Sustainable cities are ideology of maintaining favourable condition under which human and nature can co-exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. Development that meets the need of present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. Sustainable cities are constructed to minimize environmental degradation with facilities such as transport, waste management etc. which are designed so as to limit their impacts on natural environment, while providing the infrastructure needed for its inhabitant. The aim is to create smallest possible ecological footprint and to produce lowest quality of pollution, possible to efficiently use land, compost use material, recycling it or convert waste to energy and to make city overall contribution to climate change minimal. Seventeen sustainable Development goals were set up by UN in 2015 for the year 2030, one of the targets was to create a sustainable city.
Components of sustainable cities are mentioned below,
1) Economic activity should be self-renewing, able to build local assets and self-reliant.
2) The opportunity for full participation and decision making of a society.
3) Communities are responsible for protecting and building natural assets.
1) People: Education, health, income inequality, demographics, affordability, crime, work and life insurance.
2) Planet: Environmental risks, green spaces, energy, air pollution, GHG emission, waste management, drinking water and sanitation.
3) Profit: Transport Infrastructure, economic development, ease of doing business, tourism, connectivity and employment.
India had played an important role in shaping the SDGs in recent years. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the country’s national development goals are mirrored in the SDGs. As such, India has been effectively committed to achieving the SDGs even before they were formally crystallized. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated, “These goals reflect our evolving understanding of the social, economic and environmental linkages that define our lives.” India’s development mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” (Collective Effort, Inclusive Development) and the associated national programs closely track the SDGs. While targeting economic growth, infrastructure development and industrialisation, the country’s war against poverty has become fundamentally focussed on social inclusion and empowerment of the poor. Several major programmes have been implemented to address these priorities and meet the economic, social and cultural aspirations of a diverse people. An important anti-poverty program has focused on generating employment through public works that help develop agricultural infrastructure, productive assets and entrepreneurship-based livelihood opportunities. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides a legal guarantee of a minimum of 100 days of wage employment per household every year for unskilled workers in rural areas. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, the National Livelihoods Mission, is devoted to creating skilled employment for the poor. The Mission aims to bring one female member each from a large number of poor households in rural areas into Self-Help Groups in a phased manner. The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) attempts to ensure that maternal and child malnutrition are addressed in a systematic manner. Another ambitious initiative is ‘Housing for All by 2022.’ Under this program, assistance is provided to poor households for constructing houses. In order to meet the clean cooking fuel needs of the poor and thereby safeguarding the health of women and children, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched in 2016. A flagship initiative of the government is the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) which aims to ensure an open defecation free India by 2019. The National Disaster Management Plan, 2016 focuses on disaster resilience and integrates the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as the SDGs. India’s food security programmes are among the largest in the world and cover more than 800 million people in the country by providing affordable access to grains. The Mid-Day Meal Programme delivers nutritious cooked meals to 100 million children in primary schools.
Government has also taken many initiatives to promote gender equality and empower women in order to meet the SDGs. The government has launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) movement for catalysing a change in mind set as well as protecting and educating the girl child. Mahila E-HAAT is a bilingual direct online marketing platform leveraging technology for supporting women entrepreneurs and Self-Help Groups for showcasing their products and services. It was adjudged as one of the top 100 projects in India during 2016. Stand Up India was launched in 2016 for providing bank loans to woman borrowers for setting up a Green field enterprise.
In order to meet the SDG Innovation, Industry and Infrastructure the government has taken many initiatives. All forms of transportation - roads, railways, civil aviation and waterways - are being expanded rapidly. The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana aims to provide a continuous supply of power to all parts of rural India. An initiative of the government is the Atal Innovation Mission, which aims to transform the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape in the country. More than 500 Tinkering Laboratories are being set up in schools across the country. These Labs aim to facilitate the holistic development of students by providing them the space to experiment and put their ideas into practice. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) provides easy credit to small-scale business entrepreneurs.
The Government of India has adopted many nationwide Policies, schemes and programs in order to achieve the sustainable development goals. The Local government, Urban local bodies and Planners need to focus on adopting the sustainable planning, methods, innovations, and techniques at city/neighbourhood level for better accuracy and efficiency of implementation of policies/schemes/programs/innovations through bottom up approach in order to move towards sustainability. Doing this will help to create sustainable cities. This approach will help to boost the development process and achieve SDGs very fast. The Urban Local Bodies and Planners need to focus on adopting innovative methods and solutions in order to move towards sustainability as follows,
1) Reducing carbon emissions through introduction of Green roof system with vertical greens, BRTS using clean burning fuel and ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, bicycle sharing programmes along with streets promoting walking and cycling in public spaces in order to reduce the traffic and congestion, physical integration of public transport system, land use legislation and hierarchy of road network.
2) Encouraging waste separation by promoting recycling and composting, introduction of barter market- local people collect inorganic waste, gain green points and encash them for fresh food. Minimise waste to landfills and maximise resource potential of material, bio-waste converted to compost and using for landscape.
3) Minimize use of local water resources, adopt retrofitting water conservation method in order to reduce water consumption, eliminate waste and leakage, recycling water up to 80% of waste water, installation of collector on riverbank to capture drainage and rainwater harvesting system.
4) Reduced energy consumption by use of energy efficient technology like insulation, low energy lighting specification, increasing percentage of glazing (i.e. windows) alternative to use Air conditioning, optimising natural lights, installation of smart appliances and smart building management system. Energy generation by using solar panels, wind mills, hydro power and waste to energy plants. Planners need to focus on the green buildings using energy efficient building material and giving importance to GRIHA ratings and encourage citizens to adopt green buildings in form of incentives.
5) In order to reduce temperature (heat) of surface planners need to focus on compact planning, optimal orientation, narrow streets, natural shedding, mixed use and walkable streets. Planners need to focus more on creating green spaces in order to make environment healthier.
Adopting the innovative methods and innovations as well as the nationwide policies, schemes and programs will help to convert the city and country into sustainable city and country and increase standard of living. Ultimately planner roles will be an important in shaping the cities and giving proper direction to the growth and sustainable development of India. This would be possible only by following this India’s development mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” (Collective Effort, Inclusive Development)
Together We Will Grow, Together We Will Build