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Pune, one of the most progressive cities in India, has played a significant role in pioneering urban planning.
It is known for its active citizen participation in the city’s growth. The city has transformed over the years, from an education hub to an auto industries hub, and now an IT hub. This has resulted in migration, increase in population and expansion of city limits. In the future, the city is expected to expand further with addition of 23 surrounding villages and will probably become the largest city of Maharashtra in terms of size.
Like other Indian cities, Pune faces many challenges such as uncontrolled growth, continuous migration, pressure on urban environment, institutional complexity, etc. The city administration tries to resolve these issues with the use of technology, capital works, internal resources, and the organization’s internal capabilities. Sustainability and resilience are two key concepts that need to be built in for holistic development.
The resilience strategy process should focus on three key areas considering the current pattern of development and the future growth of the city. These three areas are – need for improvement in urban mobility, focus on urban environment including water body management, and preservation of biodiversity; and identify ways to improve employment opportunities and skills especially in the informal sector. The informal sector plays a very important role in the city’s overall economy and will be given access to various services in an affordable manner.
Citizen involvement is very crucial in the resilience building process in these areas. The strategy should emphasize on citizen engagement and developing Information Education and Communication strategies to effectively implement various actions. This will help in achieving the city’s vision of citizens involved and supported resilient growth.
As Pune’s population and urban spread increases, three broad spatial patterns emerge – a congested core of historic significance, medium density neighbourhoods that surround the core, and rapidly urbanizing peri-urban areas with governance deficit, witnessing haphazard township developments proximate to large employment centres.
The rapid urbanization following the booming economic opportunities in the region, with no institutions mandated to foresee and predictively plan and monitor these services, have accentuated environmental as well as infrastructural stresses of mobility and affordable housing. For example, there is no single authority or process that oversees the convergence of works by the traffic dept, road dept, public bus & metro mobility services. Similarly housing adequacy is not measured or comprehensively planned for.
The development plans only cover land-use in their scope, and therefore integration of mobility, environment, economic development is overlooked, causing uneven and unsustainable growth. As the 34 surrounding villages get incorporated into PMC over the next few years, nearly doubling its footprint, it is imperative to guide growth and to ensure that the citizen experience across the region is equitable along various development parameters. Enhancing citizen engagement and promoting social cohesion, especially in areas populated with new migrants (both high-income professionals and livelihood-seeking populace) will make these communities more resilient.
Key objectives include:
- Promote integrated development planning in Pune urban region
- Strengthen low carbon & shared mobility services in Pune urban region
- Ensure access to safe, secure, adequate & affordable housing for all
- Strengthen pathways for democratic decision-making & civic participation in local area planning
Valued for its climate and access to natural environment, Pune has been experiencing severe degradation of its ecological resources. Ecosystem benefits are often considered extraneous and devalued in development planning and infrastructure creation. Degradation or destruction of the natural environment, as well as introduction of invasive alien elements, can result in exacerbation of extreme weather events, flash floods, landslides and spread of disease. Further, sections of the urban poor population, and certain migrant communities, have direct dependencies on natural resources.
The overarching issue is to mainstream environmental thinking within the governments in the Pune metropolitan region. The focus is currently on compliance with environmental standards, and instead needs to be proactive environmental planning that recognizes the role natural assets play in making the city resilient, and the lives of people safer, healthier and enriched.
The objective of this pillar is on solutions that broadly institutionalize environmental planning while building capacities across departments within the PMC, and in the PMR, to better manage the natural resources in the city. The knowledge, capacities and efforts of different civil society and community groups are valuable resources to enhance environmental planning and conservation. Enabling structures and processes to enhance public participation in environment conservation are also a focus of this pillar, that intersects with pillar 1.
Key objectives include:
- Enhance environmental governance & community stewardship
- Study, monitor & proactively plan for ecosystem benefits
- Promote circular economy through waste management
Post independence, Pune has been one of the most dynamic urban economies in India. This was due to its proximity to Mumbai and the western coastline, legacy of cooperatives, industrial growth driven by MIDC* (especially in automotive manufacturing) and high human capital (education/skills) level as a result of being an educational hub. These factors also allowed Pune to take part in India’s IT boom.
The region’s economy is rooted in diverse industry clusters of auto components, locomotives, agro-based products, electronic consumer durables, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and IT software among others. However, recent data/trends suggest that some of the traditional drivers of Pune’s economic dynamism, especially low-skills manufacturing and IT/ITes, are in decline/ evolving and there is a risk that Pune will not be able to compete, provide jobs/livelihoods and meet the aspirations of its young educated population. The adverse impact is more severe in the informal sector, with a majority facing multi-dimensional poverty.
In conclusion, for Pune to leverage its strengths, there is a need for the city to develop sectors beyond IT and auto industry, especially those that generate high employment but also absorb the city’s skilled graduates. Pune has the potential to transform itself from being just an educational hub to also being a regional centre of critical research and innovation. However, for the economy to be truly resilient for all, multiple stresses faced by the most vulnerable workers in the city need to be addressed to capitalize on the potential of its citizens.
Key objectives include:
- Boost Pune’s economy through skilling and support for business
- Ensure every individual in Pune has the opportunity to work in dignity
- Promote Pune as a centre for innovation by focusing on creativity, research and development