Sustainable Cities – UPSC GS1

  • UN Habitat estimates that by 2030 India will have 14 major clusters of cities accounting for 40 per cent of its GDP
Are Indian cities extreme climate events proof? Why?
No, concerns have been expressed over their ability to withstand extreme events
  • Uneven and lop-sided urbanization has put strain on the infrastructural of the city. E.g.: The recent Chennai floods where roads and buildings were severely flooded
  • Limited autonomy at the urban local body (ULB) level and interference from state governments has weakened institutional capacity
  • Lack of financial resources and weak flow of funds besides corruption and red-tapism which have affected urban governance
What should be done?
  • Aligning the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT to develop sustainable urban habitats
  • Greater devolution of funds as pointed out by a report of World Economic Forum and autonomy to raise finances through taxation and infrastructure bonds
  • Disaster proofing through implementation of earth-quake resistant building codes and checking encroachment of lakes and wetlands in cities
  • Leveraging technology to improve forecasting systems and information gathering for planning
  • Initiative to reclaim floodplain of rivers in the vicinity from illegal construction. Construction on these causes blockade for water to flow back
  • Segregation of waste at individual level to ensure a plastic free drainage system.
What are the components of sustainable urban development?
Sustainable Urban development includes:
  1. Economic Sustainability
    Investing for future. Best available technology. Sustainable infrastructure e.g. buildings
  2. Ecological Sustainability
    Keeping in mind future pressures. Investment in Renewable energy e.g. solar panel. Waste management. Solutions for waste water, waste food –> biogas. Vehicular pollution
  3. Social Sustainability
    Building society based on constitutional principles. Involving people. Gender perspective in development. Public Safety

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