Sunday, January 9, 2011

Is India Aiming for Urban Sustainability?

by Komalirani Yenneti

India moving rapidly along its growth – development axis is faced with rising urbanization and growing pressure on resources especially in its urban areas. The ‘National Mission on Sustainable Habitat’ has enumerated specific steps to integrate comprehensive urban planning and sustainability concerns.

Need for Urban Sustainability

India began city planning and urbanization early- almost 4,500 years back, with the Indus valley Civilisation. The cities of Mohen jo Daro and Harappa were amongst the world’s earliest and most unique examples of urban design. In modern India however, development has somehow not kept pace with the growth of towns and cities. The size and vulnerability of informal settlements, generally built in fragile areas, such as coastal zones, flood-prone plains and ravines, and geologically unstable slopes, greatly increases their vulnerability to climate change.
To address these issues in cities, Govt. of India recently approved the “National mission on Sustainable Habitat” as one of the eight missions announced as part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Mission promotes energy efficiency as an integral component of urban planning and urban renewal through application of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), Urban Waste Management and Sustainable Transport system. To achieve the Mission on Sustainable Habitat, the need of the hour is sustainable development of urban areas.

Background to urban development in India
The number of people living in urban centres continues to grow, as India’s rate of urbanization gallops at roughly 31%. According to the India-Urban Poverty Report 2009 , the absolute number of people in urban cities and towns has gone up substantially. The rapid pace of urbanization and the resultant increases in populations has also significantly increased the overall vulnerability of urban areas to dangers of climate change. There are major challenges: from livelihoods to access to sanitation and health facilities, issues related to water and energy, civic amenities, waste disposal, growth of slums and the inadequate resources available with the municipalities.

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Hyderabad, image by remusse

read more about urban planning and urbanism in India:

How many slum-dwellers live in the world?

Delhi’s Walkways Hazardous to Your Health, Study Finds

McKinsey: India’s “Urban Awakening” Depends on Sustainable Transport and Land Use


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