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National Urban Policy Framework (NUPF) outlines an integrated and coherent approach towards the future of urban planning in India. The NUPF is structured along two lines. Firstly, at the NUPF’s core lie ten sutras or philosophical principles. Secondly, the ten sutras are applied to ten functional areas of urban space and management. Within each functional area, the status quo and its challenges are analyzed, key priorities formulated, and specific possible actions points suggested.
The NUPF stands on ten sutras or guiding principles:
- Cities are clusters of human capital;
- Cities require a ‘sense of place’;
- Not static Master Plans but evolving ecosystems;
- Build for density;
- Public spaces that encourage social interactions;
- Multi-modal public transport backbone;
- Environmental sustainability;
- Financially self-reliant;
- Cities require clear unified leadership; and
- Cities as engines of regional growth.
The NUPF recognizes the fact that urban development is a State subject. Hence, the States need to develop their respective State Urban Policies including Implementation Plans based on this framework. It is not an attempt to provide a detailed, top-down guidebook to cities. The Center will support the development and implementation of State Urban Policies based on the framework directly and shift away from top down central schemes. It presents a new way of thinking about Indian cities and job creation emerges as a key issue in planning for India’s urbanization.
The vision underpinning NUPF is to see cities as complex and changing agglomerations of people who are constantly interacting with each other, with socio-economic institutions and with the built environment. The soft and hard infrastructure of the city provides the backdrop for such interaction and are not ends in themselves. The exact optimization of a specific city, therefore, depends crucially on local context and cannot be done through the blind application of some Cartesian ideal. This is why the new approach emphasizes preservation of heritage, revival or even invention of local architectural styles, the importance of regional linkages and environmental sustainability. This fits with the fact that plurality is the essence of Indianness.
NUPF does not expect urban authorities to shift overnight to the new approach. The sudden removal of existing codes and master plans may not be advisable, as this would create a governance vacuum. It will take many years for the new organic, decentralized framework to replace the old urban planning and architectural approach stuck in mid-twentieth century “modernism”. Nonetheless, by laying out a clear set of principles, it is hoped that it creates a way for the new thinking to gradually permeate urban planning and management across India. A beginning has already been made through the HRIDAY and Smart City missions where individual cities have been asked to create a bottom-up vision for themselves. As urban communities and municipal managers get used to thinking about issues and solutions in a context-based way, we will be able to finally grapple with India’s urban problems.
We request you to provide your comments/ suggestions/ recommendations on this framework document, here by 31st May 2019.