The Seeds for Change Initiative

WRI India and Nagarro Software, in partnership with Udaan NGO and NASSCOM Foundation has recently launched a project in Gurugram, India, which is modelled after the country’s car-free “Raahgiri Days”, which is India’s first sustainable car-free citizen initiative. Currently there are plans to replicate the pilot project in other parking lots throughout the city over the coming months. The project has been named ‘Seeds For Change’, because it is a small seed that will definitely germinate into better, safer cities and public spaces.

Roughly 300,000 cars enter Gurugram every day, and an equal number exist within the city. With more than 600,000 cars on the streets, traffic congestion is a byproduct. Due to the large number of cars, the city has an unhealthy air quality index and records around 450 road traffic deaths per year. As part of the initiative, a portion of the parking lot in the commercial sector was reclaimed to make space for parking 40 bicycles and a sitting area for visitors.

The Seeds for Change initiative is part of a larger concept otherwise known as “tactical urbanism.” It allows stakeholders and locals to work on new concepts without substantial political and financial commitments. The actions can be temporary or permanent, depending on the need of the location. Across the world, this movement is also referred to as “city repair,” “guerilla urbanism,” “pop-up urbanism,” or “DIY urbanism.”

Gurugram is the first city in India to pursue tactical urbanism to shift transport from cars to cleaner transport modes; however, the concept has already proven successful in other cities around the world. For example, car-shaped racks were installed at a parking spot in Buenos Aires to reclaim space for bicycles. The city of Sao Paulo, Brazil has also made permanent mini public parks from parking spots along the roadside, providing a safe space for cyclists and walkers. City authorities in San Francisco designed some areas with sharp corners as seating spaces with planters.

More information about the project is available here.