Urbanization Current Affairs
The World Cities Day is observed every year across the world on 31st October to work together for planned and sustainable urban life in the wake of rapid growth of population and problems.
The observance of this day aims to promote international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The global observation of 2018 World Cities Day was celebrated in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
2018 Sub-theme: ‘Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities’. It aims to highlight importance to support cities to become resilient and develop their capacity to absorb impact of hazards, protect and preserve human life and limit damage to and destruction of public and private assets while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after crisis.
The World Cities Day was established by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 68/239 in December 2013. This day was constituted in recognition of significance of urban basic services as foundation for overall social and economic development. The general theme of World Cities Day is “Better City, Better Life”, to promote successes of urbanization and address specific challenges resulting from urbanization, while each year different sub-theme is selected to either promote successes of urbanization or to address specific challenges resulting from urbanization. The first World Cities Day is celebrated in Shanghai, China on 31 October 2014 under sub-theme “Leading Urban Transformations”.
The Union Urban Development Ministry has formulated ‘National Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy’ to address the challenges of urbanisation.
The policy framework aims to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors like the Metros, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors.
- Under the new Metro policy, TOD has been made mandatory and also an essential reform under the green urban mobility scheme and given priority for receiving central assistance.
- The Union Government already has notified the TOD policy in early 2015, however, there was no clarity on the process for management of open spaces, various sanctions, parking space, water requirement, etc.
- Under it, States/UTs are required to incorporate TOD in their master plans and development plans of cities besides identifying ‘influence zones’ from transit corridors for tapping revenue streams.
- The central TOD policy will help the states to develop an in-depth understanding of the symptoms and causes of the challenges currently faced by Indian cities.
- Besides, urban design and planning in the form of TOD, is being incentivised by the ministry under two more initiatives viz., Metro policy and green urban mobility scheme.
- Development or redevelopment in TOD zone will be incentivised by providing significantly higher floor area ratio (FAR). It will enable vertical construction that is required to address shortage of land availability.
- It also promotes integration of land use planning with transportation and infrastructure development to avoid long distance travel in cities through compact development.
- The policy will be financed by channelising a part of increases in property values resulting from investments in transit corridors through betterment levies and value capture financing tools.
- Increased private sector participation will result in economic development and employment generation.
TOD at present is being taken up Ahmedabad, Karkardooma in Delhi, Nagpur, Naya Raipur and Navi Mumbai. It is significant in the context that over 300 km of Metro lines being operational in seven cities. Another 600 kms of metro line projects are under construction in 12 cities and over 500 km projects under consideration. The Union Government also has supported bus rapid transit system (BRTS) projects in 12 cities which are under different stages of progress. Eight more cities are set to take up BRT projects. Mass rail transit system of 380 km length is also being taken up in Delhi.