Urban Planning System

Kerala has been witnessing multiple and dynamic risks such as cyclones, floods, landslides, droughts, storms and epidemics. It was decided by the Government of Kerala to reform its urban planning system to make it more risk-informed, starting with city-level Master Plans. To pilot this process, Risk Informed Master Plans were prepared for Mananthavady in Wayanad District and Chengannur in Alappuzha District. The draft plans were presented to the respective Municipal Councils and the plans have since been published. Building on the experience of preparing pilot risk-informed Master Plans for Chengannur and Manathavady, LSGD Planning has prepared the first draft of detailed guidelines for Risk-informed Master Plans and is intended to be a living document.  These guidelines would be applicable to Master Plans all over Kerala. The Guidelines for Risk Informed Master Plans (RIMP) have been developed and notified, and training for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) has been designed to facilitate preparation of RIMPs at the ULB-level. The guidelines will lay out the process of planning, incorporating specific measures for scientific risk assessments, which are then used to frame proposals for risk reduction.  These guidelines shall also be used for training elected representatives, administrative and professional cadres within urban local bodies and rapidly urbanising Gram Panchayats, thus institutionalising risk-informed planning processes.

Risk-informed Master Plans

The RIMPs shall prioritize the risks faced by communities living in the most vulnerable situations and geographies and help to prepare them for future disaster risks by making them more informed, developing pro-active measures to mitigate risks and build resilience communities. The Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) has carried out a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) for Risk-informed Master Plans and is currently developing a training programme to equip the key Local Government functionaries on risk-Informed Master Plans. To further facilitate the risk information at local scale, KSDMA has already downscaled climate models and provided this information to all Local Governments (LGs) in the State. The LGs will integrate this climate information into their local body disaster risk management plans. The State has notified a Disaster Climate Action Tracker (DCAT) tool for assessment and evaluation of the investments of the LGs towards climate adaptation and mitigation.

Kerala’s existing approach to Urban Planning

As evident, Kerala’s existing approach to urban planning and urban development needs review in the light of both its resilience to natural hazards and its economic resilience for which:

  • Kerala had formulated an Urban Policy in 2002. The Government of Kerala proposes to review and reformulate its Urban Policy keeping resilience as a major theme.
  • Formulating spatial strategies at state and district level to provide guidance to spatial plans at the ULB level. These spatial strategies are being formulated de nouveau.
  • Integrating and promoting a culture of ‘Place-based innovation’ for leveraging a region’s existing research institutions, universities and industries to achieve a variety of domain specific objectives including establishing clusters of innovation, promoting local and regional economic development as well as addressing community needs.
  • Formulating State Urban Observatory for producing, analysing and disseminating data on a meaningful set of indicators that reflect collectively prioritized local issues on sustainable development to support decision-making and the formulation of better-informed policies.

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