Pune unlike any other city has a notable number of open land parcels which lie vacant and are not included in the approved City Development Plan. Placemaking is a component of Smart City project, meant to improve the Ease of Living and Connect Communities. Under this component, Pune Smart City had identified such two open lands in Baner for a pilot project, the aim being to develop them as public spaces that aid physical, cultural and social interactions. The land parcels identified had to be under the possession of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which were not involved in any litigation process and unallotted for any development. These identified lands had areas of 1310 and 108 sq.m. respectively and were lying vacant for a considerable time period. These two spaces are developed as ABB 1, Baner and ABB 2, Baner. These public areas are designed to be more than our average parks, and are developed around certain specified themes. 

ABB 1, Baner is developed as a space for E-Learning & Skill Development. It consists of a multipurpose plaza, an open amphitheatre, a smart box and a semi enclosed space with plenty of user friendly spaces consisting of innovative, sustainable and cost-effective furniture. This multi-purpose pavilion can be used for workshops and training sessions, open forum discussions and presentations. On the other hand, ABB 2, Baner is designed and developed around the theme of Leisure and Meditation. As the name suggests, this place facilitates leisure and meditation activities for the middle aged and elderly residents. It includes a Yoga Pavilion, Kid’s Play Area and a Modular Library meant for the community. The space is a great facility for the patients, visitors and employees of a high-end hospital located just opposite the site. 

Furthermore, both these spaces contain a solar panel seating and a laptop seating. They also consist of cycle desks and cycle parking spaces with multi-utility zones, which could be used for parking farm fresh van or a food truck. The parks have the facility of a Health services van parked in case of a health emergency. 

There are many such land parcels that are generally left undeveloped by the builders as their compliance to follow development control regulations. The area of Aundh-Balewadi-Baner alone has such 50 unallotted lands. Due to factors like conflict of land ownership, unspecified land use by the city and the inability to develop the land in any way, these parcels of undeveloped and unplanned open lands often turn into dumping ground. 

The upgradation of public spaces is not only limited to parks but is also extended to street. The half km. stretch from Rishi Chowk to Parihar Chowk in Aundh is the first to be revamped on the concept of 3S – Safety, Shade and Society.

The street has been designed keeping in consideration the differently abled people, it includes tactile flooring connected all over the footpath. The street is lined with ample parking facility and a canopy of trees with a good number of stone seatings on either sides. The footpaths also consist of beautiful sculptures installed which are made from junk. These initiatives have made the street user friendly and eye-catching allowing activities like jogging due to its wide breadth. To ensure security and safety the electricity feeders are covered with perforated sheets, along with it, concrete bollards ensures that no motorized vehicle steps on the footpath. The design facilitates dedicated footpath for pedestrians; allowing swift movement with a continuity along the full stretch from Rishi Chowk to Parihar Chowk.

In a scenario where rapid urbanization has already eaten up public spaces, projects such as these set an excellent example of how public spaces can be annexed into our fast growing cities. 

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