Urban URJA- expanding to Urban Reform through Joint Action, is Patrika Foundation’s umbrella campaign in urbanization aimed to catalyze the synergetic potential of urban agents in effecting transformation and change.
Born out of a legacy of Patrika’s efforts in democratizing the urban space, particularly in the cities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Patrika Foundation hopes to take sustainable steps towards making urbanization a participative, accessible and symbiotic reality for all its stakeholders.
What does our ideal city look like?
Urban URJA is directed towards the achievement of an urban reality that is:
Productive and sustainable:
Cities have often been dubbed as the ‘engines of economic growth’ and the centers where efforts at sustainability play out.
For us, a productive city is one that expands and transforms its natural endowments, human potential and technical infrastructure into making the creative scalable, replicable solutions to urban challenges. The major emphasis being on making such performance measurable and effective.
A sustainable city is based on twin pillars of urban resilience and urban innovation. While the former lends capacities of dealing with urban challenges that face us in the present or in the near future, the latter equips us with the ability to adapt our cities to the ever-changing needs of the future.
Inclusive and connected:
Urban processes that intrinsically affect the everyday life of citizens often exclude them or occur at a distance from them. Urban URJA hopes to bring out the ‘voice of the city’ with a special emphasis on marginalized voices that are underrepresented in how a city is imagined and built. The campaign shall channelize these voices fruitfully towards the achievement of the satisfaction and ease of living of city dwellers.
Towards urban inclusion, the campaign seeks to play an integral role in breaking silos and connecting urban stakeholders through transparent dialogic platforms- the vision being to transform cities into interconnected web of people, agencies and capacities.
The optimal beginning point of such an effort would be towards providing and connecting urban stakeholders with necessary knowledge tools they would require to become empowered agents of change in their areas of influence.
Participative and empowered:
Urban governance operates as a complex system of multiple agencies, government arms, public functionaries, operating oftentimes at an arms-length from citizens that empower the public offices. Urban URJA is a call to action for citizens to take active ownership of how the city they inhabit functions.
We believe that roadblocks to implementation of urban reforms can be tackled with in the long-term through participative management of urban service delivery and monitoring of urban public policy interventions.
Presently piloted in three cities of Rajasthan- Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota, the project on Urban Finances hopes to affect:
A bettering of the positioning of Municipal finances which do not receive the same space of concern or attention as state and central budgets by removing the huge information asymmetry that surrounds them.
Improvement of the people-friendliness of Municipal budgets in terms of accessibility and comprehensibility.
Driving of reforms in how city budgets are estimated, presented and reviewed through various levels of citizen engagement and stakeholder consultations.
Our campaign seeks to directly translate itself to expanded public ownership and accountability of municipal finances among urban stakeholders.