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Urban Development Rules: How C40 -City rules can make a difference for India.

08 Jan

The C40 Cities( http://live.c40cities.org/about-us/ )Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. The C40 was created in 2005 by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, and forged a partnership in 2006 with the Cities program of President Clinton’s Climate Initiative (CCI) to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world.

While in most Indian cities and perhaps the surrounding South Asian countries, due to various socio-economic situation City centers have become congested and un-livable, the problem in the City of Mumbai, lies more with a lackadaisical approach of the authorities for this mess. Let us see through the example of Mumbai City, what are the basic problems which most of the Cities in India face and as Tier-II & Tier-III Cities start making their presence felt, how the same very mistakes the big Metros like Mumbai & Delhi have made keeps getting replicated. Far flung villages as far as 80KM become part of the growing new “suburbs” of the City. In Architectural terms we call it the Urban Sprawl. The historic Mumbai city limits was earlier about 25 -30 KM, then in the 1980’s-2000 A.D  we were measuring the distance around 60KM ( via local suburban train – Churchgate to Virar). Now we are looking at places like Panvel in the main land ( for those who are unfamiliar with the Geography of Mumbai; it’s an Island city) as part of Navi (New) Mumbai (Bombay). Now, if one cares to travel to the far-flung suburbs of Mumbai, one would see how these new townships are mushrooming up.  Getting down on most of these suburban station, you would be surrounded by filth; Polythene bags, empty satchel of tobacco, extremely narrow road leading to a bus-stop. The foot-over bridge are already captured by illegal hawkers. Moving into the town one would notice how fertile agricultural land are getting filled with construction waste, leveled and ugly, poorly constructed buildings are mushrooming. The word town-planning is alien, as in almost all suburbs you can see violations of every town-planning law ever legislated.

 I have dealt in detail on the importance of Urban Planning and Sustainable Cities, in my article “Sustainable Cities- Why town planning is important.” I would not dwell in detail on that subject here. I would rather like to point out that as India starts making its presence felt as an Emerging economy, the traditional business center, Mumbai,  attracts more business and thereby provides more work opportunity. This in turn would (rather is ) begin the growth of a city beyond its traditional municipal boundaries. And extend the problems of urban disease, pollution and destruction of natural habitat. With the World in tether hooks, in terms of Global Warming and its resultant Climate Change, can the people of India and its administration continue to build cities in the same foolish way ? Or should we at least adopt the C-40 Cities program? Which our city leaders have avoided till date? While Mumbai & New Delhi, under Mayor Shraddha Jhadav and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit are shown as participating Cities, I am ready to wager that not one man in the street would be aware of this program.

 Further, almost all the member cities have begun one program or another we do not find any mention of India. It is time that the people of the Cities are made aware and enough pressure created to the administration, to implement laws for a sustainable city and stringent action taken against violators. Following the C40 Program would provide untold benefits to the Citizens of this cities and the program must get carried and replicated on other up-coming and growing towns & cities before the disaster of Climate Change strikes; the world has only till 2017 AD to move away and roll back the trend of Global Warming ! The details of it have been mentioned in my article – IPCC’s special report on Climate risks -IMPLICATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

Following a sustainable approach is the only way to avert not only personal & physical loss but also avoiding the impending Business risks which climate change entails, such as Tsunami & Hurricanes. With the government of Maharashtra predicting that by A.D 2026, the present suburbs would grow and become town and cities we have very less time to act. Lets not read in the future a headline in the news papers –Indian Urban Planning and Development Rules led to  loss of CDM opportunities and is  the recipe for future Misery.

 

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