If people start settling like mushrooms, then chaos will grab humanity in a way that is still unknown. Thus, we need urban/town planning for strategizing the settlements so that the new built balances natural resources, cultural needs, community requirements and economic sustainability. Planners must make sure that the physical surroundings support the growth of vivacious communities. The urban areas are constantly expanding due to social and economic changes.
“Planning is concerned with relationships between society and space; being integrative; managing processes of change through deliberate and positive action; involving the allocation of limited resources; and requiring appropriate administrative and legal frameworks for implementing actions.”
- The Quality Assurance Agency For Higher Education’s Subject Benchmark Statement for Town and Country Planning (UK)
We know that the developed countries of Europe have a history of structured town planning that goes back a few centuries, and the contemporary pattern is an evolutionary form of the then architecture. After the industrial revolution, the governments of the developed countries have tried to intervene in the planning process for several reasons – military control, health issues, or social compliance; the aim was to control the use of land and keep a check on the developing process.
In India, it had been particularly difficult because urban planning was never an agenda in the development plan of the Indian government. Indian politicians firmly believed that most of the Indians live in villages, so that vote politics always focused on wooing the villagers. And today, when we talk about smart cities, it has become hard to dislocate people and then locate them in a sustainable way. Also, the low-income group families and migrants continue to live in a disorganized setup. The actual gap is created as the planners allot spaces for a small percentage of people but they remain unoccupied, as they are unable to create a desire among the masses.
Commercial urban planning of India is also at a disadvantageous stage. Umpteen malls are standing unoccupied due to lack of infrastructure or inappropriate location. At this stage, India cannot afford to lose space and inventory on, but rather should be concentrating on filling up the gap with urgency. Talking about other infrastructural planning, India has practically no commute system for cyclists or pathways. Hospitals, schools, and colleges are aligned near highways which questions the security of patients and students.
The truth is, we are still not realising the importance of urban planning that ensures a safe, healthy and hygienic environment for its inhabitants. Urban planning has to be futuristic considering the pace at which technology is growing. While we cannot dismantle the establishment and start afresh, at least we can initiate the process.