Inclusive Urban Development Part-1

Category: Environment & Green Technology Published: Thursday, 20 October 2016
I got invitation to National Seminar on Inclusive Urban development to be held on 17th October 2013 at at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The snapshots of brochure are shown below

The seminar includes technical sessions on Affordable Housing, Urban Planning, Multi-modal transport, Basic Urban Amenities, Social Inclusion, Sustainable waste management, urban Governance & Municipal Finance and Smart Cities. Though each topic  in the proposed seminar would require  a separate seminar for unfolding various issues involved in it, the proposed one day seminar  would definitely  be helpful in  focusing  the attention of stakeholders to the prime aspects  of Inclusive Urban Development  in the Indian context. ( Those who are interested may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.As it is not possible for me to attend this important seminar,  I would like to put my views regarding the subject in this blog.
Our Dnyandeep Education & Research Foundation has been organizing seminars on green building design, use of renewable energy sources and environmental technology. Our two day seminar on    ‘Dream of Green City’ in 2006 at Pune highlighted the ill effects of uncontrolled urban growth  and emphasized the need of integrated sustainable development. However, this requires coordinated efforts of all concerned experts  in political, social, financial, technical and environmental fields  who can give desired input for planning.  Seminars and conferences often create awareness at  academic  level, but the message does not reach the decision makers who can actually steer the growth engine in proper direction.
Necessity of Baseline Study
First of all, It is necessary to study and prepare detailed documentation  of existing status of city as regards infrastructural and service facilities, socio-economical conditions, environmental quality and  limiting factors for growth or change. Many a times, new schemes are proposed without such baseline data collection resulting in failure to yield expected outcome. It should be remembered that major stake holders of urban planning are citizens in that city and not finance and technology suppliers. Hence the planning process must start by understanding problems and difficulties faced by citizens, their demands and  aspirations for healthy, comfortable, secure and affordable living.   I witnessed such interaction public meeting conducted by Dr. Prasad Modak before suggesting Ecocity project for Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad     corporation. The project envisaged active participation of citizens in monitoring and information suppliers for corrective actions. The modality  suggested was use of webportal  with specially devised map tool for location wise feedback  receiving system. However, the scheme could not succeed due to  ignorance and connectivity limitations of internet use by general public.
Majority of people living in multistoried complexes in urban area belong to middle class and cannot afford costly smart gadgets and refrain from using renewable energy sources due to high capital investment. However, they do require help of workers from poor families for household duties.  These workers need residential accommodation nearby. Due to unavailability of land at affordable cost, they prefer to live even  in unauthorized slum type establishments, which lack basic amenities like water supply and sanitation. Hence every multistoried complex gives rise to growth of slum  in  surrounding or nearby area.   Multistoried complexes become excessive burden for existing roads, electricity, water supply and sanitation facilities provided by corporation. Combined result of this situation is unhealthy and insecure environment .  Open spaces, gardens  and places of recreation are fast disappearing and cities are growing with engulping of nearby villages. The major metropolitan cities in India are facing this problem and situation from bad to worst due to huge influx of population and rampant building activity.
The administration of city infrastructure and services is divided in many independent organizations, who have their own agenda and priorities for development. The development projects get stuck or delayed due to lack of permission or inaction in preparatory work needed to be done from particular agency. Hence project must be planned by enforcing priority criteria for activities to be performed by all concerned parties in fixed time schedule. Any delay in project execution increases cost and may become unfeasible due to financial constraints. 
It is therefore necessary to form one central authority to handle the project and it should take advise from committee composed of  representatives of all concerned departments, who will act as liaison officers of the respective departments.