Analysing the functionality of recreational urban green spaces: a Case study of Akkulam tourist village, Thiruvananthapuram city,Kerala

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Submission Summary
Urbanization has been rising exponentially all over the world where the trend of urbanization is at par with the population growth, resulting in creation of more urban areas - especially in developing countries like India where around 40% of the population reside in cities. The south-Indian state of Tamil Nadu tops the list of most urbanized states in India followed by Kerala, another South-Indian state, as per MoHUA report 2020 on level of urbanization of Indian states. Kerala has three of the world’s fastest growing cities, with its share of urban population at 47.7% (in 2019), while a decade ago it was only 25.9%. Urbanization and globalization have led to a paradigm shift in landuse-mix which have densified the cities - increasing the built-up footprint and reducing open public green spaces. Most of the Asian cities viz. Mumbai, Dubai and Shanghai have less than 5% of their landuse under public green spaces, while cities in developed nations like Sydney, Moscow and Vienna have almost 50%. The urban green spaces can greatly help in reducing the impact and atrocities that cities now face and, can act as “lung spaces” and help play a key role in enhancing environmental health, physical and mental health of city dwellers, and in creating healthy cities. They offer ecosystem services such as capturing the storm water runoff, improving air quality, mitigating urban floods, aesthetically uplifting the city environs etc. According to a WHO study, globally around 3.3% deaths account for physical inactivity, which may be linked to poor walkability and lack of access to recreational areas, due to absence of healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods. This also points at the importance for giving due consideration to the urban recreational green spaces while planning for our cities. The urban recreational green spaces vary in its quality, both aesthetically and functionally, which can have qualitative implications on the urban social fabric. This research questions the need for urban green spaces in a city, typology of green spaces in the case area, and explains in specific about recreational green spaces in the context of an Indian city. Thiruvananthapuram, a city in Kerala is identified to substantiate the functionality of urban green spaces by validating through computational analysis and further arriving at suitable design considerations at local as well as city level. Thiruvananthapuram, being one of the most prominent capital cities in South India has only 0.55 sq.m per capita green space designated as recreational green spaces, against the required national standards of 12-14 sq.m per capita. In this paper, this issue has been compounded from the grassroot level – including the design elements and how the ineffectiveness in functionality can be overcome by modifying the design using analytical techniques viz. Bovill’s Fractal method and further justification using Hall’s theory of proxemics. The latest Master plan 2012 of Thiruvananthapuram city too has propounded this lack of green spaces as one of the major shortcomings in city planning. Hence this study analyses the effectiveness of available green spaces in the city and how such spaces can be incorporated into the city’s fabric for improving its liveability, through micro-level study of Akkulam Tourist village.
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Submission Type
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6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
School of Planning and Architecture , New Delhi
School of Planning and Architecture Vijayawada
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