ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Other Dimension of 'Natural Cities'

Urban ecology perspectives focus on cities as ecological systems and emphasise their stability through the act of organising principles inherent in nature. The article on “Natural Cities” by Vikram Soni and Arvind Virmani (EPW, 10 May 2014) provides an overview of the challenges natural cities have to offer and how these ideas can be accommodated in urban planning. This utopian-type thinking seeks attention of planners and urbanists to make urban systems self-sufficient and viable. This perspective also needs a synthesis across the natural and social sciences in dealing with multiple concerns of existing cities and those in transition. Studying the connections between present processes, urban development, and the well-being of socially stratified urban populations can provide crucial insights to integrate old with new urban neighbourhoods.

The “heritage city” of Agra was supposed to ride high after its rapid connectivity with the national capital through the Yamuna Expressway. This city is in dire need of new strategies to deal with the urban challenges of widespread poverty, rising social inequalities, inadequate infrastructure of civic amenities and problems of access to this infrastructure for the poor. As of now there is the creation of exclusive neighbourhoods in close vicinity of the existing city through private real estate developments. What is required is holistic but integrated urban development approach in tackling various urban challenges. Benefits of heritage tourism have to go down to the bottom of the large population pyramid by generating more opportunities and by connecting tourism with the local economy.

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