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Self-Sustainable Integrated Township: A Resource- Based Planning to Improve the Quality of Urban Life


India is one of the fastest growing and largest emerging economies (World Bank Group 2016) in the world. It has the largest rural population (857 million) in the world, but this is expected to lessen by 52 million people as urban areas anticipate an increase in population. Nearly half of the total population in India will be living in cities by 2050 (World Urbanization Prospects: 2014 Revision); the proportion is currently almost one-third. The recent pace of urbanization in India is driven by the augmentation of the service sector, which has led to unplanned and informal growth of urban areas. Urbanization in India is confronted with typical challenges and unique opportunities. Urban expansion of traditional Indian cities, with a compact built-up form (KPMG 2013) and low-rise development, means cities have run out of land, water, and energy, and are sprawling, making them difficult to manage logistically. Contemporary Indian cities depict an amalgamation of traditional and colonial compositions, sprawling with a lack of systematic city and regional planning that leads to unplanned suburbs. Urban planning in India from independence up to the early twenty-first century has not been able to envisage long-term planning or understand how inhabitants and the surroundings will interact as a whole in the future. Agricultural areas surrounding cities are adversely affected by advancement in urban lifestyles. On the other hand, integrated townships can be a potential solution to the excess pace of urbanization through a focus on sustainable urban development.

The concept of smart cities envisages private townships (Ministry of Urban Development 2015b) as sustainable urban centers offering economies of scale in providing employment opportunities close to residential areas. Integration of site-sustainable infrastructure such as water, sewage, and waste management systems can address numerous environmental problems.

Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in 2005-2012 by the Government of India (GoI), has continued under the new name Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and, along with the Smart Cities and Housing for All missions, facilitates a modern emphasis on integrated planning and development. The integrated township exemplifies the approach of integrated planning through micro-level planning, maximizing short-term actions, and considering long-term sustainability. Township development is a paradigm shift to urban land-use planning focusing on mixed-use development and the integration of land use with transportation (Schoeman, 2015) for better urban mobility and resource efficiency.

UN-Habitat (2014) suggests five principles with three key features, namely, compact, integrated, and connected to address rapid urbanization issues such as urban sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution, mobility challenges, urban poverty, and social inequality. The five principles, namely, high density, mixed land-use character, social mix, limited land-use specialization, and adequate space for road networks together achieve the objective of sustainability and sustainable development.

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