hear your feedback. Do write to me at the e-mail id given below.
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Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy
A Quantitative Approach to Urban Quality of Life.
The use of data in the administration of cities can lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life and can go a long way in shoring up the public’s trust in policy-making, says Chandrima Padmanabhan of Janaagraha.
Stories from the Landscape
A selection of articles on one or more of these issues, culled from different publications across the world: urban governance, quality of life, civic participation and civic learning.
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