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Urban India

Thu 2Oct2014

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New CRZ notification: One step forward, and two back?

Even as the new CRZ notification grants fishing communities the right to redevelop the land on which they live, it lays open coastal lands for other forms of development which will adversely impact their livelihoods, says Kalpana Sharma

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New Delhi: Apartheid city

By Kalpana Sharma

There are chilling parallels between the building of the ‘new’ Delhi by Edward Lutyens exactly 100 years ago and the construction of the global city today. Then as now, the men and women who actually built this increasingly segregated and fissured city have no place in it

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Why public toilets get clogged

The best-designed plans for the building and maintenance of public toilets in India seem to come undone. But the argument that the pay-per-use model popularised by Sulabh is the only workable one is superficial and unrealistic in a country where millions are denied their right to basic services like clean water and sanitation, says Kalpana Sharma

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Conflicting interests: After FIFA and the Commonwealth Games

The questions being asked in South Africa after the FIFA World Cup are similar to those raised in India before, during and after the Commonwealth Games. Who really benefits from these mega events? The people or only the contractors? Transparency International states that public works and construction are the most corrupt sector in the world, says Kalpana Sharma

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Public transport vs personalised transport

The JNNURM initiative, under which the central government funds a substantial part of the costs of city public transport systems, has begun to show some results. The most talked about examples are the Bus Rapid Transport System in Ahmedabad and the public-private partnership in Indore, writes Kalpana Sharma

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Did Mumbai learn nothing from 2005?

By Kalpana Sharma

Although the realisation that Mumbai’s mangroves have to be preserved has sunk in after the disastrous floods of 2005, nothing concrete has been done about it. Now there are plans to build a new airport that, environmentalists say, will result in an estimated 170 hectares of mangroves being destroyed. And the diversion of two rivers

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Motorised mayhem

By Kalpana Sharma

The growth rate of motorised vehicles in India, at 10%, is higher than growth in GDP. India’s National Urban Transport Policy professes to keep people rather than vehicles as its focus. Yet it is private motorised transport that gets all the attention in our metros, not public transport

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Fighting urban fires

By Kalpana Sharma

The urban poor do not worry about earthquakes or floods as much as they do about fires that frequently destroy their inflammable, densely-packed dwellings. In Mumbai, where half the population lives and works from slums, there is no disaster management plan, and only 1,503 fire hydrants out of 10,371 work

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A reprieve for Dharavi

Urban planners have proposed alternative approaches to Dharavi’s redevelopment, which would view Dharavi as a thriving and functioning urban settlement and not as a slum that needs to be flattened and rebuilt. The October assembly elections may just have given Dharavi the breathing space required to discuss these alternatives, writes Kalpana Sharma

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Promoting people's participation in urban governance

By Kalpana Sharma

The 73rd and 74th amendments were supposed to give citizens a direct say in decision-making. While this has begun to happen at the panchayat level, it has not happened with area sabhas in cities. The Nagar Raj Bill is one way to put in place a democratic, bottom-up system of governance for our urban areas

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