In a bid to make Indian cities more sustainable, the NITI Aayog on Monday launched a new course on ‘Urban Analytics – Evaluating and Measuring Sustainability of Cities’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee. The course was launched under Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN), a program of Ministry of Human Resource and Development. Addressing the inauguration ceremony at IIT Roorkee, RP Watal, Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog said, “Urban planning and knowledge crusaders I am glad to see this multi-disciplinary gathering of participants from different walks of life, including professionals from government and private organizations, who can put the knowledge to immediate use. I am also concerned about smaller cities and towns which are growing fast and they have no idea of the growth process. Planners need to urgently look into both the megacities and smaller cities.”
Watal further urged the participants to come forward with innovative and context-specific solutions in solving the issues in Indian cities. He also stressed the need to harness the potential of GIS (Geographic Information System) for making Indian cities more sustainable.
Key details of ‘Urban Analytics – Evaluating and Measuring Sustainability of Cities’ course:-
– The course will focus on the challenges faced by cities, which accommodate over half of the world’s population.
– The course will provide students with knowledge and resources to understand the implications of urbanization for sustainable development.
– The course will provide students with the knowledge to appreciate the drivers of urban growth and its uneven impact on different places and peoples.
– The course will evaluate the conditions of sustainability in different urban regions using conceptual and analytical tools.
– The course will critically examine current debates within sustainability as it relates to urban areas and be able to contribute to that debate.
Addressing the conference, Prof AK Chaturvedi, Director IIT Roorkee said that the move will be useful for future development. “It is interesting that we have reached a stage where we can talk about measurement of sustainability. If we can measure sustainability, it would be useful for future development and help the world achieve the goals of SDG 11.”
While Prof. Subhro Guhathakurta, Director, Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization (CSPAV), Georgia Institute of Technology, USA emphasised on the need to develop a spatial data to monitor and maintain with researchers for analysis. “It is not very easy to measure sustainability. But Indian cities lack the very basic resource of data. I have a feeling that there is no spatial data on an Indian city. It is an urgent need to develop spatial data and institutions that maintain, monitor and collaborate with researchers for analysis. This analysis further helps cities to maintain sustainability.”
Prof. M Parida, Dean (Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy) IIT Roorkee has asked for more funding from an organisation like DST. “We need more research funding from organisations like DST, and IIT Roorkee may take the lead in urban planning research and development of research agenda under a dedicated group within DST, ” said Parida.
GIAN is a scheme introduced by the HRD Ministry to boost the higher education in collaboration with International collaboration.