The number of cities as well as the number of people living in India's cities is rising steadily, and it is estimated that around 700 million people will be living in the country's urban centres by 2050. It is inevitable that many villages and small towns will expand to become large cities but is that enough? What is going to guide this process?
"Unfortunately, there are no proper plans in place for these new settlements as well as for the existing cities that are witnessing massive urban sprawls," laments Ranjit Sabikhi, a well known architect and urbanist from India.
He stresses the importance of transforming the outdated master-planning process which is still carried in 10-20 year intervals. City plans must be more flexible so that they can be modified with the fast changing times and needs, argues Sabikhi. The implementation of the plans needs to be monitored more closely making use of the latest technology and skills.
Sabikhi insists that as important projection and planning is for these cities, so is urban design which defines the quality of urban space and brings together multiple professions related to making of cities. It is essential that urban planning and urban design become integrated with the governance structure at state as well as city level. Furthermore, the participation of local communities in planning decisions for their own neighbourhoods and cities must be promoted to enhance a sense of ownership and improve the quality of life. One has to agree with the author that unless these points are taken care of, the future of India's cities is not only bleak but extremely haphazard and chaotic
Thanks to Kanak Tiwari