Urban India 2007 | Jan - Jun

Submitted by nanda on 10 July 2014 - 4:30pm
Urban Decentralization in India: Issues and the way forward

The 74th Constitutional Amendment was to empower urban local bodies and support urban decentralization in India. However, over last 15 years, implementation of decentralization is different in various states. The paper identified various issues related with urban decentralization like weak staff capacity, role of parastalas in delivery of services, inadequate municipal revenue base, limited and ad-hoc transfer from central and state governments to ULBs etc. In this context, the paper suggested that the Constitution should be amended to classify the functions into core and other functions, industrial areas should not be not exempted from formation of ULBs and central finance commissions should provide grant-in-aid to ULBs linked to certain central taxes. The paper also suggested several administrative measures like adoption of a common categorization of ULBs, minimum level of municipal staffing, executive powers for Mayors, unit area method or capital value method property tax assessment, greater role for metropolitan and district planning committees, making management of water supply and sewerage system should be the primary function of ULBs, enabling provisions for private sector participation in delivery of services and improved cost recovery, and setting up of regulatory framework for urban services. 

Prof. Chetan Vaidya
Pro-poor Governance of Urban Risks: The case of Ahmedabad

This paper investigates the shortcomings and potentials of the current governance structure to mainstream risk reduction and prevention in Ahmedabad. In analysing in detail the multifaceted elements and geography of urban vulnerability and risks in Ahmedabad, it is argued that urban risks constitute a multiplicity of dimensions that goes far beyond a conventional disaster management approach but reaches out to urban development and poverty reduction. This notion of risks is reflected in the terminology of 'urban risk governance' rather than 'risk management'. Risk governance postulates a pro-poor and multi-stakeholder approach which allows the expression of diverse opinions. Such a policy framework necessitates the ability of urban governments to change their attitude and mode of governance in order to tackle the complexity of urban risks. While hitherto neither the state nor the municipal authority of Ahmedabad seemed to see a need in establishing a comprehensive risk management framework at the city level, the recent City Development Plan makes a point in addressing urban risk management for the first time. Thus there may be an opportunity to introduce this dimension into considerations of urban planning. 

Dr. Christoph Woiwode
Impact Analysis of urbanisation on surface and ground water using RS GIS techniques: A case study of Pune Municipal Corporation

Human-induced modifications on land and water are posing a serious threat to geo-environment in general and groundwater regime in particular along the fringe areas of lost cities in the world. This problem has reached an alarming stage in underdeveloped and developing countries. Use of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (RS-GIS) techniques is one solution to generate sound database for identifying problems, evaluating their impact and providing locale specific solutions.

Keeping in view this fact, thematic layers of contours, drainage, geology and land use/land cover were prepared in ILWIS software. The superimposed picture of these thematic layers was obtained and interpreted. The overlay of contour and land use/land cover layers revealed that 44% area, 10% area and 2% area occurring respectively below 600 m altitude, between 660 and 720 m altitude and above 720 m has undergone metamorphosis converting pervious land surface into impervious one. Out of 147 first and 37 second order streams 57 and 23 streams respectively (total length 65 kms) disappeared in the process of leveling of land for construction purposes such as buildings and transportation routes. All these changes have been responsible for causing flash floods and minimizing groundwater storage capacity.

A comparison of well inventory data of 1986 and 2006 revealed that though the groundwater level in dug wells located along the Ramnadi reaches up to the surface during rainy season, depletes fast due to loss of pervious surface and thereby storage capacity. The surface water samples of Ramnadi located beyond the limit of PMC is fresh that deteriorates once the flow enters into the urbanized sector. The water shows higher concentration level of turbidity, BOD, COD, hardness and alkalinity indicative of increasing pollution in the lower stretch of Ramnadi.

Dr. Bhavana Umrikar and Uma Iyer
Housing for Inclusive Cities

This paper presents role of housing for development of inclusive cities in a wider context of Indian experience. It is noted that 'Housing' should not be viewed as four walls and a roof, but should be seen in a wider sense of habitat and sustainable development of human settlements. At the same time, inclusive cities have emerged as a common goal to achieve national policy objectives on poverty alleviation, safe environment, productivity and quality of life. Therefore, adequacy of 'housing' covering shelter, related services and livelihood opportunities has become a pre-requisite for 'inclusive' cities. It is argued that the typology of 'housing exclusion' needs to be addressed globally and this paper suggests that necessary 'actions' to formulate a suitable strategy for 'housing inclusion'.

Dr. K.K. Pandey
Culture and Migration: Reflections from a Delhi Slum

Metropolitan slums in diverse nations like India have always been home to rural migrants from a variety linguistic, religious and regional backgrounds and reflect a unique cultural dynamism. 'In what ways do the cultural mores of 'des' or the place of origin of the poor migrants still inform their dreams and worldviews after migration to cities and to what extent is a metropolitan slum able to generate its own composite but distinct cultural ethos?' is a question which is worth examining both for its empirical value as also for addressing the challenge of reconceptualising 'culture' in a post modern world. 

This present paper seeks to address some of these issues through a brief report of my findings regarding changing patterns of values, beliefs and identities discerned in some life histories and nearly two dozen long semi-structured interviews with the denizens of Aradhaknagara slum cluster near Seema Puri in East Delhi and of Dhantalaa village in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. 

Dr. Devesh Vijay
Role of ICT in the development of new functions, activities and changing urban forms in urban areas

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have revolutionized the modern business ways/processes, as a consequence the business units (firm/company/corporation/industry/wholesaler/retailer) have adopted them very intensely. Within the broader context of globalization, the emergence of ICT in business units has been associated with the developments of new activities (Teleworking,Offshoring...24/7working), functions (Technoparks, Gated enclaves...Aerotropolis) and changing urban form (Polycentric) in urban areas. This paper is an attempt to highlight this association through review of literature. 

Dr. D. Vijay Kishore and Bhanu M. Marwaha
Sustainable Urban Development in India: Some Issues, Some Options

This paper discusses some issues relating to sustainable urban development and city form with special reference to India. The paper first explains the concept of sustainable urban development. Then it discusses the deficiencies in urban basic services in India and how to manage the services in an environment friendly way and the need to make them more equitable. Next the paper discusses the issues of two city forms and their possibilities for Indian cities. The two city forms discussed are compact city form and multi-modal urban region. 

Dr. Basudha Chattopadhyay
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