July 19, 2017
The tapestry of Mangaluru city is what makes it unique. In the last six articles I had outlined some proposals to make it more unique, vibrant and exciting.
Bold imagination and proactive leadership are essential for building a great city, as also for creating dynamic and inclusive places and spaces where citizens can live and work happily in a healthy atmosphere. With our every action, individually and collectively, we determine the kind of city we are building. The power to change our city rests in our hands. City building is about place making, about creating meaningful and memorable places and spaces, it’s not about granting permissions to build flats anywhere and everywhere. Hundreds of beautiful houses in Mangaluru have been demolished to make way for multi storied structures, without taking into consideration the capacity of the small lanes to cater to enhanced vehicular traffic, fresh water requirement, and sewage disposal systems. No doubt, this is the story across India, which is why we have undesirable urban landscapes everywhere.
Mangaluru is reshaping very fast. Market forces are rapidly expanding the boundaries of the city in all directions leading to dispersion of the urban settlements in all directions. In steering the development trajectory of the city the role of the people is very minimal. The political-administrative system commands directly and indirectly the development trajectory. Development policies, especially of Mangaluru are very often in the hands of tourist-bureaucrats, that is, bureaucrats who come for a short term posting and quickly get back to Bengaluru. Thereby, administrations experience fluctuating capacities, affecting multi dimensionality of the city’s performances. It is for this reason that local populations need to be involved in city and municipal governance. Today, there is international acceptance of the general proposition that the provision of basic health care, potable water, fresh air, safe buildings, and proper waste management facilities are rights, not privileges – especially for city dwellers. When things go wrong, urban populations are usually the first to suffer. Almost by accident, good health and good urban planning become bed-fellows.
When the professions engaged in urban planning and urban health is compared, the picture becomes even more complex. Modern urban planning practice is largely concerned with the design and maintenance of the built environment, with practitioners usually working in a highly politicized decision-making context. Health professionals have an entirely different agenda, strongly influenced by the Hippocratic imperative of helping the sick, the infirm, and the disadvantaged. Whilst both professions serve the public interest, their respective sources of praxis and theory differ greatly. It is therefore not surprising that in the structure of the modern city bureaucracy, each sector tends to stand alone and to go its own way – even though each aspires to improving the overall well-being of the citizenry at both the individual and community levels. The health care sector in Mangaluru has distinguished itself by catapulting the city to "12th best in the world, beating even some of the major cities in countries like Australia, the UK and Japan. The fact that Mangaluru is home to some of India's most sought-after medical colleges and hospitals lends credibility to this ranking. In terms of quality of life, Mangaluru is ranked 41, bettering even San Francisco which is ranked 42." (Daijiworld March 26, 2017).
Today, Mangaluru’s local authorities are facing new and daunting challenges in several fields, including social cohesion, the environment competitiveness in the context of globalization, excellence in their various programs, for ways of achieving integration of local and migrant populations, and for opportunities to show solidarity with their most vulnerable social groups. This means devising new ways of responding to old problems whilst coping with new problems, new laws, new policies and regulatory regimes. Daijiworld proposes to supplement the efforts of the local authorities by providing a platform to the citizens to express their views, opinions, ideas and proposals to make Mangaluru into an outstanding University City. There would be competitions, seminars and events to galvanize the citizens, especially the student community, to conceive and plan the futuristic Mangaluru. Shortly competitions will be held for the following events:
a) Tagline for the city. Do you approve and endorse “Mangaluru – City of the Young” or would like to suggest a different tagline?
b) A distinctive colour for the city. Shades of blue were suggested to complement the seas. Do you agree or suggest something different?
c) Designing a distinctive icon for Mangaluru city, (like the Eiffel Tower in Paris)
d) Proposals to make Mangaluru into a great University City.
e) Proposals and ideas to develop Mangaluru into a Medical Tourism destination.
f) Proposals for rejuvenating Mangaluru harbor into an ocean terminal.
g) Proposals for giving a dynamic thrust to the floriculture industry revolving around the iconic Mangaluru Mallige.
The above events are sought to be embellished by a variety of contests like Miss Mangaluru Harbor City, Mr Mangaluru Harbor City, fashion shows, Mangaluru flower festival, flower parades pageant and floats, flower carpets, flower festival queen contest and many more. Send your ideas and suggestions to make these events exciting and unique in the comments section below.
Dr G ShreeKumar Menon Archives: