As one of India’s largest and most populous metros, Chennai exhibits all the traits and vulnerabilities inherent to a developing, high-density city. Rapid urbanization has led to solid waste pollution in our streets and waterbodies, poverty, and energy and water scarcity. A locality based urban horticulture programme can help address these challenges and calls for a green infrastructure strategy to create healthier urban environments and induce behaviour change by encouraging citizens to compost for use in their vegetable gardens, thereby reducing the waste that goes into landfills. In the short term, at the neighbourhood/ locality scale, urban horticulture could have the following benefits
- provide access to fresh, nutritious, organic produce and increase the urban poor’s access to food.
- provide vulnerable groups (especially women) with food, income and a focus for shared enterprise
- encourage citizens to engage positively and proactively with civic issues and allows young people to channel their energy constructively
- keep the environment clean and consequently reduce health hazards
- lower temperature and reduce the need to transport produce, thereby saving fuel and lowering CO2 emissions
- provide a lab for innovative approaches to urban development by showcasing good governance in action.
Authors: Resilient Chennai, Okapi Research & Advisory