The contest is part of the larger project ‘Eyes On The Canal’, an exercise in participatory planning to make the Buckingham canal a liveable place for the residents of Chennai. The project has been implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for their initiative ‘Cities fit for Climate Change’ across the world.
“Chennai in India, Santiago in Chile and Durban in South Africa were the three cities selected. We chose the Buckingham Canal from an urban development perspective, the canal can withstand climate change-related consequences. The various encroachments currently have shifted the focus away from its shock-absorbent capabilities, especially from floods. We wanted to revive this aspect of the Canal, with a project,” said Vidhya Mohankumar, founder of the Urban Design Collective, who organised the initiative in Chennai.
The initiative has involved various activities from April such as awareness walks, community engagement meetings and finally, the open-ideas competition to generate interest and ownership for the canal which has suffered from collective abandonment.
“It is centered on a 3.5 kilometre stretch between South of Adyar River (Kotturpuram MRTS Station) to Tiruvanmiyur MRTS Station to carry out an intervention. Walks and perception mapping exercises were done in the region, as well as awareness campaign exercise and surveys on around 250 families living there,” added Vidhya.