The current pandemic and search for an effective solution reminds us that the genesis of modern urban planning can be attributed to communicable diseases and health concerns. Recent literature on urban planning deliberating on COVID19 impact in cities, reminisces that many iconic interventions in city planning and management have been in response to diseases. Ian Klaus talks about the London’s Metropolitan Board of Works and mid-19th century sanitation systems that developed in response to public health crises such as cholera outbreaks (Klaus 2020). Rogier van den Berg argued that housing regulations in view of light and air requirements was introduced as a measure to fight against respiratory diseases in overcrowded slums in Europe during industrialisation (Berg 2020). According to Sara S Carr public parks became more popular as tuberculosis swept through the US at the turn of the 20th century (Carr 2014). Tuberculosis in fact influenced a lot of architecture and urban planning right up to the 1960s, especially in modern public housing in the USA. Sam Lubell in his analysis attributes slum clearance and single-use zoning— separation of residential and industrial, to the health challenges in the early 20th century (Lubell 2020).
The compact city argument
The last few decades of urban planning have been dominated by thoughts and approaches that perceived density as the panacea for all urban challenges from affordable housing, energy efficient mobility, to economic growth and sustainability. Its origin can be traced to the compact city concept and approach in urban planning. Although, the term 'compact city’ was first coined in 1973 by George Dantzig and Thomas Saaty, according to Randal O’Toole, Le Corbusier with his Radiant City plan is one of the first protagonist of the compact city concept (O’Toole 2009). Essentially an anti-thesis of low-density suburb development, the concept experienced a resurgence of interest in 1980s as a response to the global challenge to sustainability goals and climate change concerns. The term compact city does not have a universally accepted definition. It is a combination of many strategies with the overarching aim to create compactness and high density that can avoid all the problems of modern cities and urban sprawls. The single most important attribute to describe a compact city is the population density supported by concepts like mixed land use with higher density, geographic limit of the city boundary, and promotion of public transport as mode of communication vis-à-vis private vehicles.
The concept was endorsed by the United Nations Earth Summit Agenda 21 (1993) and European Commission through its publication ‘Cities of Tomorrow’ that emphasised the importance of a compact urban form as a sustainable strategy for future urban development. The compact city approach was adopted by many European states and gained popularity. It also attracted fair share of criticism from a group of urban planners who questioned the perceived benefits of urban compactness through densification (O’Toole 2009). Analytical studies cautioned against hyper density and advised viable settlements at optimal densities for the human scale…” (Salingaros 2006). Similar view is reiterated in Erling Holden analysis of Norwegian towns of Greater Oslo and Forde that concludes “sustainable urban development points towards decentralised concentration—relatively small cities with a high density and short distances between houses and public/private spaces (Holden 2004).
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WILD MEAT AND WET MARKETS: A GLOBAL DIALOGUE
Wet markets operate in most Asian countries including India. China reported its wet markets as the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and also more recently in Beijing. These wet markets, a traditional part of popular local culture in Asian countries, are increasingly becoming a cause of concern for the international community and health practitioners across the globe. This article attempts to understand how global authorities and their Asian partners are looking to regulate these infamous wet markets to significantly lower the risk of viral and other pathogenic load from these unhygienic wet markets.
SEA WALL IN THE MALDIVES AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY
The Small Island developing states are particularly vulnerable to the peril of climate change. Sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperature, high incidences of drought and flood are some of the vulnerabilities that loom large over such island states.The republic of Maldives is one such example, which has been publicly advocating for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite being one of the least contributors to such emissions, the Maldives faces the highest impact of global warming. Being one of the lowest-lying island nations, it has been undertaking various steps to curb the egregious impacts of environmental catastrophes.One of the response measures taken by the Maldives is the construction of seawalls. This article discusses this, while accenting the drawbacks and benefits associated with the approach.
TO PLUCK AT WILL: FRUIT TREES IN COMMON PROPERTY
Despite many governmental initiatives, malnutrition in India remains a major health challenge. There is a marked deficit of fruits in the diet of most Indians, consuming much lower than what is recommended by the World health organisation (Who). One of the reasons behind this is the high price of fruits and thus its inequitable access. As we prepare ourselves to live in a world marred by COVID-19 and a shrinking Indian economy, we must think of new ideas to manage access to food, especially micro nutrient rich fruits. This paper explores the possibility of planting endemic fruit trees in public spaces like roadsides and parks, that can help in increasing the consumption of fruits amongst the poor. It also attempts to analyse whether this can serve as a long term solution to bridge the gap between fruit production and consumption in India.
RESPONSIVE URBAN PLANNING: COVID-19 A TURNING POINT FOR REAL CHANGE IN INDIAN CITIES
The global challenge of COVID-19 is still unfurling. States are grappling to control its remorseless spread with varied success and its impact both on long and short-term scales are still being understood. However, a distinct urban bias in its spread across the globe and universal response of lockdown and social distancing for its control has brought pertinent questions to the fore. Urban planning and the future of our cities in terms of urban life and city form therefore needs to be revisited. In India, the exodus of migrant workers from its large cities has added yet another dimension to this challenge.
PAUSE AND REBOOT
REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND POLITY DURING COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND LESSONS FOR INDIA
Migrants & borders: My wishlist in a post-Covid-19 world
Former Professor of Economics and Education, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. email@example.com.
Covid-19: Politics Of Knowledge, Public Health And The World Order
In the present era of a knowledge society, the world order will be shaped more than ever before by the politics of knowledge. In the post-CoVId world, public health knowledge is likely to be a significant contributor. This article briefly discusses the various contemporary public health approaches evident within the discipline: global health, community medicine and critical public health. Then it goes on to analyse country level policy approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, delineating a tentative four-category typology, based on available information. Finally, it sets out the possible outcome indicators that should be used to assess the national responses.
Inequalities in Access to Academic Spaces
Experiences of students from the socially excluded groups in higher education in India
Understanding Caste and Class - Categories and Measurement
The caste has been a unique social institution in India. It has also emerged in a new form after the mandalisation of caste in the early 1990s resulting in the extension of reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and also in admissions to colleges and universities. The relative size of population of various caste groups particularly of the OBCs is also a matter of debate. Census does not provide population data on OBCs, however, it is possible to assess it from nationally representative sample surveys. Further, the correspondence between caste categories and class has been a matter of debate. This paper presents an assessment of class within caste categories based on data from nationally representative sample surveys.
The Middle Class - As the Class of No Class
An attempt to understand some of the ambiguities around what it means to be middle class in India has been made in this paper. It also discusses the influence that the middle class supposedly has on Indian politics despite these uncertainties.
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her
THE DANGAL IN THE JUNGLE, PART 1
YOU KNOW YOU’RE SOMEBODY WHEN YOU’VE APPEARED ON AN INDIAN DANGAL POSTER — IN OTHER WORDS, IN A WRESTLING ADVERTISEMENT.
WOUNDS AND THE WOMB
JULIE PETERS explores how to heal a relationship with the sacred womb, a place of death, life, and possibilities.
Giant squirrels, giant lessons? Animal chaplain SARAH BOWEN explores what squirrels can show us about mindfulness.
E8 Caste and the Indian Tech Ivies
IIT grads are highly sought after in Silicon Valley. Are they bringing deep-rooted prejudices with them?
I was happily married, happily employed, just plain happy. Until the accident
IN SEASON Chickpeas (GARBANZO BEANS)
Chickpeas appear in early recordings in Turkey well over 5000 years ago. India produces the most chickpeas worldwide but they are grown in more than 50 countries. An excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, and some minerals, they are a nutritious staple of many diets. The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cancer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts are other familiar foods found in this legume family.
When the Signal Goes Out
Government-ordered internet shutdowns are becoming more frequent