Cities are today seen as hubs of production , consumption and waste generation. Modern theorists believe that as cities grow so does there environmental footprint. The last decade has seen drastic changes in climatic conditions and most of this is attributed towards urbanization. While the growing urban density is adversely affecting the modern city’s environmental impact, efforts need to be made to make the cities green. While the increase is population does have a lot to do with the adverse effects on the physical environment the same density enables the re-use of resources. While water and waste management if planned and implemented properly will have a positive impact on the environment. The strengthening of the Public Transportation system will positively impact the environment by reducing the emission and fuel use.
Taking the case of modern Indian cities, the increase in the urban density has had a positive impact on the housing industry. The same impact that should have been seen in the development of other recreational spaces and public transportation. While this seems to be missing thus putting a strain on the environment.
It is important for us as architects and planners to help plan city growth in such a way that the environment is not adversely effected. As we all know that this growth is inevitable and unalterable but growth can be planned .The sooner we understand the responsibility we have to shoulder the less we will have to lose. Cities need to be greener and walkable, the sooner we stop fighting this theory the lesser the ecological strain. There is a need to break away from the current Indian urbanization trajectory before it is too late.
Delhi is seen as one of the greenest Capitals in the world, this urban center has a lot of development due in terms of its urbanization policy. It might be the Political, Social, Economic and Cultural capital of the country but there is a lot that has to be worked upon before Delhi can be declared a “Mega City”. Even though it is a powerful center in more than one way, it still has a predominantly rural society that consists of immigrants. Urbanization here has been slow and characterized by a rural push. Here concentration of population and activities is dictated by the local location of industry.
The cityscape has not taken well to the population influx and is at a point of implosion. The growth of the city cannot be characterized as a planned strategy. While the city is no longer pedestrian friendly, walkablity is something that the local city planners are striving to achieve. Calling Delhi a Pedestrians Nightmare would not be wrong in anyway. Which means that public transportation has to bear the brunt of this urban design matrix to make it livable. Though the public transport system is working on almost full throttle it fails to support the load of the majority of the population. While the Delhi metro has made life easier for many, it has spoiled the cityscape forever.
While the political power at the center can be proud of keeping Delhi the low rise capital of the world in spite its economic growth, this policy does make sense as Delhi is scattered with heritage sites and monuments. Though many plans were floated to link most of these sites with a walking trail so as to pedestrianize the city very little has come through with time. Ambitious projects like the “Nalha Project” by Architect Manit Rastogi haven’t seen the light of the day yet. Young Planners and Architects are striving to make the capital a better place to call home.