Focus Shifts On Creating More Open Spaces Across Indian Cities
As land bank in cities shrink, the pressure on municipal corporations and other urban development agencies has increased. Most of the times, the social infrastructure of a city is just not enough to provide enough breathing space per person as population numbers hit the roof. However, urban-local bodies are working to address the issue and have, in fact, provided us with a great solution.
For instance, the concept of open gymnasiums has been introduced by many urban development agencies to give citizens a healthy break. Patna, Noida, Pune, Jaipur, Chandigarh are all examples of cities that have started building open gyms.
Satish Kaushik, a resident of Boring Canal Road, Patna, takes out his car early morning, drives two kilometres to reach the SK Puri Park every day.
“Boring Road is an upscale locality. Commercial and residential projects co-exist but the only issue so far has been the dearth of parks and green areas. This park has been the only solace in years and its redevelopment has helped many like us who come for morning/evening walks.”
Bala Sinha, a graduation student of AN College, Patna, says, “I am into sports, and need to train two to three hours every day. My coach introduced this place to me and ever since our costs have reduced. People who frequent this place are fine, too.”
By charging a nominal amount to enter the park, authorities have ascertained that they are raising enough funds to keep up the development of the park. Men, women, children and senior citizens in Patna have thus got some respite from the crowded lanes and heavy traffic with two such parks in the heart of the city. Social activities such as music and cultural programmes, games for parents and children, athletic events, etc., also take place from time to time. Therefore, there is more than just cross trainers, treadmills, bikes, chest-press, benches and oblique machines here.
In Pune, too, the number of gyms in civic-run gardens has shot up to 35. It has helped reshape these open spaces which were either being used as dump grounds or misused by miscreants earlier. Wanowrie and Shivneri are some of the localities that now have open-air gyms.
How popular are such social centres abroad? Very much, is the answer. Countries such Australia and Britain have increasingly shifted focus on to such regimen. City councils in UK's Liverpool, for example, have come to believe that there is active interest in such community areas, where parks can double and triple up as utilitarian grounds – playgrounds, sports ovals, courts, etc. Five parks in Nottingham were recently given £96,000 by the city council for an upgrade while 300 new homes cropped up in the vicinity.