New parks must to reclaim ‘Garden City’ tag

New parks must to reclaim ‘Garden City’ tag

Besides repurposing the massive campuses of old, shut down factories, the Palike could encourage terrace gardening

Before earning the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ tag, Bengaluru wore a much cherished title as the Garden City. Its multitude of gardens and parks justified that tag. But in the years that followed, the city could not add any new lung space of the scale of the Lalbagh Botanical Garden and Cubbon Park.

Now, when the city’s existing green spaces are being encroached upon and sliced away for various infrastructure projects, is there a way to create new lung spaces within the city inside old, abandoned factory spaces? DH interacts with a cross-section of Bengalureans to get their views.

Sagar C L, a resident of Vijayanagar, has this to say: “Bengaluru has to work on its green spaces even as a worldwide campaign is now on to address global warning and climate change. We can experience climate change and pollution at its peak inside the city because trees are being felled for development projects such as roads and the Metro.”

The only way to balance the greenery in the city, says Sagar, is to plant more trees. Sivaram Natarajan, who works with Sfera Studios, gives a list of gardens that has defined the city: “Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Bugle Rock Park, Shamanna Park, M N Krishna Rao Park, Madhavan Park, Nandanavana Children’s Park, are just a few examples which add to Bengaluru’s claim for being the Garden City of India. You can find parks and gardens pretty much everywhere inside the city.”

Bengaluru experienced major growth in multiple sectors post-independence. Consequently, this brought along a lot of migrants from different parts of the country, sparking a steady increase in population. Natarajan recalls, “In 1985, Texas Instruments, an American technology company was the first multinational corporation which made its way to Bengaluru. Other IT companies followed suit, and this led to big changes in the whole landscape of the city.”

This transition period also brought about the need for expansion. From the start of the 21st century, parks and gardens have sometimes been overlooked as the rush to acquire more space for expansion took priority.

“As a community, would it not be possible to initiate a project where we could create new gardens or parks to reaffirm our city’s claim to be the Garden City of India. This project could be set up in old abandoned dwellings or factories which serve no current purpose,” he suggests. “Our community needs to take a stand to make Bengaluru return to its glorious past.”

So, what about the city’s poor record in creating new big-scale gardens and parks? Rashmi P B, a resident of Electronic City, agrees that carving out big lung spaces is critical to the city’s green future. One way to do this, she suggests, is through active participation of citizens and effective involvement of the urban local body, the Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Besides repurposing the massive campuses of old, shut down factories, the Palike could encourage terrace gardening. This, she feels, will be very helpful in boosting the city’s environment.

Aishwarya C P, a resident of Mathikere says, “Bengaluru needs green spaces, especially, where we can only see the concrete jungles. If you come to Mathikere, you can see a lot of areas without a single tree.” She suggests planting saplings / trees in vacant spaces across the city. Schools should encourage students to inculcate this habit, and also help them learn terrace gardening. “A Singapore model of development can be adopted where each building is integrated into a system that keeps the city state green,” Aishwarya adds.