Thursday, March 13, 2014

Satellite towns and twin cities near existing metropolises

A panoramic view of the fast-developing Ongole city. The idea to develop Tier
II and Tier III cities and towns in Seemandhra as “specialised mini capitals,” rather than investing only in one mega capital city, appears to be a good solution. Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

  • A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to smaller metropolitan areas which are located somewhat near to, but are mostly independent of larger metropolitan areas.
  • Conceptually, satellite cities are miniature metro areas on the fringe of larger ones. Satellite cities are sometimes listed as part of the larger metro area, and sometimes listed as totally independent.
  • Faridabad and Ghaziabad, once sleepy villages, became important ‘satellites’ to Delhi as they rapidly expanded as industrial centres.
  • As satellite cities proliferate and become unmanageable, there is a raging debate on whether planned ‘satellites’ should be the way forward or should development take the ‘natural’ course of nudging along developing villages and towns on metropolises’ periphery with plans and funds.
  • Satellite towns are successful if they provide quality services that equal the mother city and have good transport corridors.
  • There is an imperative to plan for development of new townships/satellite towns around million-plus large cities. The satellite towns/ counter magnets should be spatially separated from the mother city.
  • The guidelines name 35 key cities for ‘satellite development’ and propose initial funding from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for creating 300,000-500,000 towns as satellites for million-plus cities and towns in case of mega cities with population exceeding 4 million.
  • India is better positioned than other developing economies with much of its urbanisation still to come in the future. Just 30 per cent of Indians are living in towns and cities, compared to China (45 per cent), Indonesia (54 per cent), Mexico (78 per cent), and Brazil (87 per cent).
  • By 2031, the urban population will be touching 40 per cent or around 600 million. The United Nations projects that urban India will be larger than its rural cousin by 2045.

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