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Managing rural and urban environment

Urbanization, or Urban Drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. Urbanization is also defined by the United Nations as movement of people from rural to urban areas with population growth equating to urban migration.

Urbanization Urbanization is closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization.

Causes of urbanisation
Urbanization means an increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas compared to rural areas. An urban area is a built-up area such as a town or city. A rural area is an area of countryside.

Causes of urbanization
As a country industrializes, the number of people living in urban areas tends to increase. People migrated from rural areas (due to the mechanization in farming) to urban areas where there was employment in the new factories. The area of cities known as the inner city developed during this time as rows of terraced housing were built for workers.

Causes of urbanization
Today the UK is a mostly urban society, with 90% of the population living in towns or cities. Although the UK is an urban society, more and more people are choosing to live on the edge of urban areas - with many relocating to the countryside. This is called counter-urbanization.

Problems of urbanization traffic congestion

As more people move to the edge of towns and cities, traffic congestion may get worse. Many people will drive their cars into the city centre to get to work. It is compounded by people being brought into city on large roads or motorways. These roads then link up with smaller, older, narrower roads in the city centre. This causes a bottleneck and congestion.

Some cities have tried to manage this problem by introducing traffic management schemes. These schemes may include: Park and ride schemes. Cycle lanes. Congestion charging schemes, such as those in Durham and London. Car-pooling, as used in the USA, to encourage people to share cars.

Low Emission Zones, as in London. Local councils have also tried to make the roads in urban areas safer by introducing traffic calming, pedestrian zones, vehicle-exclusion zones and permit-only parking schemes.

Park and Ride scheme operating in Plymouth The introduction of Park and Ride schemes. People park in car parks on the edge of a settlement and catch regular buses into the centre.

Taxi cabs on a New York street Car pooling - people are encouraged to share cars. This has been used in a lot in the USA.

Permit holder parking in Westminster Permit holder parking - certain parts of the city, particularly near the centre, are designated as permit parking only. This means that people must have a permit to park in that area. This reduces the number of people driving in to towns and cities as parking opportunities are restricted.

Vehicle exclusion sign Vehicle exclusion zones - certain types of vehicles are excluded from certain parts of a city, eg large vehicles may not be allowed to enter narrow roads or residential areas.

Speed bump in a residential area in London Traffic calming - roads narrowing and speed bumps make traffic move slower around narrower streets. Narrow roads may restrict the type of vehicle that can enter certain parts of the city.

Problems of urbanization in the inner city inequalities

Inequalities exist in all urban areas. Inequality means extreme differences between poverty and wealth, as well as in people's well-being and access to things like jobs, housing, and education. Inequalities may occur in: Housing provision Access to services Access to open land Safety and security


Urban centers use enormous quantities of energy. In the past, urban housing required relatively smaller amounts of energy than we use at present. Until the 1950s many urban kitchens were based on fuel wood or charcoal. This was possible and practical when homes had chimneys and kitchens were isolated from the rest of the house. Smoke became a problem once this changed to apartment blocks. Kerosene thus became a popular urban fuel. This changed to electrical energy and increasingly to natural gas by the 1970s in most parts of urban India.


Kerosene thus became a popular urban fuel. This changed to electrical energy and increasingly to natural gas by the 1970s in most parts of urban India. Urban centers in hot climates need energy for cooling. The early systems of fans changed into air-conditioning, which consumes enormous quantities of energy. New buildings in our country have taken to using large areas covered by glass. While in cold climates this uses the green house effect to trap the warmth of the sun inside, in our hot climate this adds several degrees to the temperature inside


Thus it requires even more energy to run large central air conditioning units. High rise buildings in urban centers also depend on energy to operate lifts and an enormous number of lights.

CASE STUDY-Energy efficiency

Urban residential and commercial facilities are responsible for approximately 35% of USAs greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings need to be made energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which cause heat islands or pockets of high temperature over these urban areas. Urban transport depends on energy mainly from fossil fuels. Most urban people use their own individual transport rather than public transport systems for a variety of reasons. Urban transport in different cities and even different parts of a city are either inefficient or overcrowded. Thus even middle income groups tend to use their own private vehicles.

This means more and more vehicles on the road which leads to traffic congestion, waste of time for all the commuters, and a great load of particulate matter and carbon monoxide from the exhaust of vehicles. This causes a rise in the number of people having serious respiratory diseases. Thus there is a need to develop a more efficient public transport system and discourage the use of individual vehicles in all our urban areas.

Each of us as an environmentally conscious individual must reduce our use of energy. An unnecessary light left on carelessly adds to energy use. Imagine the amount of energy wasted by thousands of careless people. If we learned to save electricity, we would begin to have a more sustainable lifestyle.

Urban Environmental Management

Developing cities face the dual challenge of exploding populations and scarce resources. Given rapid population growth and a concurrent decrease in aid funding from central governments and international donors, city managers must find new and creative ways to provide safe, healthy cities, in which their populations will live and prosper.

Urban Environmental Management

Lack of infrastructure, poor maintenance regimes, overcrowding, uncontrolled and conflicting land uses, and unabated pollution pose serious challenges to the ability of managers to achieve these goals. Inefficient, inappropriate and degraded infrastructure hampers economic growth as it hurts the ability of developing cities to attract investment. Lack of readily accessible drinking water, unsanitary living conditions, and continued exposure to air, land and water-based pollution continue to jeopardize the health and economic productivity of urban residents.

Urban Environmental Management

Instead of putting out fires, cities in developing countries need to proactively plan for addressing their three major environmental challenges: providing adequate and safe water supply; controlling pollution; and preventing the destruction of natural ecosystems. . The very high cost of environmental clean-up and treatment and the irreversibility of vanished ecosystems should encourage cities to think creatively about how they can reduce the amount of pollution that is produced and the per person consumption of natural resources. .

Urban Environmental Management

Conservation, demand management, public private partnerships in service delivery, influencing higher-polluting industries to locate where they will do the least amount of damage, encouraging less-polluting technologies, and incentives and standards for improving technological efficiency are ways that cities can design and implement longer-term, environmentally sustainable, growth management goals.

Program Considerations
The Enabling Environment Successful UEM frameworks require a systemic understanding of local and regional environments. UEM programs should integrate the social, public health, political, economic and natural environment linkages inherent to the urban environment. This requires: A holistic understanding of a city's regional environmental quality and natural resource constraints. A means of mapping and prioritizing key problems and designing specific interventions within an environmental action plan. UEM problems are multi-sectoral and systemically linked, yet they cannot all be resolved all at once.

A focus on environmentally sound economic development, balancing growth needs with the resiliency and carrying capacity of ecological systems. Recognition of the local impact of emerging global environmental issues like global climate change. Implementation of participatory community planning practices that include representatives from key stakeholder groups. Integration of market incentives and appropriate cost recovery mechanisms that ensure timely and costeffective delivery of environmental services.

Urban Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

Problem Definition, Assessment and Prioritization Urban EMS must be built upon both a solid understanding of the physical features characterizing a local/regional environment and the practices, priorities, and preferences of its inhabitants.

Environmental Maps:
To be most useful for planning purposes, environmental maps developed with landsat imagery, aerial photographs, and data from soil, air and water samples should include the location and types of existing infrastructure and human settlements as well as the geographical features of the chosen locality . Where data is available, layers can be added that will exhibit the current reach of water supply, sanitation, health, fire and other city services.

Information compiled can be combined with demographic surveys and fed into a GIS mapping tool that will act as a "one-stop-shop", allowing city managers to view the environmental quality and services in their cities from a holistic perspective. The maps convey information that can help policy-makers make important decisions about growth and development in their cities.

Community Surveys:
Community surveys, when properly conducted, can elicit important information about land-use patterns and physical features that could not be accessed in any other way. Surveys also need to account for land-use preferences? how people would prefer to use the natural resources around them. An understanding of people's preferences is an important step that will allow planners to engage the community in a discussion around the long-term impacts of different kinds of use patterns.

Environmental Risk and Land Use Impact Analyses:

Once the physical features of a locality have been mapped, analysis needs to be given to the compatibility of existing and prospective land uses. High density settlements, for example, are often highly vulnerable if located upon unstable land masses, steep slopes and wetland areas. Here it is important to collect specialists from a variety of fields. What is readily apparent to a health officer, may not be apparent to an environmental engineer. Here also, the input of community groups and NGOs is invaluable as they can analyze the impacts of land use from first hand experience. It is extremely important, at this point, to consider the data collected in community surveys regarding preferred and actual land use patterns.

Strategic Planning & Implementation Tools

Planning: The strategic planning process starts with a series of community meetings where existing environmental challenges are laid side-by-side with preferred use patterns and potential impacts. Key stakeholders can then begin to list and agree upon priority actions under short, medium and long-term time horizons. Priorities need to be analyzed in terms of existing and potential financial resources. Once viable priorities are chosen, project road maps should be constructed and implementation can begin.

If UEM is to be effective it must be fully integrated with municipal planning and budgeting processes. It is possible that individual components can be achieved through isolated action on the part of NGOs and other interested parties but the process will not be fully effective until it is institutionalized.

There are number of tools available for the implementation of EMS. Regulatory frameworks established at the national level should recognize that environmental management will be largely implemented at the local level, and thus should grant some flexibility to local governments. For example, a city can enforce strict environmental standards in residential areas and simpler standards in zones where adverse impacts are not as great. Capital improvement plans - linked to the budget - must consider protecting ecosystems when planning for new roads and other infrastructure. The placement of trunk infrastructure will largely determine where industries and residents locate.

Many cities own surplus land that could be used more efficiently by the private sector, while slowing the encroachment of vulnerable ecosystems in outlying areas. In these land deals, the city should dictate that the buyer use the land in an environmentally sensitive manner. Public/private partnerships can be developed to establish and achieve mutually agreed upon benchmarks on pollution abatement.

Pollution fines and incentive-based programs can be designed to correct for market failures, increase the accountability of polluters and increase efficiencies at the production sites. If the government does not have the capacity to enforce compliance or if polluters cannot be not clearly identified, the inputs used in production can be taxed as an indirect way of making the polluter pay. Subsidies and capital grants can be distributed for pollution-control equipment. Natural disaster and environmental hazard mitigation activities can be implemented - such as flood plain delineation, storm drainage systems, steep slope protections, and the development of building restrictions to govern ecologically sensitive areas.

Urban Slums
Slum dwellers both contribute to and are victims of urban pollution. High population densities and unregulated urban growth combined with a lack of environmental services, cause slum residents to further contribute to the poor environmental quality of informal settlements. The environmental risks of these settlements perpetuate the cycle of urban environmental degradation and contribute to greater economic and environmental vulnerability, both for low-income households and the urban area at large.

Urban Slums
Lessons learned from developing countries show that the informal settlements with the least land security also harbor the greatest in-migration and population density; face the greatest environmental risks; and have the least coverage of urban services. Without effective property rights and legal or de facto recognition of informal settlements, the urban poor have neither the incentives nor the proper legal channels to reinvest in improving their communities and to strengthen the social networks necessary for community environmental planning and upgrading. Effective EMS planning and participatory slum upgrading projects can lessen the environmental costs of informal settlements and mitigate future slum creation.

Role of National and Local Governments

Governmental authorities at all levels struggle with the challenges of urban environmental planning. Local, state/provincial and national governments should work together to find innovative ways to encourage, finance, and implement urban environmental plans. Processes designed to decentralize urban EMS should allow for an appropriate level of subsidiarity, devolution of both authority and financial resources, to ensure solutions from the lowest appropriate planning level. National and regional governments should be forward thinking in establishing a regulatory framework supportive of longerterm planning horizons.

Role of National and Local Governments

At the same time, they should engage local governments in a dialogue to define and prioritize environmental challenges. Local governments, in turn, need to solicit citizen participation in defining the challenges and establishing action plans. Finally, environmental and local government legislation should clearly define the respective roles and responsibilities of these levels of government while underlining the consultative relationship that ought to exist between national ministries and increasingly decentralized regional and local authorities.

Monitoring and Compliance

It is a daunting task to begin scientific environmental monitoring, so efforts should initially focus on the most damaging wastes and industries to prevent from being overwhelmed. Reliable field surveys on industrial generation and disposal will help to pinpoint the most pressing needs, as well as estimate the scale and scope of the problem throughout the city. To attract the specialists needed to conduct analyses, the public sector should invest in training and build a career ladder for environmental technicians

Other investments must be made in laboratory facilities and specialized testing and analysis rooms (for example, dust free rooms for trace level sample preparation). Environmental education of the public through presentations at schools and information sharing with the media and environmental NGOs, will greatly increase a city's ability to monitor compliance at a relatively low cost. Knowing that there are watchdogs will also deter polluters.

Management of Future Growth and LandUse Planning

Finally, urban EMS frameworks must proactively manage land, natural resources and infrastructure to plan for future economic and demographic growth. Environmental and economic-based urban 'smart growth' strategies and land use plans, designed to improve local governance of urbanization, integrate a series of tools such as capital improvements planning and budgeting, zoning regulations, time-phased service delivery in defined areas, and land cadastral systems tied to taxation policies. These are inherently consultative processes.

Selection of appropriate growth management controls, while largely dependent upon local political and geographical contexts, must also balance the environmental priorities of the community-at-large. The adoption of a mix of most appropriate tools is designed to mitigate environmental impacts and vulnerabilities associated with rapid and unplanned urbanization. Policy concerns include: mitigating and/or preventing urban slum growth, redistributing pressure from urban squatters into more effective community participation, decreasing pollution and natural resources contamination, and regulating population, commercial and industrial densities.

Sustainable cities
Many people are working towards trying to make cities more sustainable. A sustainable city offers a good quality of life to current residents but doesn't reduce the opportunities for future residents to enjoy. Key features of a sustainable city Resources and services in the city are accessible to all. Public transport is seen as a viable alternative to cars. Public transport is safe and reliable. Walking and cycling is safe. Areas of open space are safe, accessible and enjoyable. Wherever possible, renewable resources are used instead of non-renewable resources. Waste is seen as a resource and is recycled wherever possible.

New homes are energy efficient. There is access to affordable housing. Community links are strong and communities work together to deal with issues such as crime and security. Cultural and social amenities are accessible to all. Inward investment is made to the CBD. A sustainable city will grow at a sustainable rate and use resources in a sustainable way.

Think of the town or city you live in, or nearby.

Could it be more sustainable? Do people walk, cycle or use public transport rather than cars? Are there enough safe open spaces, services and cultural amenities for everyone? Is there enough investment in the city centre? Is there a strong sense of community? Is waste recycled? Is there affordable housing for everyone? Are homes energy-efficient? Do they use renewable energy?