Monday, July 23, 2012

Failure of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

The first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) opened in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974. BRT has been adopted successfully in many cities around the world, including India. However New Delhi’s BRT is heading for failure for following reasons. It was built for wealthy commuters who prefer to travel by cars, its trial run was badly managed, there was no increase in number of frequencies or buses, there was no linkage to the Metro system and there was no provision for commuter parking lots.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has released a standard, which measures features such as quality of stations, off-board fare collection, median-aligned dedicated bus lanes and at-level boarding to determine the quality of a BRT. This standard should provide necessary guidance to BRT systems around the world.

Reference: Overdorf, Jason, India: Delhi's exorbitant public transport failure, Globalpost, July 19, 2012
The BRT Standard: Version 1.0

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Monday, July 2, 2012

The City of the Future: Part 2

Part 2 of the City of the Future:

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A Vision for Inclusive Cities

India’s urban population will grow from 288 million in 2000 to 590 million in 2030. Such massive urban transformation would require a change in national thinking and resource allocation from its current focus on rural areas to cities. With 2/3rd of GDP coming from the urban areas, there is an economic argument as well.

Inclusiveness is defined as the provision for employment opportunities, a minimum level of basic services, a voice in decision making, an access to common facilities and safety, for all city dwellers. At the present time, those employed in the informal sector make up 2/3rd of the urban population, and are vulnerable to being excluded from the city’s services and infrastructure.

Reference: Inclusive Cities Workshop - June 7-8, 2011 in New Delhi, The World Bank, June 7, 2011
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Monday, June 18, 2012

100 Years as the capital of India

New Delhi celebrated 100 years of its founding as the newly planned capital of India on December 12, 1911.  It was founded by King George V of Britain who relocated the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

The city of New Delhi was built over a period of 20 years based upon a design by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Many villages were razed and hills flattened to create a gleaming jewel for the British Empire.

New Delhi is the eighth city of Delhi. Seven previous empires built their capitals in this ancient city.  New Delhi's history is rich with architectural monuments and legends.

Reference: Ward, Mariellen, Aging gracefully: New Delhi at 100,, December 9, 2011
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New Delhi Food Bank and Distribution Network

India Food Banking Network (IFBN) was launched recently in New Delhi to collect excess food at various parties, functions and wedding receptions, and distribute it to the hungry people in poor neighborhoods. A website has also been created through which people can offer food online and get details about the food bank.

The network is modeled after the World Food Bank which supports a chain of NGOs in 21 countries and feeds around 41 million people each year. Such efforts are critical because hundreds of tones of food is wasted in cities such as New Delhi in the developing world, because they lack efficient food storage and distribution infrastructure. Additional food banks will be setup in other cities in India in the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mega Housing Projects and Residential Towers

Various sectors in NOIDA are experiencing construction of mega housing projects. With the growth in disposable income of IT based young professionals, people are buying flats for living as well as investment. The pace has been rapid, and developers are working hard to come up with projects for different income groups. For example, a development known as Floraville by the Paramount Group in Sector 137 will have a thousand units surrounded by landscaped areas on all sides. The development will feature remote controlled appliances in all homes, solar street lighting, security, surveillance, WiFi connectivity, fire alarm system, intercom, boom barriers and ample parking spaces. The community will have amenities such as a school, a salon, a swimming pool with spa and sauna, a club, a shopping center, health center and retail areas.

A 60 story residential tower known as the North Eye is under construction in sector 74. The price of apartments will range from $ 80,000 (Rs. 40 lakh) to $ 450,000 (Rs. 2.25 Crore).

Here is a brief video on the North Eye:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thoughtful Urban Planning to Combat Greenhouse Gases

Cities are the biggest producers of greenhouse gases, and more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Thoughtful urban planning and well designed urbanization are critical to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gases.

Citing the examples of cities such as New Delhi, Dhaka and Colombo, David Satterthwaite, an urban specialist at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development and editor of the journal Environment and Urbanization states that “Creating a relatively dense structure, putting in place good public transportation systems and ensuring residents can walk or bicycle to many services they need without having to drive or even take public transport.

Sustainable Urban Design for Delhi:

Reference: Goering, Laurie, Careful urban planning can help hold line on emissions – study, Alernet, January 26, 2011
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