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Warangal: The Greater Warangal Smart City Corporation Limited (GWSCCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with World Resources Institute India (WRI India) here on Friday to work on scaling up safe, accessible, green, playful and inclusive neighbourhoods for young children and families under the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC) limits.

In January 2022, Warangal was declared as one of the 10 winners of the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge (NNC) hosted by the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) and with WRI India as the technical partner.

The challenge aims to support city agencies and their partners to adopt an early childhood development focus in the design, planning, and management of cities. By mainstreaming this lens in projects and long-term plans, cities will target improvements to public spaces, mobility, neighbourhood planning, access to services, and data management to enhance the health and well-being of young children and their caregivers.

Warangal, along with other selected cities, is now proceeding into the second phase of the challenge, which involves scaling up interventions over the next two years. The GWSCCL and GWMC recently converted two dumping yards into vibrant community parks in Christian Colony and MH Nagar slum and were awarded by the SCM as model placemaking projects under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The city plans to replicate such interventions as part of their Nurturing Neighbourhoods scale-up plan to improve access to green open spaces for young children in vulnerable areas.

GWSCCL also plans to develop a programme for creating pocket play spaces equipped with supportive amenities for caregivers adjacent to Anganwadi centres and schools. Recognising the importance of exposure to nature and biodiversity for the healthy development of young children as complementary to the city’s sustainable urban development agenda, Warangal’s scale up plan will include a greening strategy to incorporate climate-resilient urban design in public places, including three major upcoming lakefront projects.

Steps are being taken to form a dedicated cell including urban planners, corporation engineers, and representatives of the Women and Child Welfare Department to guide and operationalise the scale-up plan.

GWMC commissioner and CEO, GWSCCL P Pravinya and the representatives of the WRI India have exchanged the documents here at the municipal office here on Friday.

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Author: Howard Caldwell