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Kaikondrahalli Lake -

The Uncommon Story of an Urban Commons

Produced by 

Stockholm Resilience Centre TV

Nature can thrive in cities, but securing the conditions for this to happen is a challenge in rapidly urbanizing cities. Follow the story of how a group of engaged citizens in Bangalore transforms a polluted urban lake into a co-managed, healthy ecosystem with rich biodiversity, to the benefit of all in the neighbourhood.

People often view voluntary work as an altruistic pursuit. Not me. I find myself continually seeking connections with people beyond my immediate family, friend circle, and work colleagues. I yearn for experiences that not only make me feel good about doing something different but also contribute to a sense of warmth within. I've embarked on various ventures, from participating in turtle-egg rescue walks in Chennai as a pre-teen to assisting musicians and artists backstage during my college days in Delhi, marching in protest rallies to spotlight injustices faced by underprivileged people as a young professional in Mumbai, and volunteering to harvest vegetables on a farm that donates to soup kitchens in the US. So, when I relocated to Bangalore, it was only natural for me to seek out a unique way to connect with a community I had yet to know.

Kaikondrahalli lake was situated near my new home, and during my first visit, I was greeted not only by heaps of garbage and debris but also by the mesmerizing presence of thousands of dragonflies. This sight, accompanied by the soothing sounds and immersive experience, led me to a profound decision—I wanted to dedicate my efforts to the rejuvenation of this lake

Priya has been involved in local civic action in her neighborhood for over a decade and a half. It all began with a group of women striving to promote waste segregation in the neighborhood. Her involvement evolved to include assisting women in navigating the police complaint process when they've experienced physical and sexual violence, helping individuals with mental health issues access healthcare experts, and participating in the rejuvenation of local lakes.

While much of her work is undertaken on an individual basis, her commitment to urban lake rejuvenation in Bangalore has grown into a movement, leaving a lasting impact. Many lakes have been rejuvenated through the efforts of the non-profit Trust she co-founded, known as MAPSAS (Mahadevpura Parisara Samrakhshane Mattu Abhivrudhi Samiti). She has inspired, advised, and supported over 20 communities in their lake rejuvenation efforts, resulting in the revival of more than 1,000 acres of lakes through collaboration with local communities and the government.

Always on the move and eager to learn, she continually advocates for positive changes in her city. Priya meets with elected officials, bureaucrats, government employees, police, non-profits, and individuals to address a multitude of issues affecting the city, with the aim of effecting positive change.

Driven by the principle of interdependence, Priya leverages her strengths to foster empathy, vibrancy, and inclusivity within her community. She is unafraid to seek assistance from those around her when navigating unfamiliar territories.

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