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Friday, 15 February 2019

Sustainable Urban Development with Increased Mobility

Seven out of ten Indian citizens now live in cities or large towns, and the vast majority must deal with the consequences of poor urban planning every day of their lives. Negative aspects of urban living include traffic congestion, noise, poor public transport, urban sprawl, air pollution, a lack of easily accessible shops and services, and a host of other daily inconveniences. In the past, many local and regional decision-makers adopted a 'trial and error' approach to urban development, in which long-term objectives were rarely defined and remedial action was taken only when it became absolutely essential. But dysfunctional cities generate social and environmental problems which, in turn, have a real economic cost. Today, more and more regional and urban decision-makers are recognising the urgent need to put in place coordinated transport, land use and environmental policies.
Secondly, some planning authorities and municipalities are trying to develop quality infrastructure to improve the quality of life in India's cities, protect the environment. Transport planning strategies that placed too much emphasis on car use and did not take anintegrated approach to the complex needs of a modern city have failed spectacularly. Many of India's cities are reaching crisis point. Choked roads, overburdened public transport systems, pollution, noise and poorly serviced neighbourhoods are making life increasingly unbearable for more and more Indian citizens. One of the keys to successful urban development is forward planning.
   Cities should have short-, medium- and long-term transport and land use strategies ranging from thoughtful planning decisions to widest possible stakeholder consultation to draw up long-term sustainable development domains of Socio-economic development of Indian cities and towns. How the balance between the need and the demand of the improved infrastructure varying  city to city can be met is a serious problime. What matters is to identify transport and land use questions lie at the heart of any serious sustainable urban planning policy, and must be considered together. When a city gives the green light for a construction project - whether it is a housing complex, an apartment building, an office block or a shopping centre - it must also consider how people can get to or from the new premises. If it decides to build a ring road, on the other hand, developers will be keen to benefit from the improved access offered by the new transport link, as demonstrated by the industrial and commercial zones that now ring most major Indian cities. When land use and transport policy decisions are taken they are not done in due consideration of the roads and out-of-town shopping centres. The multi-dimensional handicap imposed on inner city areas increases with a mix of shops, recreational uses, residential neighbourhoods.
Every municipality must have expert from the fields of  environment, socialogogy and economics, urban planning, transport planning.  Very often the resources of the municipality is not fully utilized on city planning and management, cultural heritage, the built environment and urban transport. These areas need urgent attention to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing Indian cities today. 
Serious long-term transport and land use planning strategies need to look around 20 years into the future, so research into these important areas will be needed for some time to come. To support urban planning and economic policies, and their implementation by city remain a key are for research.
Shashikant Nishant Sharma