Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Kohima wins ‘Real Play Challenge 2022’

In a significant feat, Kohima was declared as the winner of the “Real Play City Challenge 2022 – Local Communities, Global Challenges”, under the category of ‘Places where play heals people’.
The Real Play City Challenge awards inspiring cities and urban practitioners that have successfully used placemaking to create environments that give people time, space and opportunities to play.
A total of 94 entries were received from across 41 countries from which three cities– Warangal, Indore and Kohima won the award, making it the first time that all three categories have been won by Indian cities.
These three winning cities developed their projects as part of the national Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge (NNC). Launched in 2019, NNC, a collaboration with the global Urban95 initiative, encourages Indian city agencies, and their partners, to sensitively plan neighbourhoods to make young children (age 0- 5 years) and caregiver-friendly.
The Real Play City Challenge is led by the Real Play Coalition (UNICEF, National Geographic, Arup, IKEA and LEGO Foundation). The Challenge aims to create a movement to narrow the play gap for 100 million children by 2030, by making play accessible and inclusive.
The lack of land available for public spaces, prompted the Kohima Smart City Development Limited (KSCDL) and the Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) to repurpose an unused roadside tract into a compact and vibrant pocket park. The park was developed through crowdfunding, and a co-creation exercise, that resulted in a much-needed and much-appreciated recreational space for the neighbourhood’s children and their caregivers.
KSCDL and the KMC are now in the process of developing more such pocket parks across the city, along with making their Primary Health Care centres more welcoming to young children and adults alike.
Speaking about the awards, joint secretary and mission director, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Kunal Kumar said, “Indian cities have tremendous potential for devising innovative and strategic solutions for public space development in urban settings. The work done Kohima, Warangal, Indore and Rourkela is highly commendable and the fact that a global platform such as the Real Play Challenge is recognizing our efforts is highly motivating.”
Chief Programme Officer, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, Rushda Majeed said that Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge aims to support city governments in India to build a healthy, safe and playful environment for young children and their families. The initiative includes incorporating play in urban life in innovative ways and transforming public spaces to make them safe, fun, and accessible for young children.
CEO, KSCDL Er. K. Theunuo expressed joy that Kohima was among the award winners. He assured that KSCDL would continue to identify small pockets of land and create shared public spaces and pocket parks for people across Kohima. He also said that plans were in the pipeline to replicate play spaces around facilities supporting healthy early childhood development and create safer streets for young children and families.

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