|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon
Course Coordinator and Team: Dr.Shailaja Menon
Email of course coordinator: shailaja[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
Aim: India has a history of urbanisation since ancient times. The most well known examples are of the city-settlements of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro which date back to the Indus Valley civilisation. Archaeological evidence reveals the high level of urban planning that existed in the cities of the Indus Valley. The settlements had clearly demarcated public and private areas, streets laid out in grids, as well as an extensive and sophisticated system of drainage and waste removal. These are arguably the earliest “planned” urban settlements in the world.
Cities and urban areas have since set the foundation of modern civilisation – they have proved to be the engines of economic growth, and the centres of innovation, culture, knowledge and political power. Cities are known to be places where money, services and wealth are centralized. Cities are where fortunes are made and where social mobility is possible. Businesses, which generate jobs and capital, are usually located in urban areas. Whether the source is trade or tourism, it is also through the cities that foreign money flows into a country. Due to their high populations, urban areas can also have much more diverse social communities allowing others to find people like them when they might not be able to in rural areas.
The process of urbanization entails tremendous pressure on the scarce natural resources leading to violent conflicts and environmental degradation. Sustainable urbanisation is a process by which urban settlements contribute to environmental sustainability in the long term. Such urbanisation would require conservation of non-renewable resources, mass-scale deployment of renewable resources, and a reduction in the energy-use and waste-production per unit of output/consumption. Moreover, the pattern of urban growth should facilitate a fair distribution of resources, both within the present generation and between present and future generations. Finally, we need to be aware at all times that environmentally sustainable cities must also be vibrant economic and social agglomerations – environmental sustainability is meaningless in an economic/social wasteland.
The broad themes of this course are as follows: