Land, Infrastructure and Ecological Sustainability in Indian Cities

Kavita Wankhade and Krishnachandran  Balakrishnan | 17 November 2011


Land is one of the most contested and valuable of natural resources in urban areas. While many of the contestations may be primarily due to its economic value as territory, land is far more than the observable space. Land is an integral part of the urban ecological fabric and is closely linked to the dynamics of other resources like water and energy. The relationship between the nature and intensity of land-use, resource consumption and ecosystem functioning is of critical significance for urban sustainability. Urban spatial patterns which are mostly a result of planning paradigms and decisions, land availability and transportation choices can significantly influence urban resource consumption. This paper first examines broader issues around land, focusing specifically on land cover, land use, and densities, and then examines the inter-linkages between land and the infrastructure sectors of water, energy, and transport.

The paper examines the current literature on Indian cities as well as some key international articles, focusing in particular on identifying the knowledge gaps and next steps for research, practice and policy in this domain.