At an unidentified but pivotal moment two years ago, Earth’s urban population overtook its rural population for the first time in human history. The UN’s State of the World’s Cities report 2012/2013 underlines that not only did this moment mark the advent of a new urban millennium, but further that seven out of every ten urban residents now inhabit a developing country. We can also call the new millennium the Asian urban century because seven of the world’s 10 most populous cities are already in this region, and include meta-cities like Delhi that boast populations in excess of 20 million people. Unfortunately, the correlation between urbanisation and prosperity has historically varied across regions. What is imperative, the UN report suggests, is that Indian policymakers capitalise on the agglomeration economies associated with urban population growth. Investment in infrastructure helps, with Delhi’s investments helping it win higher scores than Manila and Jakarta in the Infrastructure Index, which is one of the five sub-indexes feeding into the report’s City Prosperity Index. In Delhi, the report recognises, land space devoted to roads is 21%, out-gunning Mumbai’s 11% by many miles and closing in on the 20-30% common in US cities.
But has the Indian capital’s urban planning kept up with wealth creation and vehicular growth? The answer is super important as 91% of the experts lined up by the UN report name traffic congestion as the main form of infrastructure deficiency plaguing cities in Asia. The answer is, no. This pulls down the