Sustainable Cities in India: A Governance Challenge

  • Bharat H. DesaiEmail author
  • Balraj K. Sidhu
  • Nitu Kumari
Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP, volume 2018)


The unsustainable pattern of development around the world comprises growing urbanization that has posed a serious governance challenge. In the process of satisfying the greed of human “progress,” the resources of the earth are fast deteriorating. The city-centric model of development in the global south, particularly in rapidly growing economies like India and China, have caused unmanageable migration of people from rural to urban areas. At the same time, it cannot also be denied that cities have become a confined means to provide a better standard of life and means of livelihood. The responsibility rests on the approach of the governments, which instead of merging the distinction between rural and urban areas in terms of standard of life has tended to focus more on the growth of cities. The rapid process of urbanization and growth of cities in a country such as India has resulted in problems of sustainability as most of the expanding city spaces have sought to gobble up huge chunks of land, as well as try to grapple with varied problems of environment, health, inequality, urban chaos, and persistent poverty, notwithstanding recent efforts to imbibe ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targeted focus to turn select metropolitan areas to “smart cities.” The chapter seeks to throw light on some of the issues, with a focus on India, arising from the drive of urbanization leading to governance challenge, the working of international instruments, as well as domestic policies and institutional mechanisms in India designed to make cities more livable even as they explode with population migration driven by concentration of modern amenities, glitter, and better living standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bharat H. Desai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Balraj K. Sidhu
    • 2
  • Nitu Kumari
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for International Legal Studies, SIS, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of TechnologyKharagpurIndia

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