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The challenge that is Urban Planning
Wed, 6 Jul Pre-Open

Urban planning has always been a challenge for the local municipal authorities in India. While there are few cities like Chandigarh which have been very well planned and are architectural masterpiece, they are not fully functional. A well planned city which is fully functional (presents entrepreneurial opportunities) is a well defined formula to add to the nation's GDP.

Considering the bureaucratic impediments, we know that it is difficult to have completely planned cities in India. Further, free population migration means that the essence of city planning is virtually defeated.

However, strong economic growth prospects offer an environment which is conducive for cities to be at least fully functional. Take the case of Gurgaon for example. It is a commercially functional city despite being plagued by problems of poor architecture and erratic power supply. The growth in Gurgaon was due to its proximity to Delhi. The area also experienced boom due to increase in construction activity by developers. And this was made possible due to the support from state administrative authorities.

What India needs at this point in time is a city which is probably a mix of Chandigarh and Gurgaon. However, overlapping administrative powers, corruption and planning inefficiencies are the root cause for the absence of any such mixed city model in India. And this has been obstructing the India growth story to a certain extent.

If there is a clear separation of powers amongst administrative authorities and a congenial environment is created for entrepreneurial activities, we can have a mixed model operating in India.

While we do agree that planning would indeed be a difficult task, the law of "no migration" can be imposed in some metros. However, this is a very politically sensitive issue and hence it is difficult to say whether it will come into effect anytime soon.

Nonetheless, if there is some form of connectivity between the larger cities and smaller towns, it can serve the purpose to some extent. Connectivity ensures trade facilitation which can improve the standard of living and foster economic development in smaller towns/cities. It can lead us to a "fully functional" city model we just discussed earlier.

However, urban planning is and would continue to remain a challenge for India.

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Feb 16, 2018 (Close)