South Asia » India » Kolkata

Harnessing Kolkata metropolitan explosion
  Kolkata urban town planning Metropolitan Strategic Plan
  India Challenge
India is expecting 360 million people to move from rural to urban in the next 20 years. That is 50.000 every day. Thus the need to build 12.000 homes every single day for the next 20 years. Is India providing adequate land every day to accommodate these needs?

Growth rates of Indian Metropolises range from 11% annual to 7% or 5%, the lowest Mumbai 3 %. 11% growth means doubling every 7 years. Pune, such is the case, has to twofold every 7 years. A challenge Government is not being able to handle. Mumbai, with its 3 % growth rate, requires to double every 23 years: a task beyond Government’s capacity.

This challenge affects more than 50 metropolises in India beyond a million inhabitants. The 164 million inhabitants of these cities will become 400 million in 20 years. Building New Towns (or ‘Smart Cities’) cannot respond to those daily 50.000 figures. Actual problems have to be addressed in actual cities instead of running away into non-performing promises. A real solution is required as social inequity and social unrest is not an acceptable outcome. Inability to do so will affect India for many decades (even centuries) to come.

Two examples: New Delhi and Kolkata
Among the six largest Indian Metropolises we are going to focus in Delhi and Kolkata.
How to cope with growth figures? How to address the issue? How to allocate uses? Where to provide land? How to build infrastructures?
In both cases of New Delhi and Kolkata we can analyze and determine the metropolitan structure providing for the correct location of urban expansion, natural protection, infrastructure provision and productive allocation.

- New Delhi has a four-corner-post very strong structure that can be developed to manage and provide for growth. This structure can be developed into precise urban scale implementable projects proposals. All of them within a consistent, most needed, development pattern.
- Kolkata is more linear due to the river strong impact and wetlands difficulties. Reinforcing the efficient linearity and opening up transversal potentials within an existing mass transit system might be the strongest solution.

This approach can be developed for other metropolitan explosive areas in India. It’s up to Government to show its leadership capacity.
Building New Towns (or ‘Smart Cities’) cannot respond to those daily 50.000 figures. Actual problems have to be addressed in actual cities instead of running away into non-performing promises.