http://www.economist.com/node/21563412 In this article there is a general conclusion that India and its cities are not equipped for growth and while there are some exceptions, like Surat, in Gujarat, most cities with its slums and poor infrastructure are ill equipped to grow. It makes we wonder how we view history and cities and what came first good organized cities which invited investments, or investments that produced good and bad impacts and produced planned cities. More importantly how can we examine planning strategies that can have a disconnect from the past which ignores the expanding presence of the poor in cities. Sheela Patel
|A mainly rural country is ill-prepared for its coming urban boom http://www.economist.com/node/21563412|
September, 29th 2012 | from the print edition some quotes from the article.
Putting off urbanisation can also mean postponing prosperity. When farmers leave the land to work in factories, call centres or almost anywhere else, their incomes and consumption almost always go up, lifting assorted development indicators. In China just over half the population is now urban.
Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), says that India’s 100 biggest cities, with 16% of its total population, contribute 43% of its national income. Even slum-dwellers are often productive manufacturers and traders.
Some urban centres will become megacities. According to one vision, India’s entire western seaboard could turn into a single conurbation, stretching from Ahmedabad in Gujarat in the north, past Mumbai and south to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Inland, Delhi and its environs could be a hub for 60m-70m people, provided there is enough water.
Within two decades India will probably have six cities considerably bigger than New York, each with at least 10m people: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.
India is ill-equipped to make such places attractive drivers of growth and better living. “I see no improvement in thinking about cities,” says a senior figure in construction and retailing. Much land is privately held, but markets are opaque and development too often depends on cronies with political connections.
Mumbai is especially bad. “Property in the city has run riot,” says Mr Guzder, the Parsi businessman. Towers shoot up, especially around the Sea Link, a bridge connecting the southern part of the city to the north. “But we have no urban infrastructure, no widening of roads, no provision of police.” Prithviraj Chavan, the chief minister of Maharashtra, blames the city’s woes on a “deep nexus of property and political funding”.