Urban Age believes urban leaders can learn from each other to find better local solutions to global challenges. This is accomplished by advocating high standards for the built environment as well as intelligent city governance and management structures. A focus on the context of regional and national perspectives has expanded Urban Age’s impact through research and events in India (2007), Brazil (2008) and the Eastern Mediterranean (2009); a worldwide summit in June 2010 will discuss the results of Urban Age’s investigation and summarize a new urban agenda for global cities.
In India, Urban Age examined how the largest democracy on earth negotiates considerable urbanisation and economic development. India’s urban society is experiencing the effects of increasing affluence coupled with persistent social inequalities and a scarcity of resources ranging from personal living space to transport and drinking water. Climate change and other escalating pressures further compound urban developments in India, making its urban agenda a global issue. Evaluating policy and project specific effects, the Urban Age India Conference helped draw the links between events and developments in India’s urbanised areas with trends worldwide, widening the lens from the local to the global.
Urban Age utilises a dynamic framework for analysing important comparative data between and within cities. The investigation in India encompass Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore; findings from these cities are synthesised with existing and enhanced information on Urban Age cities in other countries to identify optimal delivery mechanisms for desired developments within given timeframes.
The Urban Age India research began in December 2006 with an initial thematic screening that helped determine how Urban Age could support best practices and urban policies in India. Over 50 experts in Mumbai and Delhi, including the National Minister of Urban Development, the Advisor on Urban Affairs to the Prime Minister as well as representatives from municipal governments and experts in the private, academic and NGO sectors all identified Urban Governance, Planning and Design as a widely-debated arena calling for comparative research on the metropolitan scale.
Research on India consisted of two modules, both with a particular emphasis on Mumbai. The first module, urban governance, comparing constitutional foundations of city governance, geographic boundaries of different jurisdictions, and responsibilities of agencies at the local, regional and national levels. The second module, planning, city design and transport, identified delivery mechanisms at the interface of land use, density and urban design with transport, mobility and accessibility.