From a Smart City to a Sustainable City? 

                       First Published on RESURJ , 13th Feb 2018 as part of Reflections.

City’s governing body’s plans are used to shape the work and infrastructure in the city over a period of time. When Bangalore Development Authority released the master plan for 2031, at Hidden Pockets Collective we saw this as an opportunity to look at the gendered needs in the city and highlight the same. As any new developing city, it had all the proponents of development. It had allocation for industries, it had allocation for roads, and it very much was based on a design of a concrete city. What seriously affected us was the lack of imagination employed by the urban designers in including vision of a young women living in this city?

Smart City has been one of the key visions of the present government which has allocated resources for designing 100 smart cities by the end of 2020. Several cities have been submitting proposals to be accepted by the government. Some of the features smart city mission are access to the open spaces, walkable localities and strong emphasis on tech based solutions.

There is a lack of gender lens employed in the smart city solutions, not reflecting the lived experiences of people from the marginalised communities living in these smart cities. For example, in Bangalore- The IT Capital of India, the latest Draft solution by the governing authority emphasised  more on developing lands for industries and technology, than concerns of women, persons from disabled community, migrant community, children and old persons.

This silence over including experiences of citizens in the draft model of smart cities results in lopsided development. As part of allocating resources, there was nothing mentioned about street lighting on the streets or footpaths for pedestrians to walk. There are so many cases of harassment in specific dense areas but this has not resulted in any allocation of resources concerning safety for people of different genders in these specific areas.

Cities are the future blocks of the sustainable economy and members states of international community have come to accept this in the form of Sustainable Development goals (SDG). SDG11 discusses about sustainable cities with a transformative agenda that believes everyone must have a dignified life and create preconditions that allow people to grow and flourish.Some of the targets of Goal 11 clearly provides for  accessible transportation and green and safe public spaces. which can be used by people with disabilities, older people,  women children.

Indian cities need to re-look at the some of these targets and have to understand the value of making sustainable cities over smart cities. Cities cant exist in vacuum and not including concerns of its citizens, further make the citizens of these cities prone to various harm in the future. The cities have to see value in making inclusive cities which are made sustainable using the right amount of balance of information from both the technology and its living beings.

 

Image Credit : Jasmine Lovely George

Campaign on Contraceptives and Young People :16 days activism

In 2017 as part of 16 days of activism on violence against women, we focussed on contraceptives and right of young people.

#PutARingOnIt : 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

 

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from 25 November through 10 December happens every year and this year the theme of the campaign is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.

Millions have shared the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day.

At Hidden Pockets Collective, we decided to seek for right to healthy life this 16 days of Activism. No women and No girl should be denied the right to health: sexual and reproductive health. We want young women and girls, married and unmarried women to start having conversations around health and talk about issues around contraception and know their choices.

We are using Beyonce’s song : #PutARingOnIt as a symbol to talk about options and choices that young women and girls have in India to keep themselves healthy and happy.

Not providing young women and girls with options and choices is also gender based violence which can systematically further make the position of women and girls worse in the communities.

 

 

 

Picture of Beyonce

 

 

 

Mental Health Day in WorkSpaces: Do you need a BLOODY break?

Mental health in the workplace is the theme of World Mental Health Day 2017. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.

This Mental Health Day 10th October, 2017, we at Hidden Pockets Collective, are trying to think about how to make our workspaces more inclusive. We spent most of our daily lives at our workspaces but do our workspaces reflect our lived realities?

Female colleagues have reported that during the time of menstruation, it is not easy for people to perform their best.

May 28 Menstrual Hygiene Day: #PeriodPositive with ProjectKHEL

Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed annually on May 28. This year, Hidden Pockets decided to get on Twitter to spread some period love, joy and information on Menstrual Hygiene Day along with ProjectKHEL. Our conversation on Twitter has been captured and storified below. Spread the love! Period!

#makeyourcityinclusive Twitter interview of Kochi

Hidden Pockets presents #makeyourcityinclusive! We are in the second week in our second city Kochi and organised a tweetathon on Friday Sept 23, 2016 at 5pm.

We also had a bunch of cool people joining us this time.

Dept. of Communicative English, St. Teresa’a College (Autonomous), Ernakulam,
Kerala Comics Brotherhood
Nadir Najumal Hussain, Founder of Cosplay League India,
Cecil Johnson, Maker,
Aswin Nandakumar, Restauranter
Yadukrishnan Sethumadhavan, Kerala Startup Mision Fellow
Anantha, Student of Law

Here is the storify of the tweetathon.

 

Reach for the stars, rainbow and beyond! #makeyourcityinclusive goes to Kochi

Add some red

Some green

May be some yellow

A dash of blue

Definitely some orange

Don’t forget the violet

And finally make some room for some indigo

Mix it altogether and get the wildest, most colourful and happiest rainbow!

Rainbow is one of the most inclusive symbols and rightly so. It has room for all colours. You can be blue and yet be yellow. You can be any colour you want to be and you’d still find your space in a rainbow because that is how cool a rainbow is.

With #makeyourcityinclusive being in its next phase, it only made sense for us at Hidden Pockets to use a rainbow. But why use a rainbow while launching our campaign in Kochi?

As we all know Kerala is the most literate state in India. Often, education does not go beyond just literacy. It does not necessarily translate into any change in behaviour. It is true education when that shift in attitude happens. Kerala has truly pioneered in achieving that distinction by making its state inclusive of all going even beyond gender distinctions. It is the first state in the country to introduce a welfare policy for transgenders in 2015. In 2016, the government introduced free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) and further allocated budgets for employment and skill training progress for the transgender community, introduced Gender Taxi’s driven by the transgenders, all in an effort to remove the social stigma around them.

With all this happening in Kerala, it only made sense for our campaign to move to this state in its next phase. Being alive, open and the hub for anything cultural, Kochi became our next destination to be. We’d like to capture life and stories around inclusivity in Kochi and the state of Kerala. Let’s make an example out of Kochi, an inspiration for others. Tell us about the Hidden Pockets in your  city. What is your safe spot? What makes it safe? Where should we go when we visit Kerala? What are your recommendations? Tell us all about your city and your state in the form below. We are listening!

Follow the hashtag #makeyourcityinclusive for other updates on our campaign. Coming soon to other cities too!

About #makeyourcityinclusive:

#makeyourcityinclusive is Hidden Pockets’ campaign on making all cities inclusive, making everyone more inclusive. Tell us about all the places in your city that are disabled-friendly, open to single women even late at night, safe for senior citizens or not homophobic. How do we talk openly about mental health? Is your city inclusive to all them and more?