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Blog Posts: Urban Planning

  • Going local for Climate Action

    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our times and is proving to be one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity. It is wreaking havoc around the globe and has forced most of human work to shut down. However, these uncertain times have inadvertently helped the environment, with frequent sightings of...

  • Building Back Better: A time to Introspect on Innovation in Public Service Delivery

    The COVID-19 health crisis and associated lockdown has thrown into plain view the fragility of existing systems, from healthcare and governance, to the gig economy and global markets. With people confined to their homes and restricted mobility, cities are working to not only manage and contain the spread of the disease but also ensure a consistent, efficient and reliable supply of basic services. While the struggles of providing equal access to efficient and reliable basic services is not new to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in India, limiting contagion and avoiding secondary health impacts...

  • Tackling Inequality in Cities is Essential for Fighting COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a disruptive new normal for everyone through shelter-in-place orders and social distancing guidelines. But for the billions of urban poor, these guidelines aren’t just burdensome; they’re essentially impossible.

    Social distancing is a critically important response to the pandemic, but it also assumes that residents have adequate space, services and social safety nets to survive such an order. This is simply not the reality across cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    More than...

  • Urban Blues and Prudence: 5 Things to Consider prior to Restoration and Conservation Efforts

    Since time immemorial, Indian cities have come up either on riverbanks or near surface waterbodies or over groundwater reservoirs, making the presence of water a founding feature of settlements. Historically, waterbodies played a vital role in defining the cultural heritage of a city. They provided public spaces for recreation, gatherings and religious activities, as well as a range of livelihood options, like fishing and boating. This dependence, in turn, ensured that these waterbodies were cared for and used by local communities, and fostered a water focused identity of the place....

  • How Does a Flood-prone City Run Out of Water? Inside Chennai’s “Day Zero” Crisis

    This blog post originally appeared in WRI Insights.

    Chennai, India faced a devastating flood in 2015 that killed hundreds of people and displaced many more. Today, the southern Indian city’s four main reservoirs are virtually dry.

    This crisis is not only due to lack of water. Lack of proper management is exacerbating dry conditions in Chennai and many other...

  • India's Environmental Challenges in 10 Images

    The last two decades have seen a rampant rise in environmental challenges being faced by cities and countries globally. In India, too, challenges related to air pollution, waste management, scarcity of water, conservation of natural resources, and loss of biodiversity, amongst others have been increasing. This photo essay uses animations based on satellite images to show the effect these challenges have had on our country.


    In the last two decades, India has urbanised at an unprecedented rate. This image shows the growth of Bangalore between 1990 and 2015....

  • Can Delhi's Bike Sharing System Help Mainstream Cycling in India?

    On Sunday, India’s latest bicycle sharing system was launched in New Delhi following on from the successes of Mysore, Bhopal, and other Indian cities, which have helped garner interest in cycling as an alternative mode of commute. The bike share system was launched by Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, and Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, New Delhi.

    Under the Smart Cities initiatives, NDMC launched this bicycle sharing system with SmartBike, a Hyderabad-based company which has teamed up with...

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