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India’s Eco-city? Environment, urbanisation and mobility in the making of Lavasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)982-996
JournalENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING C
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
Published1 Jan 2012

King's Authors

Abstract

In a context of rapid urbanisation in the Global South the potential of ecocities to provide sustainable development is hotly debated within academic and policy circles. This paper will contribute to this debate by referring to Lavasa, India's largest planned ‘hill city’, a fifth of the size of Mumbai. Mentioned in the influential McKinsey report as an emerging global city, Lavasa, the first ‘sustainable’ city developed in the Mumbai—Pune region, attempts to deal with urbanisation, environment, and migration in very particular ways. Yet, it has been riddled with controversies since its inception, and construction has been interrupted by the courts a number of times for alleged environmental violations. Using Lavasa as an example, I will examine the rise and rise of ecocities in India through their legal and policy context. I will argue that future ecocities in India run the danger of prioritising economic development over environmental sustainability in the absence of strong legal enforcement and monitoring of environmental performance. I conclude that strong environmental policy framing and regulation are crucial in this context if new planned cities in India are to have any potential in addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation and sustainable development.

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