India: Urban Planner Based in Bhubaneswar Encourages Agriculture In Cities
Bhubaneswar is India’s temple city. Bhubaneswar literary means the land of Shiva. Gauda King Sashanka, who was a staunch follower of Lord Shiva, had built the first temple at Bhubaneswar (Ekamra Kshetra) in the 7th century AD.
India has a massive population of 1.3 billion, second only to China, and one-fifth of people in the country live in poverty. They need to be fed one way or the other. Urban farming is the answer to this need.
By Piyush Ranjan Rout
Feb 7, 2017
In the past few years Bhubaneswar has witnessed a heightened interest in urban agriculture. It is being bolstered by new approaches to urban planning and development that emphasise diffused, informal, community-based initiatives, open space, green space and soft-edge interventions in place of a centralised master plan that ignores urban farming.
The government must create a public database of vacant and underutilised land that could be repurposed for urban farming. It should also create “urban farming incentive zones” in which residents would be allowed to produce crops for local consumption.
Cities such as Bhubaneswar could impose additional property taxes on land lying vacant for prolonged periods; this levy could be offset if the owners allow farming or gardening on a certain percentage of the land.