Friday, 9 April 2010

views, counter views on mega cities and multicultralism..

To add to the view point I mentioned in the previous blog..coincidentally, I came across an article in TOI editorial of yesterday about UN report which Predicts transition from Metropolises to Mega regions and is an extension to that random thought that I just pondered on.

The article is about views and counter views of mega regions..
Times view quotes:
"From cities to metropolises to mega regions – contiguous areas of urban development that often include multiple cities with extensive economic and transport links – is a natural progression...Linking contiguous centres of economic activity can limit inequality. Labour mobility between these centres means that supply and demand come into play over a wider region, levelling wage scales. And given that transportation costs are still a factor, the dense linkages within a mega region can situate consumers and suppliers closer to each other, thus cutting down on those costs and boosting economic efficiency even more."
Like how Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad have developed, delhi-NCR have developed etc..

Counter view quotes:
"We only need to look at our mega cities to imagine what even bigger units are likely to become. Too many people are packed into too little space. There is a premium on space and intense competition to own and hoard space. The economics of space in these cities is unsustainable because it is dependent on a never-ending supply of energy. Mega regions need to be built vertically to accommodate its residents...When communities are smaller in size, it becomes easier to use resources more efficiently. Better resource management will help reduce social and economic inequality. Decentralised urbanisation will also help to preserve and promote diversity of culture, landscape, food etc.
This point in turn supports the point that I raised of curtailing the growth of mega city and promoting growth and city size which is more sizeable and manageable in a subtle way..

More over I came across UN-Habitat site which quotes of the report on celebrating Multicultural cities.. which is also supplementing my previous view point..
Few of the excerpts :
"new multiculturalism that has the potential to broaden the cultural and ethnic dimensions of cities. However, it notes that some cities have been unable to cope with multiculturalism, which has generated increasing xenophobia and ethnic tensions. It therefore calls on local governments to help create harmonious and inclusive multicultural cities by combating xenophobic ideologies and anti-immigration policies."

"In many cities, lack of affordable housing and discriminatory practices force the newcomers to live spatially segregated lives in ghettos where they suffer labour exploitation, social exclusion and violence. This is unfortunate, says the report, because immigrants make important economic contributions, not only to the urban economies of the host countries, but also to the countries that they leave behind. Remittances back home are second only to oil in terms of international monetary flows, providing an important and reliable source of foreign exchange finance. In 2003, for example, the Indian Diaspora sent back US$ 15 billion, exceeding the revenues generated by the country's software industry, the report says. "

View, counter views and report just suggest the same... Sustainable is the word..what's your say.. ?

1 comment:

Zhu said...

Sustainable is indeed the word, but our economic system is not.

Mega cities will certainly bring a lot of challenge: poverty, infrastructure, strain of existing resources... we have to rethink the way we live, period.