Not only does the city face a shortage of open spaces, the accessibility and quality of parks and playgrounds was also found to be deplorable.

Bengaluru no longer Garden City Only 3 pc of citys area covered by parks says surveyRepresentational image
news Civic Issues Sunday, December 03, 2017 - 11:19

Bengaluru's 'Garden City' moniker is under a severe threat as the city has turned into a concrete jungle due to rapid urbanisation. 

A recent report by the Indian Institute of Science says that 78% of Bengaluru's land surface is currently paved and going by this trend, it will go up to a massive 94% by the end of the decade.

Hence, it is not surprising that a survey of open spaces in the city has found that only 3% of the total area consists of parks or open grounds.

The survey was conducted by Janaagraha, a Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation. It found that there is only 19 sq. km of parks and playgrounds in Bengaluru, which has a total area of 709 sq. km.

This means that Bengaluru falls short of the prescribed requirement of 10 sq. metres of open space per capita recommended by the Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (2015) guidelines of the Ministry of Urban Development.

The WHO suggests that 15% of a city should be made up of open spaces. 

With just 2.2 sq. metres of open space per capita, the city needs an additional 67 sq. km of open space.

Not only does the city face a shortage of open spaces, the accessibility and quality of parks and playgrounds was also found to be deplorable. Janagraha surveyed a total of 1115 parks and 192 playgrounds.

“We see that 21% of the parks in the city were found to be closed during the visit of the survey team. Only 56% had adequate lighting. Outer wards fared worse making it unsafe for citizens to use the parks. Parks scored poorly on cleanliness as well with 54% of them littered with garbage,” Janaagraha said in a statement.

Another revelation of the survey is that only 3% of the parks had drinking water facility while 94% of them did not have toilets. 

Playgrounds fared worse in this regard with only 1% of them across the city, having drinking water facilities, and a mere 4% having toilet facilities. Besides, 70% of the parks were littered with garbage.

Moreover, lack of lighting was a problem that was found across half (49%) of all open spaces. On the brighter side, 80% of the parks had walking lanes while 77% of them had seats.

Incidentally, the Karnataka government had brought in the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to reduce the area to be reserved for public parks and playgrounds in layouts, from the present 15% of the total area to 10%.The Bill was returned by the Governor after citizen activists protested the move.

According to 2014 Ministry of Urban Development data, Bengaluru is not the only city which has insufficient open spaces. Chennai fares worst among big cities with just 0.81 sq. km of per capita open space.

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