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URBAN PLANNING

Sustainable
Urban Planning
A.K. Jain

Recognizing the potential


and needs to address urban
development in a dynamic
practical manner.

40 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People January 2011


U
rban India in terms of popula- Urban Context decentralisation and globalisation. An
tion has increased more than The Indian city is an amorphous mani- important opportunity to face the chal-
ten times during the last 100 festation of its cultural, socio-econom- lenge of rapid urbanisation is presented
years – from 26 million in 1901 to 285 ic, political and demographic diversity. by the surge towards decentralisation
million in 2001, which is 28 per cent The built form is largely a derivation adopted by the government. The gov-
of the total population. By 2020, ur- of resource view of urban land. The ernment took a very significant step in
ban population will be 40 per cent of fundamental contradiction in urban 1992, by passing the 73rd and 74th Con-
the total population and by 2050 the planning has been between the re- stitutional Amendment Acts thereby
figure will be 50 per cent. The share of quirements of livelihood and lifestyles, transferring many administrative and
urban population has risen from 17.2% between political and professional financial powers to Local Bodies. This
in 1951 to 27.8% in 2001. processes and between cultural val- makes Urban the Local Bodies the most
The number of cities with a popu- ues and market forces. The more com- important functionary in the provision
lation of more than one million has plex the process, the more critical this of the urban services.
gone up from 5 in 1951 to 35 in 2001. contradiction becomes. Compounded
Of these, 8 cities have population be- with dynamics of change, population As per the 12th Schedule of the 74th
tween 3 million and 5 million and 6 cit- growth and land speculation, the resul- Constitutional Amendment Act, 18
ies: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, tant built-form has become complex, new tasks have been defined as in
Bangalore & Hyderabad, have a popu- chaotic and amorphous. It no more the functional domain of the ULBs,
lation of more than 5 million. These reflects a coherent vision and ambi- which are:
megacities are the nodes of economic ence to its environmental context. As a 1. Urban Planning including town
growth of India. By and large, the na- consequence, the approach is often to planning.
ture and extent of growth of Indian adopt remedial solutions. 2. Regulation of land-use and
Cities is unplanned and unanticipated Despite significant progress in construction of buildings.
and the provision of services is not pro- economic growth and poverty reduc- 3. Planning for economic and social
active, but reactive. The demand for tion, according to Tendulkar Commit- development.
services such as transport, water, and tee (2009), India’s 38% population, i.e. 4. Roads and bridges.
sewerage continually outstrips supply, 400 million, are living in poverty. One 5. Water supply for domestic,
resulting in a situation of perpetual of the main reasons behind this is the industrial and commercial purposes
scarcity and shortage. lack of adequate job creation. Labour 6. Public Health, sanitation,
Pressure is evident on the basic markets have hardly progressed rela- conservancy and solid waste
services. About 54 per cent of urban tive to the country’s economic gains. management.
households do not have access to In many regions, the rate of unemploy- 7. Fire services.
toilets and 64 per cent are not con- ment has increased, although a few 8. Urban forestry, protection of the
nected to the public sewerage sys- have witnessed some improvement. environment and promotion of
tem. Almost 50 per cent of solid waste Under-employment and child labour ecological aspects.
remains uncollected. Although 89 continue to be issues of concerns. The 9. Safeguarding the interests of
per cent of urban population is cov- country is confronting three specific is- weaker sections of society,
ered by treated water supply, water sues – jobless growth, the working poor including the handicapped etc.
is supplied only for a few hours per and youth unemployment. The overall 10. Slum improvement and
day. City roads are clogged. Though progress marks wide disparities and upgradation.
vehicle population in India increased stark contrasts. 11. Urban poverty alleviation.
80-folds in the last 40 years, road area 12. Provision of urban amenities and
has increased by only 5 per cent. Only Planning, Participation facilities such as parks, gardens,
17 of the largest cities have organized and Politics playgrounds.
bus services, and only three cities – Various policy changes have been ini- 13. Promotion of cultural, educational
Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – have tiated so that the Indian cities keep and aesthetic aspects.
a suburban rail system. pace with the spirit of the democratic 14. Burials and burial grounds;

January 2011 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People 41


cremations, cremation grounds and A leveraging strategy should explore the areas where the govern-
electric crematoriums. be adopted so as to encourage ment can cooperate in partnership,
15. Cattle pounds: prevention of private sector to participate in infra- with the private sector encourag-
cruelty to animals. structure/city development for which ing cooperation and competition in
16. Vital statistics including registration there is an urgent need of inter-sec- the critical areas of concern, such as
of births and deaths. toral cooperation. It is necessary to given below:
17. Public amenities including street
lighting, parking lots, bus stops and Socio-economic Growth Tpt. Infrastructure Ecological Sustainability,
public conveniences. Employment Generation Services Human Safety, Conservation
18. Regulation of slaughter houses
and tanneries.
These amendments encourage Old
the preparation of district and metro- Vision
politan development plans, which in- Housing & Land and
tegrate investments and their spatial building Development
implicaitons, and need a suitable plan
making mechanism and techniques.
This requires serious consideration so
that the planning framework responds
to the climate of new economic poli- Governance, empowerment and participation
cies and democratic decentralisation.
In order to enable the implementation The New Paradigm
of a new strategy, it would be neces-
sary to restructure the local bodies
and service departments and to equip GREENERY & BEAUTIFUL URBAN SCAPE
ENRICH CULTURAL LIFE
them to the changing political set up.
CLEAN AIR AND WATER
The challenge is to find ecologically IMPROVED AMENITIES, HEALTH
sustainable, socially just, economi- & EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
FUNCTIONING SERVICES
cally viable and culturally transferable COMMUNICATIONS/TRAFFIC
technological and managerial innova- SPACE FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
tions. Besides various changes in the AFFORDABLE HOUSING
SAFETY & SECURITY
planning process, as given below, the CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT
traditional role of ULBs from ‘Provider’ PARTICIPATION
has to change to ‘Facilitator”: THE ASPIRATION PYRAMID

Changes in Planning Process


From To
Focus on statutory planning Performance orientated planning; focus on implementation
Public-Community-Private Partnership, Corporatisation of Urban Local
Government does all
bodies, contracting out
Comprehensive planning strategic and action planning
approaches incorporating institutional and financial aspects, planning
Focus on spatial and physical aspects
for economic development
Meeting basic functional needs planning as a social function emphasis on quality and innovative demand driven planning
rigid legislation legal reforms facilitating participatory planning & flexibility
Monopoly over urban information new urban information systems, computerisation, telecommunication
Make cities Computable and Networked.

42 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People January 2011


• Land assembly and development. • Heritage and conservation economic situations to live in the
• Transport services, clean technol- potential. same neighborhoods and have
ogy and laws for environmental • Governance and institutional access to the same services.
safeguards. capacity. • Management and maintenance
• Water, sanitation, drainage and aspects need to be given serious
waste management. With people and resources in place, attention at the planning stage.
• Housing, alongwith community the city plan needs to set a strategic
utilities, services, open space and direction for growth in a manner ac- This means using land optimally
facilities. ceptable and supported by the people. and to create a smart and compact
• Slum upgradation, rehabilitation There must be a good match between city together with a new paradigm
and their city renewal. the planner’s perspective and the peo- of land use and flexibility, which pro-
ple’s aspirations. This can be expressed motes creation of jobs and reduces
Towards a New from different perspectives which nev- the need to commute.
Paradigm of Urban ertheless converge to become an all-
Planning round set of shared values. Conclusion
Urban planning, as an attempt to syn- India is at a juncture to decentralise ur-
thesise the diverse activities, perspec- Participatory Planning ban planning process, financial resource
tives, aspirations and resources into Effective participatory planning among generation and technical capability. This
a composite whole is a complex and all the stakeholders, mediation be- has positive implications and potentials
dynamic process. The process of plan- tween competing or conflicting in- for the introduction of new urban plan-
ning depends upon the political, so- terests would help in bringing about ning tools. There is a need to evolve a
cio-economic, physical, infrastructural change and lasting improvements to new set of urban policies and planning
and administrative realities. During the the living environment. To translate the approach recognising the potential and
last decades the peoples’ aspirations sustainability principles by city design, needs, and to address urban develop-
and focus of planning have became the following six critical areas can be ment in more dynamic and practical
enlarged - from the local spatial, infra- identified: manner. This will strive for more effec-
structure, housing, architectonic and • Jobs : Job sites located within tive linkages between social, economic
functional aspects, to global environ- communities reduce time spent and spatial planning, improvement
mental, organizational, governance, travelling to work. of the efficiency of cities and their in-
conservation of heritage, urban, aes- • Corridors : High density frastructure, strengthened local gov-
thetics, employment and poverty alle- commercial and residential ernance and better institutional and
viation, human dignity, empowerment corridors focus growth along transit inter-sectoral cooperation, as well as
and participation. routes. cost-effective forms of public-private
Urban planning should essentially • Walkability : Interconnected street partnerships. We have achieved the ur-
synthesise various components of sus- systems link residents with the ban planning capacity, yet we seek to
tainable development, such as :- services they need. be moving further from the realisation
• The potential carrying capacity, • Green Space : Green Spaces of this potential. The majority of popu-
water conservation/supply and provide recreation opportunities lation suffer a growing sense of loss and
reducing ecological footprint of and connect people with natural frustration as their lives, families and
urban system for low carbon city systems. their hopes for the future disintegrate.
development. • Infrastructure : Integrating Millions of people lack secure and ade-
• Economic development and natural systems based on the quate shelter and basic sustainance. The
poverty related challenges. principles of conservation of professionals in the field of habitat have
• Energy, transportation and natural resources and recycling the responsibility to set a new direction
water resources constraints and that reduce infrastructure costs and and redirect the resources and power
opportunities. environment impact. at their command to take the step to
• Environment, pollution control and • Housing : a range of housing a new era. It must involve transforma-
climate change related challenges. types allows residents of differing tion and innovation in the relationships

January 2011 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People 43


among people, governments, and other with, Reforms’, Cities Journal (UK) Publications, New Delhi
players in urban planning and develop- Vol. 20, NO-2, 24. Jain A.K., Lutyens’ Delhi, (2009),
ment. The success of this depends upon 11. Jain, A.K., (2003) ‘Actioning new Bookwell Publishers, New Delhi
the planning process, which should be partnerships for Indian Cities’, 25. Jain A.K., Urban Planning and
participatory and localised. The plan- Cities Journal (UK) Vol. 20, Governance A New Paradigm,
ning process should provide a holistic No.5, 2003. (2009), Bookwell, New Delhi
perspective and engage discussions on 12. Jain, A.K.,(2001), Ecology and 26. Jain A.K., Delhi Under Hammer
cross-cutting issues within the context Natural Resource Management (2009), Rupa Publications,
of local communities and eco-systems. for Sustainable Development, , New Delhi.
It should envision and embrace a new Management Publishing Co., 27. Jain A.K., The Cities of Delhi, (1994)
era of urban planning. New Delhi. Man. Pub. Co. New Delhi.
13. Jain A.K, Low Carbon City – 28. Jain, A.K., (2007), The Indian
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Responsive to and compatible Malls (2009), Readworthy

44 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People January 2011