OPEN STREET Guwahati
What is Open Street Event?
Open Street Event is a one day event held on a Sunday each month at different locations across the city. During the event, streets are open for public to provide opportunities to be physically active. On an open street, people replaces car traffic to various activities that engage people of all ages, abilities, and background to engage on various physical activities that encourage them to be fit and healthy. They are free, regularly occurring programs that offer communities the opportunity to experience their city in a whole new way.
The main objective of Open Street Event is to improve the quality of life for people by bringing citizens to enhance mobility and public space so that together we can create a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.
Lesser air and noise pollution
Safe streets for pedestrians and cyclists
Ensures the right to play and recreation
Promote healthy living by encouraging the public to adopt an active lifestyle.
Why Open Street Event?
Traffic becomes worse, not better, as economies grow. The activities of walking and cycling are truly hindered from the way transport system in the cities is designed, which is dominantly car-oriented, leading to vehicle congestion and public disturbance. People live in fear of crime and accidents. Fear restricts people’s freedom of movement and leads to anxiety and depression. People living in the same building rarely know their neighbours; social isolation leads to unhappiness.
A good city is a place where people can walk or ride bicycles and feel safe doing it. Not just safe, but find pleasure in the activity. Insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for the death worldwide. The sedentary lifestyle that many live today is directly linked to obesity, which can cause a number of health problems including certain forms of cancer and heart disease. Children have little or no opportunity to play outside, and few if any schools have playgrounds, meaning that children grow up with few physically active recreational opportunities and few chances to socialize with other children or with adults.
Open Street event is about changing the way we view our streets and cities. We want people to see our streets' potential as being for more than moving cars. We want people of all ages and ability to participate in regular physical activity and encourage them to walk or cycle more in their daily lives and improve air quality.
These programs will enable to achieve the vision leading to:-
Decreased morbidity and mortality due to injury and chronic diseases
Increased social interaction and community cohesion
Decreased emissions of air pollutants leading to poor air quality and climate change.
Building Community by opening up the streets:
Open Streets initiatives are typically recognized for creating a fun and inviting outdoor environment for physical activity. A less commonly acknowledged benefit is the social one—when implemented regularly, these programs can enrich the social fabric of communities and enhance the quality of life for participants. Participants who generally don’t travel in their neighborhood on foot or by bike have the chance to engage in physical activity without safety concerns.
Open Streets programs can facilitate increased interactions among neighbors, which can strengthen community cohesion and improve well-being.
Open Streets programs can also develop social cohesion by improving safety and perceptions of safety, both are the two important factors encouraging the people to be out in their neighbourhood often.
ESAF is an NGO with more than a decade of expertise in sustainable urban development initiatives and has been promoting the concept of livability in ten cities since 2008 with the vision that “Happy and healthy children and families in every neighborhood who have safe streets, free access to parks, playgrounds, open space, healthy foods, and fun places to play around”.
Open Street is part of the Livable Cities program initiated by ESAF in partnership with HealthBridge Canada in an effort to make cities livable and child friendly. The project strives to create neighbourhoods which have safe streets, free access to parks, playgrounds, open space and healthy and safe foods. The program has three major components: Streets, Open Public Spaces, and Markets where each of these programs aims to expose the people to healthy living.
These programs are spread in ten cities (Bangalore, Calicut, Kochi, Malappuram, Tirur, Nagpur, Thrissur, Irinjalakuda, Guwahati, and Trivandrum) in India. ESAF with its expertise are contributing to the sustainable development goals (SDGs)-3 (Good health and wellbeing), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and indirectly to goal 13(Climate Action).
ESAF’s expertise lies in the advocacy for policy level changes;
Adequate infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists
Inclusive and safe public space for children.
Promote access to healthy, affordable, and safe food by promoting local public markets and urban agriculture.
Improve public transit with adequate first and last mile connectivity in order to reduce the usage of private vehicles
Implement National Urban Transport Policy, 2006
Convergence of concerned Government Departments.
ESAF began its community led initiatives and development activities in Kerala in 1992 and has conducted various community led programs to promote walking, physical activities and cycling like Cycle Day in Bangalore, Open Street Events in Nagpur and Kerala. The successful celebration of World Car Free Day in Thrissur, Kerala for the last four consecutive years have sensitized the policymakers to add the provisions like parking policies and car free streets in the city development Master Plans.
Who organises Open Street Guwahati?
Open Street Guwahati is an initiative of ESAF. In Guwahati, they have chosen us as their organising partner.
We feel very honoured to be associated with ESAF and are very excited that the Open Street event will go a long way to help us achieve our vision.