Challenges of Urban Growth in Himalaya with Reference to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Mitigation: A Case of Nainital Town in Kumaon Middle Himalaya, India

  • Prakash C. Tiwari
  • Bhagwati Joshi


Himalaya is the most rapidly urbanizing mountains of the world where the process of urban growth has been fast, but mostly unplanned and unregulated. During the recent decades, Himalaya has experienced rapid urbanization mainly in response to population growth, improved road connectivity, development of tourism and economic globalization. As a result, urbanization has emerged as one of the important drivers of land use and environmental changes depleting natural resources and biodiversity, and disrupting natural drainage and ecosystem services; and increasing vulnerability of anthropogenically modified slopes to a variety of natural risks, particularly under climate change. The paper analyzes the emerging threats of unplanned urban growth in the densely populated Middle Himalayan Ranges with a case illustration of Nainital Town located in Uttarakhand. It was observed that the rapid urbanization is increasing the susceptibility of intensively modified and densely populated fragile slopes to the active processes of mass movement and landslides. Moreover, the rapidly changing climatic conditions, particularly the climate change induced hydrological extremes are posing severe threats to the sustainability of fast-growing urban ecosystem by increasing the frequency, intensity and severity of geo-hydrological hazards in the town and its surrounding region. The city development plan and also the state disaster risk reduction framework and climate change adaptation plan did not make any provision for addressing the emerging risks of climate change in Nainital and other towns of Uttarakhand. A comprehensive climate change vulnerability assessment and mapping of the town should be carried taking into account all the critical parameters of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of urban ecosystem involving a range of institutions and stakeholders.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prakash C. Tiwari
    • 1
  • Bhagwati Joshi
    • 2
  1. 1.Kumaun UniversityNainitalIndia
  2. 2.Department of GeographyGovernment Post Graduate CollegeRudrapurIndia

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