Centre for Transportation and Logistics
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Research Spotlight

This study investigates the impacts of land transitions on local urban flooding under various climate change scenarios across 42 cities in India, by performing an empirical study, for future projections under climate change and urban development scenarios up to 2050.

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that, land transitions induced by urban development, negatively affect urban hydrology, resulting in increased flooding risks. The pattern of rainfall changes due to climate change in the present time increases flood risks in cities. This study mainly focused on the role of land-use changes, in determining the occurrence of urban flooding events. The study highlights the need for Indian cities to undertake integrated spatial planning measures for a robust and sustainable urban future.

Some of the common environmental problems like air pollution, waste management, polluted water bodies, impacts on biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, and pressure on the urban and resources, must be resolved by the cities at the highest priority. With the rapid urbanization of the cities, emission of greenhouse gas also is increasing in an increasing rate. The authors throw light on the fact that unplanned urbanization (mal-development) could worsen the impacts of environmental change and climate change.

The authors are of the view that small cities have a scope of learning from the mistakes of big cities, which face a lot of setback due to unplanned growth, rapid urbanizations and induced land-use transitions. Cities that aim to achieve a substantially greater share of green and blue spaces must do the following while extending the city limits. They should impose tighter rules on zoning and development control, include and reinforce water flows, drains, and connections along with a revival of green and blue spaces. These acts should be supplemented by conservation measures from the State and Central Government.

In this study, the role of brown, green and blue infrastructure in adapting urban areas to climate change is explained by increasing their resistance to heavy rainfalls that lead to flash floods.

The goal is to ensure that, by zoning policies, a significant proportion of non-built-up spaces are mandated in new areas that are emerging with the growth of the cities. Planning and building green belts across the cities is another choice concerning the sustainable development scenario. The cities could also stagnate their spatial spread of constructed areas that would result in dense, compact vertical growth. Besides, sufficient stormwater infrastructure, restoration and strengthening of existing green and blue spaces should be undertaken within the dense core city areas.

The study shows that these cities would experience devastating consequences due to flood if they do not use their land sustainably. Preservation of brown, green and blue land uses act as a sponge, and as these spaces decrease, the chances of an event of flood increases. Incidences of flooding influence the quality of life of infrastructure and residents and directly affect the economic production and investment climate in a region. This study highlights that to foster resilient, sustainable urban growth, Indian cities must pursue integrated spatial planning steps.

This paper mainly focuses on the fact that although India is a rapidly growing economy, there are many challenges that India has to face, including meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). With coal supplying nearly three-quarters of Indian energy needs, achieving such goals would have large effects on economic activity. India's GDP has risen at an annual rate of 7 per cent to 8 per cent since economic liberalisation in 1991. A part of this development stems from systemic changes that saw the Indian economy move from agriculture to services and industry which contributed 53% and 31% of GDP in 2017 respectively, in the 1970s. With the initiation of government policies such as Make in India, Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All, the trend is expected to continue. The research analysis aimed to examine the macroeconomic consequences of India's low carbon growth pathways. The authors used a novel technique of converging bottom-up and top-down models. By implementing this methodology, this study adds significantly to the current literature on Indian pathways.

India’s energy demand is expected to grow exponentially following rapid urbanization, industrialization, and the rising purchasing power of the population. By mid-century, India is projected to be among the world’s largest in national energy consumption. The authors analyse in this paper that keeping investment constant, decarbonization leads to economic growth. They have also found that decarbonization leaves a positive impact on India’s foreign debt due to reduced energy trade deficit. This reflects the balance of mitigation costs and energy savings.

Moving towards sustainable development of economy, low carbon emission approach is compatible with the Indian economic growth. About ¾ of the Indian electricity production depends on coal. So, achieving a sustainable target of low carbon emission will leave a great impact on the economic activity of India.

The authors have analysed multiple scenarios at different levels of global increases in temperature (in degree Celsius) and compared with business as usual. The 2-degree Celsius pathway proved more compatible for climate-resilient and with almost 6% yearly economic growth as compared to business as usual. It can be accomplished at the cost of reduced household consumption with a significant positive impact on foreign debt accumulation.

The large deficit of trade balance in India is due to the high import of fossil fuel. Adoption of low carbon pathway can improve that situation. Moving away from fossil fuel-based energy especially from oil imports would also result in saving the foreign exchange to about $ 1 trillion from 2012 to 2050.

Low carbon pathway will raise the share of the energy sector in GDP by structural change. Government of India has implemented several policies for better control and promotion of transport such as National Urban Transport Policy, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat Mission, National Electric Mobility 2020 and National Biofuel policy. Transitions in transport sector such as increase in non-motorized transportation, share of rail transport, deployment of electric vehicle technologies and biofuel blending will reduce the dependence on fossil fuel. This will lead the Indian economy towards self-sufficiency.