Planning a green future for Delhi
According to a report in The Indian Express, the Delhi 2041 Master Plan will have a “blue-green policy”. The groundwork for Delhi’s master plan is happening at a critical juncture with the pandemic forcing city governments across the world to rethink not just the way citizens will live in the future, but also how public and private resources will be used to respond to the social and economic challenges that the disease has brought to the fore. The Delhi master plan will not only shape the future of the Capital by laying down planning guidelines, but also shape its response to a post-Covid-19 world.
One lesson of the Covid-19-hit world has been that cities have to be sustainable, and Delhi Development Authority (DDA)’s promise of formulating a “blue-green policy” offers hope. By pursuing a “blue-green policy”, DDA aims to bring water management and green infrastructure (vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to create healthier urban environments) together. It also focuses on cycling infrastructure to reduce pollution, and vertical growth in unauthorised colonies to make it less dense. These promised steps are important because water management, reuse and recycling, sanitation, and good public hygiene have now become non-negotiable, thanks to the climate crisis and Covid-19. But the Delhi master plan needs citizens’ participation to make it robust and functional. DDA has chalked out a series of activities to engage with stakeholder groups. These groups must ensure that the master plan’s core principles — sustainability, inclusivity and equity — are not lost, as authorities balance competing socio-political-economic interests while drawing up the new plan.