Sustainable Urbanism: Gap Between Policy and Reality

Sustainable Urbanism: Gap between Policy and Reality

India's Urbanization rate has been increasing at a magnifying rate in recent years. According to the world bank, around 34 % of the Indian population resides in the urban area (World Bank , 2018). With the projected estimates of urban population growth, it is of prime concern to understand how Indian cities must be well versed in the realm of inclusion and growth aspects.

With the recent space and resource scarcity issues, Sustainable Urbanism seems like a reliable and future-proof opportunity. Sustainable Urbanism entails mixed land use connected by a multi-modal transportation network with sufficient open spaces that resembles compactness. It will lead to the reduction of resources plus land consumption.

Sustainable Urbanism shows potential through various approaches. Ensuring compactness is a crucial aspect in achieving sustainability as it will help in low energy consumption while promoting public transport usage and usage of non-motorized vehicles. Like, Metropolitan cities in India with high populations have the potential to instill compactness.

Environmental conservation, through the management of wastelands and natural biodiversity. Like, attractive biodiversity parks and open spaces created from the wasteland in the urban areas could be the solution. In Delhi, where the degrading air quality is very much prominent because of increasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the authorities have taken up the climate change action plan to combat these issues. Taking up such initiatives for climate change provides the potential for sustainable Urbanism through infrastructure development, addressing slum issues, improved accessibility, etc.

Despite having great potential, but there are significant challenges while implementing it practically. The recent Urbanism is primarily portrayed by its economic profit generation goal, rather than its sustainable aspect, as was promised by it. It is evident by the current technological paradigm shift, as can be seen in the case of Smart City Development Plans that is focused mainly on data and technology. It creates a fragile balance in urban systems. Most of the major cities in India do not have the capacity or resources to enable sustainable development. The Lack of Multi-stakeholder cooperation, community-level participation can possess fundamental challenges in achieving sustainability in Indian cities.


World Bank , 2018. Uban Population (% of total population) - India, Washington DC: World Bank Group.


Sustainable urbanism policy implementation realityIndia citiesurbanisation World Bankenvironmentconservation
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