Urban Typhoon workshop reaches its last stop at Market Canal

Day six of the Urban Typhoon Workshop in the market canal area began with an introduction to the EnteKochi Participatory Planning project, involved partners and other important actors, and the project methodology. The ward councilor, the district secretary, RWA president, a representative from the Kochi Municipal Corporation, members of the Stores Association of the market canal, and a representative of Kudumbashree.

Besides the overarching issues of waste management and management of the canals, several challenges relating to the market area were discussed. The members of the stores association spoke about the market as not a simple space of retail, but also a place of heritage and culture. This area also has an old Jew street including a Synagogue and attracts several tourists. There is an interesting dynamic between the vendors at the market and the residents of the area. While the vendors resist development in the area in fear of losing their business prospects, the residents are annoyed with the freight transport vehicles, the encroachment of vendors onto the surrounding streets and the vegetable waste dump yard.

The ensuing discussion about the preservation of the market ecosystem was filled with hesitation and uncertainty. The councilor expressed that despite several plans having been done and studies having been made, there has been no implementation process. She pressed for the need for an outcome to the process. She also said that approved projects are not implemented because of a shortage of funds. The Urbz and GIZ teams responded to this by stressing that the difficulties in implementation rose from not just the lack of funding, but from a lack of local organization and cooperation. Sharing of information and knowledge between the different levels is an issue. Moreover, local groups can play an important role in bottom-up initiatives.

The round table discussions in the evening raised questions about the feasible coexistence of the complex market, residential and environmental ecosystems in this area. The maintenance and longevity of these spaces have been defined by its inherited nature. Since the new generation is rapidly diversifying into different areas of work now, the future of these structures is under question. In addition, it is important to question the nature of what is considered as heritage in the area. In the case of the market, the continuing lineage of ancient activities gives character to space. Moreover, there are a number of residences in the area grappling with issues of the rapidly developing city around it.

The EnteKochi campaign moves on to its last phase of Design Sprint from 10th June, Monday at the Folklore Cultural Theatre, Fort Kochi. For more details follow the link below:

Come and join us for the public sessions and help us make Kochi a better place.