Civitas Urban Solutions, together with ITDP, Michigan University and the Corporation of Cochin, is launching Kochi’s first-of-its-kind Street Design competition – Smart Smart: Redefining Urban Development. This open-submission competition seeks to identify suitable proposals for the redesign of Park Avenue Road in Kochi, Kerala.

Streets are integral to the quality of life in a city. A growing number of cities today, across the globe, are giving importance to sustainable development; to building cities with a vision for the future. To that end, this competition is aimed at encouraging architects, urban designers, civil engineers and any other such interested persons, to bring that vision to our neighbourhoods.

Over the last decade, India has seen a tremendous growth of motor vehicles. Streets that were once designed to accommodate pedestrian mobility, safety, and even recreation, are now increasingly dominated by vehicular requisites. The pace of expansion and improvement of our streets to meet the demands of automobiles and pedestrians has been far from sufficient, leaving a sizeable gap, much to the detriment of the multi-users.

Good street designs will cover the following elements: Footpaths, carriageways, cycle tracks, service lanes, bus lanes, landscaping, utilities, and so on. Street Smart – Redefining Urban Development calls for the conception of innovative plans to redesign the targeted street, factoring in the combined social, cultural and health needs of the community at large. Streets are secular and universal in nature, and should meet the interests of every user, including street vendors, outdoor cafeteria, jay walkers, etc. An inclusive design that accommodates safety, mobility, pedestrian accessibility, liveability, sensitivity to local context, and creative use of street space is the desired outcome of this competition.

As citizens, we all have active, participatory roles to play in improving our quality of life. This competition is a necessary start to creating and encouraging such an awareness, to address the mounting problems faced, and to formulate suitable, practical solutions to combat the same.

Consider yourself Street Smart? Join up today!