Urban Sustainability in Action
According to McKinsey’s India’s Urban Awakening Report -2010,by 2030, India’s urban population could touch 590 mio, 70% of the net new employment generated in cities, $ 1.2 trillion in investments required to meet the projected demand in cities, 2.5 billion square meters of roads paved, 7400 km of metros and subways constructed ,68 cities have 1 mio plus population implying urbanization will play a critical role in the India’s growth and development story.
Added to this, is another important driver of monsoon variability and intensity that could lead to more floods and droughts in the short to medium time frames forcing the rural population to migrate to cities and/or other urban agglomerations in search of employment and better quality of life thereby adding to the growing list of urban challenges that plague the country.
The twin drivers mean, if India’s growth story has to be successful and inclusive, it needs to get its development act right tempering it with key pillars in sustainability,equity and political empowerment.
The ‘Urban Sustainability in Action’ initiative, started against the context backdrop, is an advocacy initiative that maps leading edge urban sustainability projects, ideas, research, practices,coalitions and more and ranging from contemporary urban challenges in urban poverty, smart cities planning, sustainable urban development,FEW nexus, mobility,climate risk to ISO 37120 standard application for city quality of life indicators.
The inventory taking, we believe, is a first step in helping put the highly contextual and emerging sustainable urban development thinking and action in perspective and adapt useful learnings thereof to the emerging Indian sustainable urban development context.
To be able to do so, 2 ideas may prove useful – 1) Developing the notion of ‘Urban Utopian Analogues‘ which serve as overarching frames to visualize all round low carbon sustainable urban development models spanning 20-50 years from now and driven by unique contextual backdrops, 2) Back casting sustainable transition and stepped pathways to now (from the developed analogues in idea 1) to appreciate which of them lead up to them given the time,money, capacity,infrastructure etc multi criteria constraints.
With the mapped initiative we see a clear gap in visualization and decision support systems to support the execution of the above suggested ideas.
We sincerely hope the initiative helps catalyze the ideas of ‘Urban Utopian Analogues and Decision Support Frames‘ with a cross section of academia, policy and business stakeholders and pave the way towards low carbon, inclusive an sustainable urbanization for emerging economies especially India.