India's Cities Begin To Collapse Under The Strain Of Migrants

After decades of being a nation of rural dwellers, Indians are rapidly moving into cities in search of better jobs, but the housing infrastructure is not keeping pace.
December 5, 2010, 1pm PST | George Haugh
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The lack of action to relieve the housing crisis in India's cities seems certain to undermine the country's efforts to 'vault its multitudes out of poverty and share the fruits of its nearly double-digit growth more widely,' reports Lydia Polgreen.

A recent McKinsey report stated that in order to accommodate the massive forecasted urban growth, India would have to build the equivalent of the city of Chicago every year. But no such plans have arisen. Instead, cities are buckling under the strain and illegal housing developments are literally falling apart under the strain of demand.

"The dilapidated state of Indian cities is in some ways by design. For decades, Indian governments tried to discourage migration to cities by making city life unaffordable and unbearable for new arrivals." Now that India's rural populations have voted with their feet, their cities need to catch up.

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Published on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 in The New York Times
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