“Cities of the future are built with ideas that take shape on a paper and then taken forward,” said Ujjwal Thakur, a university student, as he dwelled upon his subject of Infrastructure loss & Damage. Khare was part of over a dozen participants who had got together for the Mumbai edition of ‘City Sessions:The Future’ held on November 5, in Mumbai. The concluding edition of the multi-city event was packed with enthusiastic participants who were guided by mentors from across the industry and academia.
The event was also chaired by special guests Deepshikha Deshmukh, film producer, entrepreneur and a circularity champion and Vivek Adhia, Climate & Sustainability expert from BCG. The day-long rotating mentor for the session was Pramod Dabrase, environmental scientist and chief executive- CSEDI.
Issues and outcomes
For Mumbai, a city burgeoning with inhabitants, and projected to hit 42.4 million by 2050, the main concern remained around infrastructure. As the megacity expands in its population incorporating green infrastructure alongside urban planning was the highlight of the group that worked on finding solutions around ‘Infrastructure Loss and Damage’. Mentored by Praniti Lakhe from CIDCO, the group looked at how to develop buildings in low-lying areas and how the green cover of the city could be expanded.
For the group handling urban mobility, the deck shaped up as an interesting futuristic tale of two individuals– the one who worked for the change and the other who benefitted from it in 2050. The group, through visual and narrative representation, highlighted the need to create mini hubs where everything from shopping to offices, schools to hospitals are within the 15 minute periphery. “Once you establish homes close to offices, half the battle of reducing traffic congestion is won” was the biggest takeaway from the group. The team worked with energy, climate and mobility expert Siddharth Singh, also author of ‘The Great Smog of India’, a definite read for anyone looking at the multi-faceted issues around air pollution and the potential solutions around it.
For the air pollution and water crisis team, the work centered around developing solutions around mitigation. Switching to better modes of transport and proper waste management, keeping a tab on air quality index before stepping out were the solutions worked by the group under the guidance of Farah Kazi, Strategic Communications Consultant at Respirer Living Sciences. A clean air champion working in the field of air pollution for over a decade, Kazi stressed on the need to create awareness around air pollution from a young age.
For the group working on the sea level rise and urban flooding under mentor Kartiki Naik, an urban water resilient expert from WRI, the challenge was to develop solutions keeping in mind the city’s landscape and low-lying areas. Naik helped her team understand the complexities of the issue and the need to work on solutions for people living in low-lying areas. The group on solid waste management under Rajkumar Sharma, founder of ALMANAC (Advanced Locality Management and Networking Action Committee), highlighted the aspect of recycling and upcycling waste so that livelihood options of traditional communities working in this segment are restored.
For sustainable future
Encouraging the participants, Adhia lauded the efforts put by each team while sharing valuable feedback on the implementation aspects of the solution. “I learnt so much from each of the ideas shared. Some of them can definitely be implemented by me in my everyday practices including at my sets,” said Deshmukh who has produced films such as ‘Cutputlli’, ‘BellBottom’, ‘Coolie No.1’, to name a few. Proving her commitment to the planet and sustainable lifestyle she and her skincare brand Love Organically has taken the lead to recycle their unused stock to make solar lamps that were given out to residents of Latur village in Maharashtra. “The film industry belongs to the same planet and we need to check our carbon footprints,” said Deshmukh, who ensures that her film sets are plastic-free and generates minimal waste.
Dabrase, who spent the day giving critical feedback to each team, asked participants to look at the larger goal of a solution that can be adopted. “The need of the hour is to look at the interconnectedness of the issues and develop solutions,” he stressed.