policy Archive

  • Stemming corruption

    A friend recently threw out the juicy question of how we can help improve government transparency and accountability in India. Here are my thoughts on how Indian democracy needs improvement towards that end. And raising the ugly head of corruption in this discussion is all too inevitable.

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  • The (Indian) Urban Dictionary

    Urban Planners : There are very few trained urban planners, maybe less than the number of municipal corporations, so urban planning is done by under-trained and under-educated architects or engineers. The urban planner of Pune whom I spoke to told me that he had never seen a major city except Mumbai, not even Delhi. He was coming from a village and did his architecture from a small town, so in his world view,a paved road network was a great stride of urban development. As you know,Pune dreams of being a World Class city attracting people from all over the globe. Studying and seeing global case studies of succesful and failed cities is unimaginable. Remember, the IAS officer who decides which urban plan to go for, gets their inputs from these.

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  • Why Mumbai Needs a Strategic Urban Design/ Ecological Master Plan

    As Mumbai matures and harbors aspirations of becoming a world-class city or an international business center, the City needs to engage in ecological urban design and accountable urban planning. Urban planning is a means to create a citizen-defined vision for the city’s future that is implemented by responsible public and private leaders. Much has been said recently about the need for improving governance of cities in India where there has been little attention paid to the planning or design of cities. Cities throughout history – especially in democracies — evolve from a state of chaos and irresponsible governance (where mostly the interests of the powerful take precedence over the city’s general welfare) — to a progressive state where the better informed and educated citizens demand and receive political accountability for better urban life through effective planning and urban design.

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  • India’s Urban Planning – Chaos theory

    photo credit: bernardoh For the past three years, I have been participating as well as watching the circus of urban planning in Mumbai and have been periodically amused, angered and staggered by the brainlessness of the process and the people. Some observations (broad strokes) 1. The...

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  • The Future of Human Civilization

    The future of the human civilizations is going to be largely defined by the character of its future cities. This is especially important to reflect on at this point in time as humanity reached a special milestone this century by becoming a majority urban species. In 2007, for the very first time in our history, humankind has become a majority urban with more than half of the world’s population living in cities. The phenomenal rate of urban growth, increasing from 13% in the 1900’s to 29% in 1950, reach over 50% this decade.

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  • Expert Diary : Commentators