Rourkela: The Rourkela Smart City has secured place in the top 25 cities in the country in the ‘Nurturing Neighbourhood Challenge’ of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge, hosted by the Smart Cities Mission of the Ministry in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and WRI India, was launched with the focus on early childhood development (0-5-year-old children) in the planning and management of cities. The 3-year initiative aims at working with cities and their partners to pilot and scale ways to improve public space, mobility, neighbourhood planning, access to early childhood services and amenities, and data management across city agencies.
The Rourkela Smart City had given proposals for 5 peer projects related to creation of Infant, Toddler, Caregiver-friendly neighbourhood with key components like safe, green, accessible, playful and inclusive framework.
The projects were prepared by reimagining public open spaces for play and interaction, learning while playing, adapting public spaces with early childhood amenities like baby feeding booth, making streets safe and walkable for young children and their caregivers and improving access to early childhood services, such as Anganwadis and health centres with state of art amenities.
Commissioner, Rourkela Municipal Corporation and the CEO, Rourkela Smart City Limited Dibyajyoti Parida said while preparing the projects it was emphasised to formulate the vision for early childhood-centric development while targeting young children and their families by consulting multiple stakeholders.
He said the existing Anganwadi Kendras will be redeveloped as smart education centres with advanced amenities and infrastructures. Baby feeding booths will be provisioned at key open spaces for ensuring comfort to the feeding mothers, baby transport vehicle-friendly walkway in parks and zebra crossing near Children Park will be made for easy accessibility and creche schools for children of working parents.
Besides, there are plans to transform the city schools into smart schools. These smart schools will have smart class rooms with robotic based learning module for easy accessibility of students, said the CEO, Rourkela Smart City.