The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu said that Covid-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of good ventilation and sunlight for our health. He expressed his disapproval of the growing tendency of living in closed spaces and emphasized that proper air circulation must be ensured in homes, offices, restaurants and conference halls.
The Vice President made these remarks while virtually releasing the book titled- ‘A textbook of Urban Planning and Geography’ written by Dr. Sameer Sharma, Director General and CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.
Naidu said that in their aspiration for a modern lifestyle, city dwellers have lost connection with nature. He advised city planners and architects to give precedence to comfort over the fashion and design structures and buildings which exist in harmony with nature.
Highlighting the principles of accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability for good urban planning, the Vice President said that the ad-hoc approach of city planning must be replaced by a long term and forward-looking approach to create liveable cities.
Expressing concern over the perennial phenomenon of urban flooding in many cities due to concretized structures, the Vice President underlined the need to live in harmony with nature. “Lakes that serve as natural buffers must be reclaimed in order to avoid annual flooding”, he said.
To reduce vehicular pollution, Naidu wanted incentivisation of public transport along with other green initiatives like car-pooling, use of CNG or electric vehicles.
Emphasizing the need to accommodate and protect the interests of the homeless and poor in the city, the Vice President said that we must make sure that the migrant coming from a rural area must not live in substandard conditions and the domestic help living on the city’s periphery must not struggle for transit to work.
The Vice President said that planners should not only focus on making cities liveable urban centres, they should also work for raising the happiness quotient of the people. He suggested that urban planning must be done with local aesthetics and local traditions. Cautioning that a city that doesn’t recognise its past cannot have a future, Shri Naidu called for the preservation of heritage and traditions in historic cities.
Drawing attention to the increasing trend of urbanization, the Vice President said that the share of urban population is expected to reach 60 per cent by 2050 in India. This rapid urbanization, he said, brings in its share of opportunities and challenges
Complementing the author, Dr Sameer Sharma and the publisher for coming out with the book, Shri Naidu expressed happiness that the author has advocated home-grown solutions for cities based on our experiences and indigenous knowledge on city planning, rather than blindly aping the West. He said that this book is very timely as we go through a shift in how we view the ‘urban’ in the post-COVID era.