URBAN ENVIRONMENT ISSUES
MOBILE TELEPHONY HAZARDS
Mumbai fights the towers that trouble
As studies continue to highlight the potential health hazards posed by cell phones, Mumbai citizens are seen demanding stricter regulation and
removal of cell phone towers from sensitive areas, but authorities respond with half-baked measures.
CNG isn't really the answer
Compressed Natural Gas is by no means a clear cut winner in the race to find a clean burning fuel for our vehicles, writes
Re-imagining public spaces
An innovative new approach to Mumbai's open spaces is an extensive mapping survey. The same approach can be used in other cities too.
Building the Transit Metropolis
As the most significant region yet to be urbanised, India presents a unique opportunity for capturing impacts of urbanisation on the
How Dilawar's box is bringing sparrows back
Specially designed to bring back sparrows and other birds into urban areas,
the nest box is a hit among bird-lovers in many Indian metros and the birds themselves.
No to noise
The courts and the police have cracked down on intense noise from honking in Mumbai's traffic, and the city has recently declared
a big chunk of its territory off-limits to road noise.
REINING IN TRAFFIC
Driving away cars from city centres
With private car ownership in the large cities outpacing population growth, the central government is waking up to the need to introduce traffic
restraint schemes in the metros.
The gift from the sky
Frustrated with the hardness of borewell water, H Ramesh and his family are harvesting rain
in their Mysore house for almost all their domestic uses.
A run on the Yamuna banks
In the name of housing Commonwealth Games participants for a mere 10 days, an exclusive gated community is being established on the Yamuna banks.
Old Port Trust lands on the dock
The Mumbai Port Trust land, three times the size of the cotton mills, could provide vital space for housing and much-needed lung space.
That 'new type' house
A university professor in Shimoga had the fore-sight to make his home nearly autonomous from various public utilities, and alongside do his
part for the environment.
BAMBOO IN HOUSING
New vistas in construction
Has bamboo's time arrived? The high cost of inputs going into conventional
construction is beginning to push more people in the direction of
Is the remaking of Mumbai sustainable?
A self-styled Remaking of Mumbai Federation has
spun out a Rs.60,000 crore plan for redeveloping the city, which
includes housing the urban poor in skyscrapers.
The environmental refugees of Brahmapuram
Recently, disaster struck all 53 families of the Chellipadam village in a Kochi suburb, when nearly 25 lorries,
all carrying stinking garbage from the city rolled in with heavy police escort and dumped decaying garbage
in their midst. The villagers had to flee their homes unable to stand the stench.
M Suchitra and P N Venugopal
The great garbage rush
The belief that slum dwellers convert any structure they are given into another slum is thoroughly disproved in Charkop.
There is clearly a sense of community, and each cluster feels proud to maintain the cleanliness of its surroundings, writes
Hubli's plant doctor
Dr Mahantesh Tapashetti has greened his neighbourhood and surrounding areas in Hubli by
himself. Many residents appreciate his work, and the Forest Department has been happy to support him.
Burning biomass is not green - II
Keeping in mind the characteristics of Indian municipal solid waste,
a Supreme Court committee had recommended composting and recycling.
Still, in our cities and towns, on an average, only 60 per cent of
solid wastes are even collected.
on what is holding better waste management back.
BOOK: TRANSPORT AND POLLUTION
Clearing the air in our cities
Recently published by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment,
The Leapfrog Factor: Clearing the Air in Asian Cities is an excellent
reference on a contentious subject. The book looks at pollution caused by
transport in our cities and the range of environmental, economic,
social and technical solutions available, says
LAND USE PLANNING
Emphasis on mixed use needed
Our organically grown urban areas are very close to being the ideal mixed-land-use places that the West is now attempting
to create. To leverage this phenomenon, there must be incentives to encourage development in the inner cities instead of
in sprawling suburbs, writes
Walk on the road, legally
With the decision to turn an important commercial road in the city into a walking plaza on weekends, Pune is
reaping a healthier urban environment as well as a popular public space.
reports that the early opposition from some quarters has given way, as more people take to the street.
RE-USE, SCALED UP
Turning old into gold
The idea of recycling is not new, but setting up a distribution network to enable scale and
reach the poor, is. Goonj, a New Delhi-based NGO, works through partners in 14 states through
100 agencies. Other, smaller efforts are thriving as well.
Where have all the sparrows gone?
Responses to the disappearances of the common house sparrow have been muted, although the change is clearly a sign of
the extent to which our urban environments have been altered. Monitoring programs would protect the birds, and also
better inform us about our environment.
THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
Still waiting for the green light
The boom in construction has not been accompanied by a higher level of environmental awareness among builders,
architects, developers and planners. But green buildings can be profitable and also demand less from the natural world,
The brave new city?
Increasingly, cities around the world are reshaping themselves to be centres of culture and commerce in ways that are
more global than related to their home nations. As Indian cities too move in that direction,
catches up with a scholar of the evolution of cities, and finds much for Indian planners and city leaders to think about.