How far can unplanned development undermine a wonderful city? so much so that it almost becomes an official model of how not to run a city.
Bengaluru, India’s tech hub and one of the country’s most vibrant cities, has seen such haphazard development in recent decades that the Supreme Court of India now sees it as a warning to other Indian cities.
On January 10, the court urged India’s federal and state governments to prioritize environmental protection over urban development. It heard a petition from residents of the northern city of Chandigarh against the administration’s practice of converting individual houses into apartments.
“Legislature, executive, and policymakers should pay due attention to Bengaluru’s warning,” said a two-judge bench. “It is high time to do an EIA (environmental impact assessment) for such a development before urban development is allowed.”
Chandigarh, located approximately 250 kilometers north of Delhi, is one of the eight Union Territories of India directly administered by the Union Government. It is also the legislative and administrative capital of two neighboring states, Punjab and Haryana.
Designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and opened in 1953, Chandigarh was one of India’s earlier planned cities and the foundation of the newly independent nation. In 2016, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the Supreme Court of India wants to stop this iconic city from going the way of Bengaluru.
Bengaluru’s reputatiocn has fallen.
Bangalore, a city of 12 million people, was one of India’s largest urban centers until it was renamed in 2001. Its reputation as a global technology center was built on the back of the huge economic boom of the 1990s. But the city has become unrecognizable in the last decade and a half.
Once known for its mild weather and beautiful gardens, Bengaluru’s transformation has taken its toll on its ecology. Its trees were felled en masse and often accidentally, and many lakes disappeared or were heavily polluted.
In 1961, there were 262 lakes and reservoirs in and around it. However, satellite images taken in 2003 showed only 18 clearly defined images. “However, his neighborhood has grown by 584% growth in the last four decades. The result: the dry city’s daily water supply depends on thousands of tankers.
Traffic in the city has also become a byword for bad management. A study conducted a decade ago revealed that more than $6 billion in man-hours were lost as a result of IT workers being stuck on congested roads for so long.
When the city’s IT boom began, the term “Bangalore” described how work lost in the West was outsourced to India. Now, “Bengaluru” could well withstand the thoughtless destruction of a prosperous city.