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Cities in India – Part III

In this Series: Part I, Part II
Today whether you visit Mumbai or Dehradun the same scene awaits you – traffic bursting from the seams, lack of amenities, overcrowded public transport (whether it is the Mumbai local, the tempo in Dehradun or shared-rickshaw in Vadodara).

Why has this happened? Clearly, we have never looked at our cities in a scientific and organized fashion, our cities emerged just like other countries, as centres of trade. However, cities which should have evolved gradually underwent destruction and a military set-up was imposed on them. Today are imposing a commercial infrastructure over the same military set-up creating a further confused landscape on one hand and choking the amenities and resources on the other.

What can we do to solve these problems? I have few thoughts in mind:

Macro level
  • We should de-congest existing cities by shifting out industries from them to newer, better planned cities (for example the way industries were moved from Mumbai to Navi-Mumbai and Nasik)
  • We must create newer centers of development via SEZ and RISC models. SEZ will create newer areas for industry to set up, while RISC will improve access of resources to existing businesses and people
Micro Level
  • We need to redesign our existing mega-cities: speedy creation of flyovers, mass transit systems and other amenities and infrastructure. Lets learn from international cities like London and New-York.
  • Smaller cities need improvement: not every small city needs to grow into a metropolis, not every city needs to have suburbs, flyovers etc. We need to learn from the set-up in Europe where many small cities exist well connected by high-speed transport between them rather than within them. But the standard of amenities and infrastructure needs to improve in all cities alike.
There are however some more questions that I am yet to answer and are a point of debate:
  • Do we need few big cities or many small cities?
  • Should we impose the infra of one set-up over another – should old large cities be exploited like this. Shouldn’t old cities be kept as it is than loaded further? Should we not rather improve other cities than overuse the existing cities?
  • If we must create new cities, how should “the new city of India” be? What are the needs of the new workforce?
  • How do we connect our existing and new cities? Is a high speed rail network the solution or should we connect them by air and use cities to feed a hub-and-spoke rail network?
I will explore answers to some of the above questions on this blog in future. For now, this series of posts is concluded.

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1 comments to " Cities in India – Part III "

  1. Nikhil, good post (after a long time); however, I do have some thoughts on it. Let me jot them down and we can discuss/ debate on it. if it'll go long, i'll put it on my blog and update you.

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