India is projected to add 300 million new urban residents by 2050 and it will need to build climate-friendly cities to address the challenge of accommodating the needs of the growing population, a UN report has said.
The first ‘World Cities Report 2016 – Urbanisation and Development: Emerging Futures’ report by UN Habitat said in India, urban areas already contribute more than 60 per cent of the GDP and an extra 300 million new urban residents are projected by 2050, leading to a call by the Indian government to build 100 new cities over the period.
“The attendant amount of additional greenhouse gases would have consequences on climate change. The alternative, if challenging, is to build denser, low-infrastructure, low- energy cities,” the UN human settlement program report said.
The report said that central to this challenge are the twin bottlenecks of municipal finance and infrastructure finance for transport, electricity, communications, water supply and sanitation in support of production.
Large South-Asian countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan feature massive, expanding urban populations in mega- cities such as Dhaka, Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi and Lahore as well as in growing number of secondary cities, it said.
“In face of the daunting magnitude of projected urban demographic growth over the next 20 years, accommodating the needs of these populations through planned city extensions is going to be a challenge,” it said.
The global smart city market will grow by 14 per cent annually, from 506.8 billion dollars in 2012 to 1.3 trillion dollars in 2019, according to estimates.
Over the next two decades, city governments in the US will invest approximately 41 trillion dollars to upgrade their infrastructure and take advantage of the Internet of Things while India plans to build 100 smart cities in response to the country’s growing population and pressure on urban infrastructure.
“In order to realise the potential of ICT towards sustainable development, an enabling environment has to be created, with participatory governance models, the right infrastructure and technical platforms, including capacity building, ensuring inclusion and bridging the digital divide,” the UN report said.