o Meaning of resilience mean in the context of Indian cities
It has been seen that traditional societies that live closer to their authentic natural habitat are more resilient, whereas, urban societies tend to be more susceptible to risk. India’s cities are key drivers of the national economy. They are equipped with technically advanced infrastructure and large concentrations of productive working populations. Our cities can suffer irrecoverable damages and can take years or even decades to recover from shocks. An Indian city would be resilient if it has the collective capacity within its local Government, economy and civic society to anticipate, adapt to and withstand the shocks and stresses that are caused by adverse environmental, economic or social conditions.
o Challenges peculiar to Indian cities and the way out
India has over 8000 cities located in different geo-climatic and socio-economic conditions. Sprawling and unplanned urbanization has resulted in the spatial expansion of cities by over 80 per cent in a single decade. India has a 7,516 km long coastline with close to 70 cities in the coastal region, including metropolitan centres like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Most of these cities as well as landlocked cities like Jaipur and Delhi, face multiple risks due to floods, air pollution, rising ambient temperatures and the growth of infectious diseases.
To build resilience in Indian cities, we must promote responsive governance, participatory management, evidence-based and integrated planning and convergence in implementation. Municipalities and local communities and the private sector must collaborate. Thus, resilience poses challenges of scope, scale and depth. As a cross-cutting condition that affects various sectors, it has a wide scope. The large number of cities and the complexities of urban planning and governance add scale to the challenge. The need for localization of know-how and skills in diverse range of cities across multiple regions and cultures poses the challenge of depth.
o The collaborative approach to building resilient cities
NIUA and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100RC have jointly created an ‘Urban Resilience Unit’ to coordinate the intensive efforts required to embed resilience into national and state level policies and programmes. While the Government of India has been promoting the development of resilient and sustainable cities through the Smart City Mission and other initiatives, the urban sector needs the evidence-base, skills, models and good practices on this subject. Indian cities need initial handholding to develop the collaborative platforms — comprising local Governments, education and research institutions, industry and business, civil society and citizens — to undertake in-depth assessments of their risks and vulnerability and to conceive the adaptation strategies they require for the future. NIUA will support Indian cities to frame a response to this need and to initiate necessary actions. We will also link the cities with the appropriate resources in India and abroad that can provide customized and deep engagement as per the city’s unique conditions.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house