Framework for Resource Efficiency and Disaster Risk Reduction at Timmankudru

Island communities are most vulnerable to the drastic impact of climate change and rising sea levels. Often biological diversity hotspots, these precarious land formations are in need of holistic development plans that mitigate imminent risks of disasters while ensuring the wellbeing of its dwellers. Timmankudru is one such island that Manipal School of Architecture and Planning seeks to protect by establishing an integrated approach for sustainable living.

Timmankudru is the second largest island and the ninth of the fifteen braided Kudrus or islands on the Suvarna River that has evolved through the ages by avulsion. Located at the estuarine mouth of the river, its breath-taking beauty, tranquillity and rich biodiversity that attracts flocks of tourists, masks its unguardedness to rising sea level, intense tropical storms and river floods. The morphological history of Timmankudru shows that the island is propagated by 20-100m along its entire periphery, with its eastern portion widening and accreting. If these are not challenges enough, the island is identified under Coastal Regulation Zone CZR-I, labelling it an eco-sensitive zone where any development is a threat to the changing landform.

Given the sensitivity of the island and constraints on undertaking development activity, the task of establishing a development plan for the island community of 27 odd families is challenging. The project led by Shanta Pragyan Dash, under the guidance of Dr. Prof. Nandineni Rama Devi, is based on a primary study involving surveys and interviews with the island population, identifying issue spots and documentation of existing features. A secondary study is followed by analysing similar case studies and best practices, such as the Governors Island in New York City, and carrying out feasibility studies. UN SDG 11, Target 11.B Implement Policies for Inclusion, Resource Efficiency and Disaster Risk Reduction acts as a framework for the proposed master plan.

The project proposes innovative measures and creative solutions to tackle a range of issues that Timmankudru is fraught with, such as emigrating youth, lack of community services, inconsistent electricity supply, improper waste disposal and pollution management. Principles of sustainability and environmental performance were integrated into all aspects of design proposal, construction techniques and maintenance methods.

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