Liveable cities are an urban system that contributes to the physical, social and mental well being and personal development of its inhabitants. Key principles that gives substance to them are equity, dignity, accessibility, participation and empowerment. Liveability is a sum of factors that add up to a community quality of life including built and natural environment, economic prosperity, social stability, and equity, educational opportunities, cultural entertainment and recreation possibilities.
The Government of India along with the various state and Local Governments is implementing several flagship Urban Missions. An overarching goal of the various missions and schemes is to make Indian cities more ‘Liveable’. In 2019 the Ministry of Urban Development has developed a set of ‘Liveability standards in Cities’ to measure the quality of life in 116 major cities including capital cities and those with population over one million. Liveability Index for Indian Cities by Ministry of Urban Development are as follows,
a) Government Index:
· Percentage of citizen services available online: The extent to which, various citizen services can be accessed by citizens remotely, through online portals, phone applications, e-kiosks etc. Citizen services will include various online payments of taxes and charges, applications and approvals, grievance management, issue of documents like birth and death certificates etc.
· Tax collected as percentage of tax billed: This denotes the efficiency achieved by a city in collecting property taxes against the tax demand raised in a given year. Implementation of smart solutions in cities will be expected to improve systemic efficiencies in issuance of regular and timely demand notices, and facilitate ease of payment, thereby leading to improvement in collection of taxes and ULB revenues.
· Percentage of population covered under Ward Committees/ area Sabha’s: The participation of citizens in matters of governance, planning and development is critical for ensuring inclusive and participatory growth of cities.
a) Identity and culture:
· Restoration and reuse of historic buildings: The extent to which planning and development in the city respects historic buildings/sites and the existing cultural landscape, through projects for preservation/restoration and adaptive reuse.
· Percentage of ecologically important areas covered through projects for restoration: The extent to which the city has taken ecologically sensitive areas (natural heritage) into consideration during the process of planning and development. Ecologically sensitive sites will include surface water bodies, urban watershed (natural drainage lines), coastlines, riverfronts, wetlands and urban forests. Restoration of such sites can lead to better sustainable development.
· Percentage of budget allocated towards cultural/sports activities: This indicates the focus of the City Government on encouraging cultural and sports activities in the city. Active budgeting and expenditure by city governments on such cultural/ sports activities can facilitate a vibrant sociocultural environment within cities.
· Percentage of school-aged population enrolled in schools: Education is one of the most important aspects of human development. this indicator denotes educational opportunity, and determines the coverage of formal education among school aged population in the city.
· Primary education student-teacher ratio: This denotes the availability of adequate number of teachers in schools for providing primary education. A lower ratio indicates better individual attention and support for students in the primary grades.
· Percentage of students completing primary education: The ability of the primary education system in the city to hold enrolled students until the completion of primary education. Survival rate, particularly at the primary level, is considered a pre-requisite for sustainable literacy.
· Number of in-patient hospital beds per 10,000 population: This denotes the adequacy of inpatient medical infrastructure measured in the form of availability of in-patient beds in hospitals (public and private) in the city.
· Period prevalence of water borne disease: This denotes the prevalence of water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery etc. in the city during a particular time period. it is an indicator of the quality of water used for drinking, washing, bathing etc. in the city.
· Period prevalence of vector borne diseases: This denotes the prevalence of vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya etc. in the city during a particular time period. It is an indicator of the measures taken by city administrations to control the growth of mosquitoes and other organisms that spread such diseases, and the general level of hygiene and sanitation
d) Safety and Security:
· Number of streets, public places, junctions covered through surveillance systems: The extent to which public areas such as streets, public places like transport interchanges, government buildings, recreational spaces etc. and major traffic junctions in the city are covered through Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras.
· Number of recorded crimes per lakh population: This denotes the prevalent crime rate in a city. Lower crime rates are indicative of higher levels of safety and security in a city, due to effective surveillance in public spaces, better SOS and crime registration systems, and police response mechanisms. Better planning and programming of public spaces, illumination of streets, compact and active neighbourhoods can also contribute to safer cities.
· Transport-related fatality per lakh population: This denotes the level of safety of transport networks in the city. Better managed transport systems will tend to be safer and record lower transport related fatalities.
a) Economy and Employment:
· Increase in VAT/GST collection: This is one of the important indicators of economic productivity and competitiveness of a city. Increase in collection of Value-added tax (VAT) or Goods and services tax is a proxy for improvements in trade and services in the city.
· Increase in issuance of Construction Permit: This is one of the important indicators of economic productivity and competitiveness of a city. Increases in issuance of construction permits indicates improvements in the construction/real estate sector in the city.
· Unemployment rate: Employment generation is one of the key channels through which economic growth translates into prosperity for the population. Unemployment rate of a city denotes the proportion of work force in a city that is not engaged in gainful employment or economic activity.
· Percentage of Slum/EWS households covered through formal/affordable housing: The extent to which slum households have been provided formal housing through redevelopment projects, and EWs households have been covered through various affordable housing projects and schemes.
b) Public Open Spaces:
· Per capita availability of green spaces: The extent to which urban greens and open spaces such as recreational spaces, organized greens and common spaces like flood plains, forest cover, vacant lands etc. are available in the city leading to a better urban environment.
· Per capita availability of public and recreational places: This indicator denotes the extent to which recreational and public spaces are available in the city for recreation, social interaction and active physical activities. such spaces can include playgrounds, stadiums and sports complexes, city and district parks, neighbourhood parks etc.
c) Mixed Land Use and Compactness:
· Share of mixed land use area in overall city land use: This indicates the proportion of areas in the city which have been developed as multifunctional zones, i.e. areas where residential, commercial and non-polluting industrial activity/ service industry are planned in close proximity to one another as an integrated mix.
d) Power Supply:
· Total energy consumption per capita: This denotes the per capita energy consumption by residential, commercial and industrial users in the city. This is an important indicator that can be used by cities to plan various conservation and efficiency-related interventions for optimizing energy use.
· Percentage of new and redeveloped buildings following green building norms: The extent to which new developments and redevelopments have adopted green building norms and have received GRIHA leading to reduction in overall energy consumption.
· Percentage of total energy derived from renewable sources: The extent to which energy demand is met from non-conventional energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy etc. thereby reducing the dependence on energy produced through non-renewable sources.
e) Transportation and Mobility:
· Availability of public transport: This denotes the availability of public bus or rail transport in the city, in proportion to the population of the city.
· Percentage of road network with dedicated bicycle tracks: This denotes the availability of dedicated Right of Way for bicycles in the city, thereby encouraging the use of such non-polluting transport options.
· Mode share of non-motorised transport: This denotes the extent to which people walk or use bicycles and cycle rickshaws for moving within the city.
· Percentage coverage of footpaths – wider than 1.2m
· Availability of paid parking spaces: This is indicative of the restriction on free parking spaces for all vehicles in a city.
f) Assured Water Supply:
· Household level coverage of direct water supply connections: The extent to which households in the city are connected to the water supply network with a direct service connection, as percentage of total number of households. Household level water supply connection i.e. direct piped connection, is the minimum acceptable standard for water supply service.
· Quality of water supplied: This denotes the quality of water supplied to citizens, as per specified potable water standards. This is an important aspect, since poor water quality can pose serious public health hazards.
· Per capita supply of water: Per capita water supplied, indicates the adequacy of the municipal water supply system to source adequate raw water, treat water to potable standards and supply the same into the distribution system.
· Percentage of water connections covered through meters
· Percentage of plots with rainwater harvesting facility
g) Waste Water Management
· Coverage of toilets: The extent to which citizens have access to individual or community toilets in the city.
· Coverage of sewerage network and/or septage: Denotes the extent to which waste water management facilities are available to individual properties across the city, whether through centralized underground sewerage, decentralized systems or on-site systems such as septic tanks.
· Extent of reuse and recycling of waste water: This denotes the proportion of waste water received at the treatment plant that is recycled or reused for various purposes.
· Coverage of storm water drains
h) Solid Waste Management:
· Household level coverage of municipal solid waste collection: The extent to which households and establishments in the city are covered through door-to-door collection of municipal solid wastes on a daily basis.
· Extent of municipal solid waste recovered through reuse: The extent to which municipal solid waste generated in the city is either recycled or processed through centralised and decentralised recycling processes.
The city planners need to focus on achieving this Liveability standards by Government of India in order to make cities more liveable by adopting the policies, schemes and development control regulations and increase the standard of living of citizens. In 2019 the list of liveable Indian cities were declared by government based on the liveability standards, following are some examples:
1) Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (Ranks 1st): A densely populated metropolitan city with people bustling in and out of cafes, offices, temples and even nowhere, Hyderabad is fast turning into the New York city of South India. Ever heard of a place where its population and companies are evenly distributed to provide hassle-free life with less congestion and traffic. Apart from all this, the city is also emerging as an IT hub with a top-class airport and international schools.
2) Bangalore, Karnataka- Start up city of India (Ranks 2nd): Having evolved gradually from being the Garden City to the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru is India's third-largest city, being the second most liveable city in India. Also known as the IT hub of India, Bangalore is home to leading start-ups. Ever wished to live in a city that's best for work-life balance, entertainment, shopping, travel, art & culture, food, and of course, pleasant weather.
3) Chandigarh, Punjab- India’s First planned city (Ranks 3rd): Designed by the ace architect Le Corbusier consisting of 47 self-contained sectors, India's first planned city is known for its unique blend of urbane architecture and natural bliss. Also called as the greenest city in India, Chandigarh is home to beautiful gardens and park in every sector. The roads are well maintained making commuting much safer and more accessible.