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August 12, 2016

Responding to Rapid Urban Expansion

This post in Livemint, argues that the challenges posed by urban sprawl can be better addressed by an institutional framework that establishes multi-scale governance and a policy approach that prioritizes the provision of urban amenities in peri-urban areas. Excerpt below


"...As Indian cities grow outwards, we need a policy response that goes beyond callous neglect, hasty amalgamation and brazen land acquisition. Instead of merely amalgamating peri-urban areas with the city or giving real estate developers a free rein over these areas, a better approach is to plan for the future by identifying areas for growth and taking steps to ensure that these areas are first provided with basic urban infrastructure and services. An interesting venture in this regard is the Urban Expansion Initiative, a project housed at New York University’s Stern Business School, which promotes a “making room approach” to urban expansion by identifying areas that are projected to urbanize and procuring land for public amenities beforehand...


If the challenge of increasing urban expansion has to be addressed, we also need an institutional framework that espouses vibrant urban governance and planning processes. However, even after the passage of the 74th constitutional amendment which sought the empowerment of elected municipal governments, India’s urban governance and planning regime remains paralysed. Though the amendment tasked the ULBs and the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) with urban planning, various ‘development authorities’ working under the state governments continue to perform this function in most cities...For responding to a phenomenon like peripheral urban growth, an institutional framework that provides for a metropolitan-level planning and governance mechanism is essential."


Read the full piece here.


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