Building Sustainable Cities: How India’s Urban Planning Strategy Could Inspire Others

Urban planning is critical to India’s progress, according to the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at a post-budget webinar on Urban Planning, Development, and Sanitation, Modi emphasized that the Union Budget of 2023-24 has a strong focus on urban planning and infrastructure development.

Prime Minister Modi noted that building new cities would create a new identity for India in the 21st century, and stressed the importance of futuristic infrastructure to accommodate the country’s rapid urbanization.

Modi outlined transport planning, urban infrastructure planning, and water management as key areas of focus in urban planning. He also highlighted the circular economy as a major pillar of urban development, urging urban planning and governance experts to develop innovative ideas in GIS master planning, efficient human resources, and capacity building.

Regarding transport planning, Modi emphasized the importance of green mobility, road widening, and elevated roads. He also stressed the need for human-centric development to be a core consideration in city development.

Overall, Modi’s remarks underscored the critical role that urban planning and development will play in shaping India’s destiny in the years to come. With the Union Budget’s strong focus on this area, India appears poised to make significant progress in building sustainable, livable cities for its citizens.

Here are some ways that other countries could borrow ideas on urban development in India:

1. Focus on sustainable infrastructure: Like India, many countries are experiencing rapid urbanization, which can strain existing infrastructure and exacerbate environmental problems. By emphasizing the importance of futuristic, sustainable infrastructure, as Modi did, other countries could create more livable, environmentally-friendly cities. For example, Singapore has implemented a comprehensive urban planning strategy that prioritizes green spaces and sustainable transportation options, which has made it one of the world’s most livable cities (World Economic Forum).

2. Prioritize circular economy principles: Modi highlighted the circular economy as a major pillar of India’s urban development strategy. Other countries could follow suit by prioritizing waste reduction, recycling, and other circular economy principles in their urban planning. For example, the city of Amsterdam has implemented a “circular economy roadmap” that aims to make the city waste-free by 2050 through initiatives like recycling, energy-efficient buildings, and shared mobility options (Amsterdam Economic Board).

3. Develop GIS-based master planning: Modi urged urban planning experts to develop innovative ideas in GIS master planning, which involves using geographic information systems to create more accurate, data-driven plans for urban development. Other countries could benefit from adopting similar techniques to better understand the needs of their cities and create more effective plans. For example, the city of London has developed a GIS-based platform called “CityData” that helps planners make more informed decisions about issues like housing, transportation, and the environment (The Guardian).

4. Emphasize human-centric development: Finally, Modi stressed the importance of human-centric development in city planning, which involves prioritizing the needs and well-being of citizens in urban design. Other countries could benefit from adopting a similar approach to create more livable, equitable cities. For example, the city of Copenhagen has implemented a “people first” approach to urban planning, which has led to initiatives like pedestrianizing key areas of the city, expanding bike lanes, and creating more green spaces (The Guardian).

By borrowing these ideas from India’s urban development strategy, other countries could create more sustainable, livable cities that prioritize the needs of their citizens.

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