Notes on urban prosperity

Source: The post is based on thearticle “Notes on urban prosperity” published in Business Standardon 23rdMarch 2023.

Syllabus: GS 1 –Urbanization

Relevance: problems with Urbanization

News:The article discusses the problems with urbanization and measures that can be adopted to make urban cities prosper.

What are the problems with urbanisation?

Cities have become an important point of change, growth and provide creative solutions to national agendas as well as regional and global development.

However, long-term sustainable urban prosperity has been reduced by insufficient planning, absence of effective governance and legal frameworks, unstable institutions, and the absence of a credible monitoring system.

Hence, the economic benefits of a city such as rise in the price of land and assets cannot be utilized well until the gains of urbanisation and value generated are not redistributed among citizens equitably.

According to the UN-Habitat’s World Cities Report (Envisaging the Future of Cities), a vision of fair “urban futures” cannot be realized unless we adopt inclusive and decisive efforts toward sustainable solutions to urban difficulties.

Must Read: India@100: What’s ahead for urbanisation?

What measures can be adopted to bring urban prosperity?

Cities’developments are mostly looked at in terms of GDP. However, its measure must be directed towards making urban environments more resilient so that urban prosperity comes in line with sustainable goals.

Some of the efforts taken in this direction are – the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Further, creating urban resilience is a multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder process that requires more intensive actions.

Therefore, to realize the positive vision of urban futures, ambition must be shifted from gradual urban transitions to large urban changes along with bridging the gap between ambitious city visions and action plans to achieve the goals.

However, it is also necessary to recognize, measure, and operationalize urban resilience gaps and policies for proper administration. These need to be addressed by the various local government units.

For measuring such parameters, the City Resilience Index (CRI) might be useful. It was created with the intention that all member cities will adopt and use it as a tool to track changes in overall resilience over time.

Further, in order to create a climate-resilient world, urban economic activity should be made in such a way that it promotes renewable energy, circular economic activity, and green employment.

The various forms of capital (natural, sociocultural, human, economic, and physical) should be handled through systemic thinking that promotes fairness, justice, co-production, governance, and regeneration.

What can be the way ahead?

Rapid urbanization has resulted in the growth of outer urban areas in the shape of megacities, hyper cities, that are inefficient in terms of energy usage, environmental sustainability, and economic performance.

Therefore, there is a need for a more comprehensive approachwhich addressesa)the pillars of sustainable development by emphasizing the economic role of cities in national growth and recognizing the economic possibilities they provide and b)global environmental challenges like climate change, unsustainable energy consumption, and water scarcity to ensure ease of living for its people.

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