Neighborhood Audit: Yaletown


Green Cities:Urbanization Agendas

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.

Problems of Urban Delhi

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.

Challenges faced by a rapidly Urbanizing India

The biggest challenge facing the rapidly urbanizing India is the “Redistribution of available urban resources” for better social and economic development

  • To make modification in land use that adapts to future growth so that the new development does not seem haphazard.
  • To integrate the socio-cultural values with the built form for urban character. Especially in culturally diverse set up like India.
  • To assimilate modern transport systems with the urban built form keeping in mind the rapid growth of urban population.
  • Sensitive amalgamation of old and the new keeping in mind the polity of right to co-exist.
  • To be able to predict the increase in population density correctly and provide them with the basic amenities.
  • Pump in of infrastructural requirements that shall be have to meet with the extra inflow of migrants from the surrounding areas.
  • Safety and security of the newly expanded town.



The new brain wave that seems to be the best solution to the density problem of this part of East Asia is going vertical. Focusing on creating a housing structure that would not only meet the needs of Indians looking for adequate housing, but to create a vertical city equipped with all the public spaces and resources needed to give way to a comfortable living environment and lively social pole.

The  goal of this very exercise is to breathe a higher level of quality into the design – as opposed to other developments which focus on efficiency over comfort. The studio to villa size apartments will be  designed according to an analysis of modern Indian housing standards, featuring cascading balconies and emphasizing naturally ventilated service spaces. Projects like these  introduce lost qualities to mass-housing: increased density combined with amenities, public facilities, parks and a mix of inhabitants.

The success of this new building type depends on the level at which it may be implemented and the possible government  support that it may find. Most urban planners agree that this might be a drastic measure  but a successful measure to deal with the growing density. If this concept of construction is to catch on this shall be a defining moment of urban renewal in India as a country all together.