Keeping Urban Ecosystems Centre Stage in India’s Smart Cities Programme
Harini Nagendra, Bangalore.
July 26, 2015
On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. In 1950, shortly after Indian independence, only 17 percent of the country’s population lived in cities. Today, India’s urban population stands at 33 percent. India contains three of the world’s ten largest cities—Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata—as well as three of the world’s ten fastest growing cities: Ghaziabad, Surat, and Faridabad. In the past two decades, the area covered by Indian cities has expanded by a staggering 250 percent, occupying an additional 5,000 km2 of India’s surface with concrete, asphalt and glass (Nagendra et al., 2013). Projections indicate that more than 50 percent of India’s people will be living in cities by 2050 (United Nations, 2014). This massive urbanization will pose large scale challenges for urban…
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