Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

India’s Suburban Transformation

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According to the 2011 Population Census data, urban India grew by 90 million people in the previous decade. During this period, 2774 new towns were born with over 90% of the new towns belonging to the category of census towns. Census towns are defined as places that satisfy the following three criteria:

  1. a minimum population of 5,000
  2. at least 75% of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits, and
  3. a density of population of at least 400 per sq. km.

An estimated one-third of these new towns are located in close proximity to India’s large cities (in a 50 km neighbourhood of million-plus cities). These suburbs occupying just 1% of India’s land area provide about 18% of the country’s employment. These statistics provide staggering evidence of India’s rapid suburbanization in the previous decade. Places situated on the edge of India’s cities like Sriperambudur near Chennai, Noida and Gurgaon near Delhi, and Raigarh near Mumbai have witnessed rapid growth.

A World Bank report titled ‘Urbanization beyond Municipal Boundaries’ investigates the cause of this phenomenon characterising India’s urbanisation. The report presents evidence of the stagnation of India’s metropolitan cores. As the figure shows, the metropolitan cores of India’s seven largest cities saw a decline in employment over 1998-2005 while the peripheral towns and villages witnessed rapid growth in high-technology manufacturing, real estate and other manufacturing sectors. While suburbanisation is a common phenomenon in most urbanising countries, what makes India’s predicament particularly worrying is that it is occurring at a relatively early stage of India’s urban development.

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Also read on our Cities blog:

Arts and the City

Excerpt:Outside is where art should live, amongst us. And rather than street art being a fad, maybe it’s the last 1,000 years or art history that are the blip, when art came inside in service of the church and institutions. But art’s rightful place is on the cave walls of our communities, where it can act as a public service, provoke debate, voice concerns, forge identities. The world we live in today is run, visually at least, by traffic signs, billboards and planning committees. But is that just it? Don’t we want to live in a world made by art, not just decorated by it?

So signed off Banksy, the elusive street-artist, from his month long residency in New York with this message having Frank Sinatra’s New York New York hauntingly playing in the background. His experiment garnered tremendous attention, almost frenzy, leaving people wondering whether he was a jerk or genius? Mr. Bloomberg though is clearly not a fan.

Urban Diary – Interesting reads

Our compilation of interesting news and views on urbanisation from across the world.

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