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Bangalore sits at an urban planning crossroads

Traffic in Bangalore. (SNEHIT /

To the outside world, Bangalore has a reputation as India’s premiere information technology hub. Madhay Pai reports for The City Fix that despite the presence of several Fortune 500 companies, India’s third largest city faces daunting challenges after decades of inadequate planning.

The city is now at a crossroads, because urban development decisions made today could be “locked in” for up to 100 years, Pai warns. To achieve “sustainable growth,” Bangalore must ease traffic congestion, contain sprawl and boost energy efficiency, the article says. Yet municipal spending on infrastructure is woefully behind. Locals have compensated with quick fixes — such as diesel generators and bottled water — that further strain the environment and resources.

Bangalore now has hard decisions to make about everything from transport to land use. The city has long prioritized road construction over other public transit goals. The result is a metro system that remains under construction and a bus system that is disorganized and overstretched. Transit-oriented development and local planning would help manage urban expansion, Pai writes. To ease energy demands, the city should promote wider use of renewables and boost the efficiency of buildings, the article says.

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