India urgently requires resilient and empowered cities
Image credit: Mint
By Shilpa Kumar
Cities across the world contribute about 80% of global gross domestic product. They are drivers of growth and dense labour marketplaces. However, recent developments have highlighted the severe economic, humanitarian and ecological repercussions of the unbalanced and unbridled growth of urban spaces.
This ‘cost’ of urban growth is evident in floods that occur in several parts of India. Unbalanced development has made cities more vulnerable to environmental shocks that get more frequent and intense. A World Resources Institute India report notes temperature rise and flooding as two key risks to Mumbai, whose municipal commissioner has highlighted the possibility of 70-80% submergence of key parts of the city by 2050.
The pandemic itself threw light on the implications of a systemic health shock—an exodus of city residents who moved to the safety of their homes. This mass movement of labour paralysed industrial units, apart from civic and other services in cities.
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