, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 442–457 | Cite as

Urbanisation and greening of Indian cities: Problems, practices, and policies

  • Aabshar U. K. ImamEmail author
  • Uttam Kumar Banerjee


Progress of the Indian economy is threatened by the impact of climate change. Generation of urban heat islands (UHIs), waning of urban green cover, increase in carbon emissions and air pollution deteriorate the living environment. Rise in urban temperatures and heat stress induced mortality remain major concerns. Although the National Action Plan on Climate Change emphasises the national missions of ‘enhanced energy efficiency’, and ‘green India’, little research has been devoted to explore the passive cooling potential of urban greenery in India, thus lending uniqueness to this study. The manifestations of unplanned urban development (UHIs, escalated carbon emissions, air pollution) are discussed and corroborated with identification of contributory factors. Contemporary greening practices and bye-laws in four major Indian cities (New Delhi, Pune, Chennai, and Visakhapatnam) are analysed and compared with global best practices. The findings are used to propose planning guidelines which are expected to assist in consolidating natural sustainability of emerging economies.


India Urbanisation Urban greening Trees Passive Cooling Urban heat islands 



We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions which have helped in improving the quality of the manuscript.


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© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture & Regional PlanningIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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